I’ve been through a lot of relationships, with both genders. I’ve always had a whirlwind type of spirit, people have come and gone in my life as I’ve travelled around with the circus and in my journeys through different countries. Since I left home at 16, I’ve been in one short-lived, emotional endeavour after another. I did managed to have one 7 year-long relationship that ended in marriage and then divorce. Before that and since then, I’ve never been able to get more than 2 years. I’ve been on a pretty wild roller coaster since my divorce in 2009 and it’s really only in the last 2 years that I stopped getting into relationships and focused on myself.
The old cliché “I was so lost that I had to find myself” comes to mind. Looking back, my journey of “getting my shit together” really started halfway through 2012. I had just extricated myself from another disastrous relationship and had hurt someone very badly because I could not be truthful about who I really was. My suppression and denial of Penny would slowly ruin parts of my life . On the last day of 2012, I remembered being molested as a child. This memory triggered a crisis within me and it drove me to start a quest for self-improvement. Halfway through 2013 I left the circus behind. I had been presented with two paths. One was what I’d been doing for years the other, into a new relationship and a quiet life in the mountains. A change I desperately needed. I got super healthy and started to write obsessively. I had begun to unravel my life layer by layer. I was trying to understand how I had gotten so lost from who I really was. It was a deep process and my memories were flooding out of me at a phenomenal rate. All theses long forgotten traumas and events began to link up and gradually I gained a picture of what had happened. I stopped writing as much, slowly losing interest without me being conscious of it. I had started to look at myself and the life I had created to give myself the security to open up and write. I think I realized that if I kept writing I would uncover my real voice. The voice of Penny. Ultimately it would take another 2 years for her to surface.
I was keeping Penny suppressed tightly within me and I created a life that was so far removed from the truth of me, that in the end, the emulation I had created was too hard for me to hold up anymore. My gender and my sexuality were linked at this point. I needed to untangle myself in order to be able to look at my sexuality objectively. My body had shut down as well. I was no longer motivated by any sexual urges in my relationships with people. When this happened I could focus on my trauma and getting through and learning to cope and manage living with PTSD and get on the right track to get diagnosed with gender dysphoria. From that moment everything became a bit clearer. I went to three therapists before I found the right one. The first one helped me deal with an enormous amount of trauma and guided me towards healing and was also pivotal in me going to the Royal Commission for what had happened when I was younger. They were however, a specialist in trauma therapy and with me leaving to relocate in Melbourne it meant I could no longer continue seeing them. I tried one other general therapist and quickly realized the I needed a specialist in the gender diverse. There are very few places to get help and a lot more needs to be done about this. I found my current therapist who is gender diverse themselves and the difference in helping me was like night and day.
Having someone identify what I was explaining as gender dysphoria was a light going off in a dark room. Everything made sense and I could feel my strength rising as Penny. The more I explained how I felt the more I was able to identify as Transgender. I had finally found my people. People I had spent a lifetime trying to find.
Once I started my transition I could see that in the past I had fallen into this ridiculous male gender role in all of my relationships and it had made me unbearably unhappy every time. Once I stepped out of the role of being a male, I could become the real me. I was no longer trapped.
When I started to transition I kind of innately understood that I was going to have to go this alone. It wouldn’t be fair on any partner to have to go through this whilst starting a new relationship. It’s not that I’m not open to it, it’s just that finding someone who’s together enough and had enough life experience to understand my complex life is rare. Being attracted to both genders also has its draw backs when I’ve tried to form new social connections
I’ve personally experienced discrimination from the gay community for sleeping with females just as much as I’ve experienced the same type of discrimination from the heterosexual community for sleeping with males. It made me realize there was so much more to it and I had never really explored just how deeply ingrained people’s ideas of sexuality and their gender are and how they define their lives and view of others based on their narrow field of experience.
How I think about my body these days is vastly different and as my gender role has changed and subsequently viewed by others, a different set of non-defined rules seems to apply.
