Oh gawd, I’ve started watching these transition videos and I just can’t help writing about another one.
This is a young girl who didn’t like the female role, was incredibly horrified when she got her first period, and didn’t want to be a lesbian. These are the reasons she gives when asked how she knew she wanted to transition.
“I’ve always been uncomfortable with my body and living as female as long as I can remember… I was very uncomfortable in the female role.”
She describes being in denial about getting a period, and seems to think periods are really terrible. When she got her period she cried and felt “crushed,” “shocked,” and “hurt.” She says there is no word to describe how awful she felt about her period.
Getting her period was “the beginning of the breaking point.” The rest of her breaking point was her mother, who did not agree with her plans to transition and attempted to support her natural development as a lesbian woman.
“We were on the way to school and I was in tears at this point and I think I told my mom that I was trans already but she wasn’t very accepting of the whole transitioning thing. I just really did not want to go to school, I just wanted to lay under a rock and never come back.” Eventually her mom agreed to let her stay home from school. “So we got in front of the house she finally said something…She was like, what’s the big deal it’s just a period it happens to all girls. And I said something along the lines of I’m not a girl, I told you this already. I’m a guy and I’m trapped in this body…she was pretty much just like I don’t see what the problem is, you can be a lesbian and have girlfriends and stuff, you don’t need to mutilate your body and take these hormones and all this stuff, just because of a period. And that was the breaking point. When she said you can be a lesbian, you don’t have to do this. And that was the breaking point. I was like, I’m not a lesbian, I yelled that.”
A moment later, she says, “For me, it was transition or die.”
In the video, she appears very masculine—she has probably been on testosterone for a while and may have already had top surgery, because she passes for male. She talks about how determined she was to transition. She learned about transition from videos and blogs by transitioners, and her mother could not talk her out of it.
It is totally normal for girls to be uncomfortable with their female bodies and their periods. It’s normal to be uncomfortable with the female role. Tons of women are uncomfortable with the female role, in fact. Crying because you’ve gotten your period doesn’t make you a man—that’s normal for girls. After a while you get used to having a period though, and although it’s never pleasant, you won’t cry about it forever.
It’s also normal for a young lesbian to deny her sexual orientation. I also once had a conversation with my mother where she casually remarked that I had a crush on a girl and I loudly exclaimed that I did not. When this girl says that she yelled “I’m not a lesbian” at her mother, I can totally relate to that. I did have a crush on a girl but there was no way I wanted to be labelled as gay. It took me many more years to arrive at a place where I could admit it without panicking.
Gays and lesbians have made lots of progress but it’s not like homophobia is completely gone. We are a minority of the population and we are rarely represented in our culture. When lesbians are represented in media, we’re often represented inaccurately. We’re also still the punch line of jokes and something embarrassing to avoid talking about. It’s still hard to come out.
Despite her mother being accepting of her sexual orientation, she still could not accept it herself. We live in a misogynist culture that punishes gender-non-conforming and lesbian women, and so it’s not surprising that teenage GNC lesbians believe they have to either become men or die.