Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It Wasn't Funny Then: Transgender and the Puberty Years

If life is not complicated enough, try being transgender when you hit puberty. Even better, transgender and gay. It can be a real hoot in retrospect, though it sure was not all that funny back then. I've been blest to be gay as a male, and now gay as a female. Nature really is quite the merry prankster it seems. Let's go back a bit. At the age of three, I had told my mom I was a girl. Nothing like a bit of panic in your mom's eyes to send a child into a deep retreat. At least it was that way for me. All along, behavior I wanted to engage in was consciously replaced with a sort of faux masculinity. Heck to get respect this child learned to speak East Texas (which I still do to this day) and I even artificially deepened my voice. No wonder the other kids thought I was pretty weird.

Invariably however, hormones do what they do. For me it was in the seventh grade and my voice started changing with those sudden shrill sounds that came from nowhere and whiskers began to pop out. I would shave over and over trying to get rid of them. My face today is uber sensitive and constantly breaks out. I blame that on my efforts back in the day.

Then there was the matter of that thing between my legs. It had to go somewhere. I wore tight underwear, tucking it back between my legs after shoving the "jewels" inside the body cavity. I even went to sleep that way.

Now a bit more background here. My parents were not big on talking about sex. Daddy finally tried when I was a senior in high school. What I knew I got from encyclopedias and medical texts. In the seventh grade I really was ignorant about what was going on inside my body.

Now I was an avid reader. One book I read was a Pearl Buck novel about the Dowager Empress. It was an amazing book, speaking of castratos and concubines and elaborate palaces and handsome princes. Reading into the night, I fell asleep, book in hand.

Fading into a dream world, I'm walking in a meadow of beautiful flowers for as far as the eye can see. I'm wearing a cute little white dress with petticoats which was the style of the time. Over the hill was the most handsome man I had ever seen in my life. He rode towards me, smiled and asked if I needed a lift. His hand stretched out and in a smooth seamless move he pulls me up onto the horse behind him. I reach around his waist holding tight, my face pressed against his smooth shirt. I can smell his scent through the fabric. I hold on even tighter, and it feels so right. My heart is beating fast and breaths are shorter! I rise up a bit, gently kissing his neck and I need him to stop so badly now so I can kiss him properly. My hand wanders down his body lower and ...

I wake up suddenly. Something is filling my pajamas and it is warm and wet. I've just had my first wet dream, but I had no clue what it was! Horrified, I wonder if I've damaged my insides, but am too afraid to go talk to my parents who would surely have a major fit if they knew. How could I tell them anyway? That dream... Why I had tucked my genitals...

The warmth became cold, and quietly I snuck into the bathroom frightened to death. I cleaned up the mess as best I could and washed out the underwear that served as barrier from my pj's. Then after hiding the underwear in the closet to dry, I crawled back into bed. Clearly I had not died. It really did feel kind of good.

Whether a child is transgender or not, my story shows the importance of teaching children the basics of sex education. Wet dreams and masturbation are normal occurrences, but for the person who does not understand what is happening, it can be traumatic. The story is also how important it is for an honest relationship to exist between parent and child. Parents, you may not want your child to be gay or transgender. But regardless of what you do, they are what they are. How much better to be able to be open and honest. In my case I was both, but had to be delayed because of secrets. Sometimes the guilt and secrets are too much. What if they had told me, you can be exactly who you are and we will love you for it? I grew up in a different time, but it still happens today. Happy is the child who is true to self. My story is funny now. It was not funny then.

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