It’s a completely new playing field for me and one I’m not entirely sure of. My past sexual prowess is now gone along with my body image. I’m learning now, how others see me and it’s an interesting process as I redefine myself.
So far as I’ve transitioned it’s been a generally positive experience and the more I have become Penny the more confident I have become. The ultimate goal is to become the trans-woman I have always dreamt of being. I don’t want to be seen as a woman. I want to be seen as a trans woman.
I keep seeing this notion which is quite offensive to many in the trans community put forward by a few high-profile people, that trans-women are not real women. I don’t agree with this, for a lot of reasons, namely that no-one has the right to tell someone who they are or what they are. Let people be what they want to be identified as. It’s a basic human right. Live and let live. It’s 2017.
What I can’t understand is why people who are not trans/gender diverse seem to have the right to tell trans/gender diverse people what they are.
Why does the Trans community seem to have no representation anywhere ?
Maybe if we did then people who don’t have any clues wouldn’t be asked, they’d be asking the people who really matter in the issue. The trans community.
If the powers that be can divide the GLBTQI and wider minority communities, then we lose any power of affecting real change.
I know that I speak only for myself, as every trans/gender diverse person is different, but personally I think the beautiful thing about being trans is just that. The trans experience is this beautiful hybridization of the human body. A new state of evolution for me. It’s what being trans is about for me.
The trans experience is a unique and powerful insight. We have a voice and need representation at all levels of our community. My people have always been in our communities, it’s just in most cultures that has been suppressed. We have been waiting in the background and now its time for us to be heard. I don’t want to fit in and be a woman. Just like I never really wanted to be a man and was always uncomfortable acting as one. Finally having the courage and determination to change my physical sex to reflect what the inside already is and stepping through into a new world for me. I feel my femininity out, guided by spirit and now aided with hormones as my body rewires itself. I like to think of my body as a complex organic computer. My hardware and the software needed to be updated. I have begun to grow breasts and it’s been quite painful. My nipples are sore and I had this wonderful moment when I realised that I was actually growing breasts and my heart fluttered a bit and I felt so peaceful and content with everything. Finally. As the synapses and electrical currents that guide my body become something new, I feel at peace most of the time. I’m in a great place with this and its brought me around to the question, do I find someone to share this with.
How do I approach these new relationships in the future ? How do I go about setting up something that can fit in my life and where it’s going, how do you keep a relationship from becoming co-dependant and un-balanced ? Seeing things from a feminine perspective has also helped me gain an insight to just how much work goes into the feminine appearance in order to stay “attractive” for the male perspective. I have gone from no effort in my physical appearance as a male, to spending hours grooming, shaving, lazering, waxing and hours of make-up all for me to feel more feminine. Is the effort all worth it without any type of goal towards attracting a partner ?
For me, Yes, I feel it’s just part of the process of transitioning, each little thing is a step to becoming a transgendered female. There has been hundreds of these little steps so far as I create myself both physically and spiritually. Each one is a barrier that gets crossed and overcome and then becomes part of who I am. It’s a very intimate, soul-searching process of authenticity and discovery. From buying my first bra and women’s underwear in a store, to getting my eyebrows waxed, I feel very grateful I had a close woman friend who held my hand for all this first experiences. Will a prospective new partner want to do some of these things with me or will we fall into specific gender roles ?
I feel my perspective on gender and sexuality is just my way of being. It’s not going to be the same for anyone else. Everyone has their own journey. It’s all on a spectrum for me and I’ve yet to take the plunge back into the murky waters of dating with complete strangers. But unwinding years of baggage at a therapist office over time has had its benefits. Getting to a point of strong independence in myself and my life as this new person is something I have really only just gained in the last few months. Its been a long and incredible sometimes painful journey these last 4 years. At the worst of it, I always knew it was going to get better and now that time happening. I’m slowly morphing into a new direction that keeps opening doorways for me.