Change Your World-NOT your Body

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Remembering Always Feeling Like a Boy

Feeling like a boy from their earliest memories is something we hear quite often from transmen. I have felt happy, sad, angry, elated, in love, depressed, thrilled, scared etc etc, I cant say I have ever felt female. I can say I have felt female experiences, biologically speaking, but outside of that, my feelings are emotional, and emotions are not sex based.

That being said, and thats only my experience, for those who have always "felt like a boy/guy", explain exactly what that means. How do you feel like a particular sex? And before anyone says they as a female feel "masculine", explain how you feel like secondary sexual characteristics.

dirt

Edit to add: If you are not legitimately answering this question, describing how it feels to be a "boy", do not respond. Only legitimate answers will not be deleted. And any response saying you thought you should have been born with AB and C will also be deleted because that describes what you would like to have possessed, not how you "feel like a boy". Boys do not wish they had a penis or wish they could pee standing or grow up to have excessive facial hair, they already know they do and will.
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18 comments:

  1. That being said, and thats only my experience, for those who have always "felt like a boy/guy", explain exactly what that means. How do you feel like a particular sex?

    --

    I assume you mean 'how did I feel like a man prior to admitting my trans status to myself', because these days, I know I'm a man because I look down at myself and see one, and look around myself and see that other people are seeing a man. But what was it that tipped me off? Here's some thoughts from I guess a liminal, post-acceptance but pre-proper-transition perspective:

    When people address, praise, insult, greet, whatever me as a woman, it feels strange. And when people address, praise, insult, greet, etc. me as a man, it only has the emotional impact of what they're actually saying.

    I feel drawn to the company of men, to male spaces and male bonding, and feel out of place and uncomfortable in women's spaces, and around women. When groups of people are for whatever reason naturally dividing up by gender, I end up with the guys, often not noticing this until after the fact.

    I like looking male. When I look in the mirror and see an attractive man, I feel good. When I look in the mirror and see an attractive woman, I feel indifferent.

    People who have known me deeply say that I have a 'male brain'. My first (male) lover, many years before I came out, said this several times without any prompting.

    When I do work for women's rights, I feel like an ally, not like someone trying to rescue myself.

    I don't understand (well, of course I understand, but not viscerally, it's not salient for me) 'why anyone would want to be a woman'. For many years, I grow up assuming that all women wished desperately that they were men. Then shortly before coming out, I realized that many women (like yourself) are happy being women, and that even of those who aren't, many wouldn't choose to become men even if they could do it with the flip of a switch. So if I 'really' feel like a woman and not a man, why are there people who feel like me but don't want to transition?

    --

    I keep answering these questions because it helps me understand my own position; I hope that it helps you understand where I'm coming from as well.

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  2. It really just seems to be a matter of whether or not you believe in polarized gender. The poster above seems to. I've always preferred hanging out with the blokes and I've even been told I 'think like a man' for most of my life. Either those things mean something to you or they don't, and to me they don't. I also never cared so much about what people think of me- if I think I'm being treated differently because I'm female I generally bring it to the attention of the treater. And looking in the mirror I don't see a gender at all, just me. I know I'm not answering the original post but just had to say something.

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  3. A matter of whether one feels one needs 'fixing' or not basically. Personally, I find my more unconventional characteristics make me more interesting, not faulty. OK! Delete these 2 as needed, Dirt.

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  4. If peopl say I think like a man, it usually just means they're surprised that a woman is thinking like that! So, hey, get used to it, women can think that way to, so it isn't thinking like a man at all!

    Boils down to some people think it is okay to be treated differently, and they want to be treated as a man, not as a woman. I'd rather we were all treated decently whether we were seen as a man or as a woman. Then the whole thing falls apart, and you'd be left with the obviously terrifiying prospect (for some) of just being treated as a human being.........

    Delete away, O Dirtster! WE know what you're getting at, but some of us just have to chatter!

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  5. Same anon from earlier, wanted to add:

    The prospect of a genderless society doesn't cause me distress. It would make me very happy. In that world I imagine I wouldn't be trans unless it was treated like any other body-mod type endeavor (I do prefer 'male' type aesthetics fwiw.) Unfortunately, we don't live (and some would say, can't live) in a genderless world...

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  6. I hope I say this correctly....but it's from the heart. Having facial hair, a penis, pecks, etc has nothing to do with being transgender. When I close my eyes, and think..hmm I need to wash the van...I hear a male, see a male, and do not in any way associate with feminine attributes. I have not yet began testosterone, or have I had surgery. It's really kind of hard to explain...you'd have to be in my head. I am not in any way ashamed of my female body, I am simply in awe by it. I once told my therapist, when I look at my kids, I feel like a dad, not a mom. Even though I am pre transition, I live under my male alias, and identify as a transgender. I do not look at the words her, she, girl as foul, or wrong in anyway. They just don't apply to me. I understand I am a biological female, I have no shame in that as I stated before. Being a boy always came natural to me. Being a girl took work. I feel my emotions are that of a male. I feel like I naturally grow facial hair, chest hair, and full leg hair because....

