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I am a female to male transsexual, and I started my gender transition way back in 2002.  Some people who know me might tell you that much of the time I make being me look graceful, but the reality is that being me isnít nearly as easy as it might appear to be.  I was born in 1978, which makes me younger than old and older than young at 27.  Iím right at the edge of Generation X, a cusp where times and trends overlap and blend while they change.  Iím old enough to remember the 1980ís but still too young to really understand the significance of the 70ís.

Iím creeping up on the life-changing age of 30, and when I reach the summit, I will turn and look down on the last 29 years and wonder what happened.  But even though I am indeed getting older (and hopefully wiser), I still want to do some of the things that I used to be able to do.  If I could do it right now I would love to just break out into cartwheels!  However, my inability to do a cartwheel is both a good thing and a bad thing.  With all my grace and poise Iíd probably end up in a body cast!  Perhaps not trying to do cartwheels makes me wise. 

Iíve learned to recognize my personal limits and to stick to that natural design.  I want for todayís Transgender youth to know and appreciate the significance of their status in the world.  I want for them to have the freedom to set their own personal limits and to know when and how to defend their boundaries. 

I spent my childhood and early adolescence being generally ignored by those around me.  Unless I was being senselessly beaten up by my classmates, I was usually alone.  Spending a lot of time alone will do two things to you: 1) Being alone makes you think, and 2) Being alone makes you feel very isolated. 

In elementary school I spent a lot of time walking around by myself on the playground.  I hated my body and I just didnít want people to see me.  Junior high school was a blur, and I literally donít remember most of it, which makes me sad because a lot of really good things happened to me during those years.  I was what my mother liked to call a ďlate bloomerĒ and I inched along in life like a snail, always just a little behind all the other girls in my physical development and even more behind in my spiritual development; I never developed into the typical teenage girl.  Whatís worse is that I felt like a broken toy, and I was reminded that I was broken on a daily basis.  The things I do remember about junior high are mostly good things.  Itís almost like the bad things didnít happen. 

As my junior high school years passed into history the ways in which I was different from my friends became obvious.  When it came to popularity, high school was an unfortunate repeat of junior high.  My high school years are mostly frames of emotion.  The memories I have are like faded photographs, taped to the walls of my mind like a shrine to the past.  While I can recall very few pinpointed moments where I have book-marked my fear, all of the emotional indicators from my youth are still alive and well, and when I think about certain spaces in time I am bombarded with a virtual flood of emotionÖ milliseconds of colors and light, like a camera flash; stills of feeling frozen there in my mind without assignment to recognizable vision. 

Everyone around me knew I was not like them, and school was where I learned to identify myself as abnormal and different.  My classmates called me ďBeth the BoyĒ.  My kind of uniqueness did not carry with it a good connotation.  But different was all I knew how to be.  Pretending to be like someone else was totally uncomfortable and spiritually awkward for me.  In just one year I was downsized from a pretty regular tomboy into a painfully introverted teenager with suicidal thoughts and a bottle of pills shoved under my mattress.

 There was no Gay Straight Alliance at my high school or junior high.  I didnít have teachers I could talk to.  I didnít think I could tell my parents how I was feeling.  I didnít have many friends, and even the friends I did have made fun of my masculinity.  The truth is that as the only girl in my school who didnít look like a girl, I stuck out like a sore thumb.  The first time I was called a fag was when I was in the third grade.

 The revelations I experienced as a young person were significant to my self-discovery.  Being alone made me think about what I really wanted out of my life.  But the bad things that happened to me changed me inside, and they will forever have an effect on the quality of my life.  Maybe if my teachers and school administrators had encouraged me to be myself and had defended my individuality against those who worked to silence me, I could have found myself much sooner.

E-mail 4ane...@embarqmail.com  
Last modified: 02/09/09