I should be in bed, and I don’t think I have quite decided yet what it is I want to say, but I’m going to try to put my feelings into words.
It’s been about 7 months now since I decided to “detransition”, that is to stop hormone replacement therapy and go back to living as a woman. I got a lot of attention when I made that announcement, understandably I guess, since my original transition was quite public. Thankfully people have mostly been very supportive and I am incredibly grateful for that. Nevertheless, the last few months have been difficult, and I’ve had a lot of soul searching to do.
I didn’t want to talk about it much to begin with. I didn’t feel ready to express what I was going through or to justify my choices without possibly making things more difficult for other trans people. While being trans and deciding to transition is a deeply personal thing, it can have an incredible impact on so many other people, and I felt the weight of that responsibility very intensely. I didn’t want to talk about what I was feeling until I really understood it myself. And now, 7 months later, I still don’t quite understand.
What I’ve done has had consequences for my life. Some I had foreseen and somewhat prepared myself for, but there were some that I couldn’t possibly understand without experiencing them. To be fair, my experience has largely been positive, but much of what I’ve struggled with has been very internal and personal, and I don’t think most people in my life have any idea. Mostly because I haven’t wanted them to.
I took my last shot of testosterone in September. I was supposed to get another one in December, but I didn’t take it. In the 6 months or so that I was on hormones not much had changed aside from very slight “beard” growth which I can easily hide (and will probably have permanently removed at some point), some more hair in other places and bigger muscles. All of my hair growth is still perfectly within the normal “range” for women, and the added muscle tone is gone. My menstrual cycle hasn’t returned however, and I was surprised by how much that has worried me.
All of a sudden it has hit me that I do probably want to have kids some day and I’m terrified that I might have ruined my chances of ever being a mother. What if my ovaries are just permanently damaged? I had PCOS before, what if I made it worse? Every single time I go to the toilet I am disappointed that I haven’t started my period. Every time I feel a tingle somewhere in my lower abdomen I hope that it’s PMS or possibly ovulation or something. But month after month nothing has happened. I keep meaning to go see an ob-gyn about it, but I think I’m too scared to really know. It’s strange how much my hopes and plans for the future have changed in such a short period of time.
My voice is much lower than it was. My speaking voice isn’t freakishly deep or anything, I think I mostly sound a bit like I have a cold all the time. That’s ok, I guess with time I’ll get used to it and stop feeling so self conscious about it. My singing voice dropped considerably however, and at the moment it’s pretty much stuck in the baritone range.
I know I should just feel all cool and special about it. I keep trying to tell myself that it makes me kind of unique and that I can probably make something of it. But I don’t feel it yet. And I worry that I will never get to the point where I can accept that as a part of me. I love singing…like, a lot. I have always loved singing. But now I feel so defeated because I’ll never sound like I used to, and my voice is still so messed up. I’ll need a lot of training to make anything of it and the task feels too overwhelming.
I tried to rejoin the Reykjavik Queer Choir, but I felt so out of place singing the bass line that I just couldn’t deal with it. Every practice I went home feeling worse. I’m not a bass (thankfully!) and I can’t reach all the deepest notes, but my high notes are too messed up and I can’t sing even half of the tenor range…and I just felt useless, freaky, out of place, and utterly depressed about it all.
Maybe it’ll all be ok. Maybe I’ll end up loving my strange voice. Maybe my ovaries are fine and I’ll find someone who won’t mind my strange history, who’ll actually want to have kids with me.
That’s another thing. Even though I have chosen to live as a woman and I have mostly made peace with that, I still have a trans history. I have explored and tried out something that will never occur to most people. I have changed my name and attempted to live as a man. I have attempted to use hormones to change my body. And in this small country I feel like I will never get away from that. Like I will always be that person. Am I too messed up by now?
No. I don’t believe I am, but a part of me still worries. I do somewhat regret what I’ve done. I regret how difficult this has been, I regret the anxiety, and I regret what I’ve put my family and loved ones through. But ultimately it did answer questions which probably would’ve otherwise haunted me for the rest of my life, and I don’t regret finding those answers.
I am not trans. I’m a woman. For some reason it was incredibly difficult for me to learn that about myself. I’ve felt like a failure as a woman for most of my life, I’m not sure why, and I don’t think it’s healthy to dwell on that too much. I have come to understand that there is no such thing as failing as a woman or a man, you can’t fail to be a human being. I am me, and I am a woman, and therefore I have succeeded in being a woman. There is no one womanhood which we all must aspire to live up to, even though society has this insidious way of trying to convince us otherwise.
I am a little weird and I don’t always fit in. I’m not small and delicate and über feminine. But I’m still a woman and I’m perfectly ok as who I am. Even if it’s taken me this long to realise that.
Don’t get me wrong. I am perfectly aware that trans people do exist. There are people whose sense of themselves really does not fit the body they were born in, and they should be able to correct that. People who change their minds and detransition are rare, and this happens for a number of reasons. I don’t want anyone to look at me and take me as proof that trans people are all just mistaken or sick. Because they are not. I’m the one who was mistaken, I was wrong, and I’m sorry for that. Even as I realise it was something I needed to do.
I have learned a lot about myself this last year. I have learned through working with children that if I ever have kids of my own, I will be a great mother. I have a lot of love to give and I want to give it. I have learned that I’m allowed to exist in this body of mine, even if it’s not “beautiful” according to society, and that I’m worth loving as who I am. And I have learned that despite everything I have the strength to make difficult choices, to admit when I am wrong, and to keep going. So I’m going to do that, keep going. And I’ll be ok.