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  7. (contd from above comment) I was some how meant to be a boy. When we are conceived we are ALL of the male gender. Until our genetalia (spell check) starts to form. I honestly believe being trans is more a scientific hiccup, not mental or emotional. I too will soon transition fully. Not because I want to pee standing up, because it's who i am. Thanks a lot.

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  8. "When I close my eyes, and think..hmm I need to wash the van...I hear a male, see a male, and do not in any way associate with feminine attributes."

    Well wake up and smell the coffee dude, most of the women on here have bugger-all to do with 'feminine' attributes either!

    If it's NOT bodily attributes like facial hair or muscles, and it's not silly constructs like 'feminine attributes', rejection of, then what IS left of your mythical 'seeing a male'. Because you obviously really believe that there is some fundamental difference between male and female, that you think you're the former.............

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  9. "I was some how meant to be a boy. When we are conceived we are ALL of the male gender."

    We're ALL sexed from conception, in that the sex chormosomes are there.

    Gender? Well, more assignment of a CONSTRUCT where it doesn't apply.

    Just the same ole -- I've got a male brain nonsense that we've heard before.....

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  10. Anon@12:19am,

    As a bio female everything you do is as a bio female, there is no different effort or comfort.

    Now performing gender roles may have taken work, but acting is a chore. Try being yourself for a change.

    And if your shrink is buying the ignorance you just spouted here, find a new shrink, clearly they too are sporting the gender straight jacket way too tight.

    dirt

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  11. "The prospect of a genderless society doesn't cause me distress. It would make me very happy. In that world I imagine I wouldn't be trans unless it was treated like any other body-mod type endeavor..."

    Sorry, do we actually have ONE almost admission that trans is a product of society rather than biology? Or at least that whatever trans is would look very different from the persepctive of a gender-free society?

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  12. ""The prospect of a genderless society doesn't cause me distress. It would make me very happy. In that world I imagine I wouldn't be trans unless it was treated like any other body-mod type endeavor..."

    Sorry, do we actually have ONE almost admission that trans is a product of society rather than biology? Or at least that whatever trans is would look very different from the persepctive of a gender-free society?"

    Well, yeah, absolutely. Maybe trans* is a product of biology, sure, but that would entail admitting that gender [as opposed to sex] is biological, which I find troubling as a feminist and as a scholar. But the question is, should we keep people from transitioning because their feelings are a result of a societal construct, rather than because of biology? Well, are the only 'legitimate' feelings and positions the ones that are a direct result of our biology? So if the 'gay gene' wasn't upheld scientifically, would it be unacceptable to be gay all of a sudden?

    Does the fact that some people transition to become male, mean that we somehow can't work towards a genderless (or without gender-based oppression) society? No, of course not. That would only be the case if every woman (or even every woman who feels oppressed) wanted to transition, and if every person who transitioned immediately stopped working against privilege and disguised themself as a privileged-from-birth chauvinist non-transsexual male. That's so far from the truth it's not even funny.

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  13. I don't know what "feeling like a boy" means. I just knew that I was one, and was confused when people told me I wasn't. When people talked about boys, I just assumed I was included, and when they talked about girls, I assumed I wasn't, whether I liked/agreed with what they were saying or not.

    I think the best illustration is probably the difficulty I had in coming to terms with my sexuality. Sometime in mid/late elementary school, I started to realize I was attracted to boys, and I felt dirty/guilty/ashamed.

    I felt like I was "supposed" to be interested in girls, and I felt like I had to pretend I was...or at least hide all interest in boys. It wasn't until my early twenties that I finally admitted to my parents that the boy who'd been my "best friend" through most of high school had actually been my boyfriend. And I was confused/relieved that they'd known and were OK with it. (They would have been OK with it if they'd thought of me as a boy, too, but I didn't know that at the time.)

    I always felt like I had to pretend to be all butch, play contact sports, talk about girls, work out, roughhouse in order to fit in outside my math/computer nerd circle. It didn't even occur to me until much later that I could have tried to fit in with the girls instead - just wasn't on my radar. I would have been crossing the invisible line, and (I felt like) people would have thought I was gay. I was oddly OK with the conscious knowledge that they probably thought I was a lesbian.

    I think that pretty much sums up my experience of "feeling like a boy" - feeling trapped by gender roles that didn't quite fit me, with the odd dual awareness that nobody *actually* expected me to conform to them, and that in fact I was defying the gender roles that people actually thought applied to me.

    I would have been a much happier kid in a world where boys didn't have to feel guilty for liking cooking, sparkly things, and other boys. I'm pretty sure I would have known I was a boy as long as there was a word for "juvenile form of deep-voiced square-jawed human" or however it is that young children identify sex differences, but I would have felt a lot less constrained and conflicted.

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  14. When I hit puberty, I thought I was getting ill or something, because my chest was itching. My mother said I was starting to grow breast. My reaction was thinking something like 'haha, silly mommy! You don't understand it. I don't grow breasts! Only women have breast, everybody knows that!'
    I also thought I had a penis that was underdeveloped, since I couldn't properly pee standing. I was not a girl, the problem was obviously that some people surrounding me thòught I was one. And I expected to get facial hair and some hair on my stomach, just like my dad. Silly people who think I won't..

    I call this, now I'm older, 'feeling like a boy'. I used to play the daddy when I was with friends, only females are mothers.

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  15. "Does the fact that some people transition to become male, mean that we somehow can't work towards a genderless (or without gender-based oppression) society?"

    Except it DOES when the beliefs behind that transition (as we've seen on here many times), include beliefs about female brains being different to male brains, to such an extent that I'm sure some of them think that girls come pre-programmed to like pink and sparkly and be bad at maths.............

    It's the ideology behind much of the trans cant that is the problem, NOT just the fact that some people transition.

    "should we keep people from transitioning because their feelings are a result of a societal construct, rather than because of biology?" The point is, IF you believe trans is some sort of male brain in a female body birth defect, you AREN'T going to be looking that hard for other options other than transition. If you think it is a societal construct, then some psychologists/psychiatrists are interested in that, and other approaches (although they tend to get silenced by the surgery is the key trans lobby). Viewed as a medical problem, it isn't in the interests of the medical establishment to inquire into social constructs, since as far as I can see, their job is to deal with society as it is, and people within that society as it is. Also, if due to society, makes it a bit hard to justify surgical intervention to fix a problem with society!

    The point being, the trans lobby that wants access to hormones and surgery either needs to keep it as a medical problem, OR needs to take the much harder route of trying to persuade medical ethicists to change tack totally, and agree with the concept of debilitating surgery (sorry, but sterilization and removal of healthy organs is such), not for any medical reason, but merely because the patient really, REALLY wants it!

    Plus, if you think it is down to society, then you have another option to offer trans people, especially those who believe the male brain stuff, hence don't see that there IS any other option, since brain transplants aren't available.........

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  16. I used to say this exact thing about feeling 'like a boy' but I was wrong. All I meant is that from a young age i pictured myself with a male body. I can remember being about 4 and my genitalia seemed really weird like it didn't belong on my body. I suppose when I found out boys had different parts then I made the connection that I was supposed to have those parts instead.

    I still don't know what triggered this. The whole 'trapped in the wrong body' thing makes no logical sense to me. I think people want to believe it because the alternative is tougher, you start questioning your sanity and even wonder if you've been sexually abused as a baby or something.

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  17. I agree with what you say about feelings can be difficult to be labeled with a gender. But may I ask, how do you "feel" attracted to women? how is it any different than "feeling" attracted to men,and how would you know if it's any different if you only "feel" for women? I'm neutral on this whole thing and just came across your blog, but it is very difficult to take your opinions seriously when the "straight" population views all of this one in the same. It's proven than males think differently than females. Why are these trans people any different? I have heard of a study where it was shown that the brainwaves of GID patients are the same of the identified sex, not the biological. (and that gay men, lesbian women's brainwaves was the same as their biological sex)

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  18. Your final caveat was most interesting, largely because it encapsulates my experience perfectly.

    Quoting: "Boys do not wish they had a penis or wish they could pee standing or grow up to have excessive facial hair, they already know they do and will."

    My experience of "feeling like a boy" is best described using the "Ugly Duckling" fable.

    I genuinely believed as a child that I was a human version of the Ugly Duckling from the story. People believed me to be female, just as people believed the baby swan to be a duck. As the "duck" grew, he developed into a swan, and people realized they'd been mistaken about him.

    I heard the term "late bloomer" and assumed that it was indicative of people whose bodies didn't develop fully into the right sex until puberty.

    My expectation as a child was that I *would* develop a penis, facial hair, and other male secondary sex characteristics. I didn't wish for them, I assumed they were in the works. It was something I took for granted; that when I reached puberty, I would develop these things.

    Obviously, I got older and gained a better understanding of biology and realized that this was irrational, but my experience of "feeling like a boy" was not one of feeling like I should have been born in a male body. It was one of feeling I *was* in a male body that was simply slower to develop.

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