“So, do you wish you had a penis?” my therapist of a year asked me.
“I don’t know.”
“So, you don’t want a penis?” she pressed further with a slight re-wording of her question as if semantics would make me crumble and admit my most buried of secrets.
As her question hung in the air, suffocating me like a deep fog, I cringed at the word – Penis. In a matter of seconds, my entire gender identity in question had been reduced to genitalia. I couldn’t even look at her. My palms throbbed and prickled with sweat despite being in a notoriously bone-chilling cold room that was now starting to cave in on me. I was in too deep. I wasn’t ready for this. The most intimate of parts that had in secret, infiltrated in controversy, my every fantasy, was now the word by which my identity hung in the balance.
This was my first attempt to get help in understanding my gender identity and who I truly was. I saw this opportunity to test the waters and bring up an issue that had, for over a year, been plaguing my mind- a stream of consciousness that had proliferated a confusing maze of circles in my head, a web of denial, fear, and confusion that at times made me question reality.
“Sometimes I feel more like a boy than a girl, “I had confided reluctantly to her, starting the conversation.
I was stunned by how forthright countless hours of unproductive, fragmented questioning had slipped out of my mouth as such a direct statement and instantly I was drowning in vulnerability. So many hours I had nurtured this secret and as it emerged, I felt as if my insides and their mysteries that I had not yet figured out, were painfully exposed.
“So, are you a boy?” she interrogated.
“I don’t know. Maybe I feel like a boy,” I stammered.
“So, you think you are a boy?”
“I mean, I’m not sure. I look like girl.”
“So, you are a girl?”
“Yes, I think I am a girl, “I whispered. And just like that, I backtracked my way out of my own existence. I couldn’t believe how silly it all sounded. Totally mortified, I mentally descended back into my cave yet I felt a hint of relief that these few minutes could serve as motivation to push this issue so far down inside me that there was perhaps a chance that it would disappear out of existence for all eternity.
At the time, I vowed to never make mention of my gender identity confusion ever again.
Looking back on this interaction, I realize how much we all still have to learn about transcending labels and definitions and I’d like to impart my knowledge to others who desperately seek answers.
Four years passed after this initial experience before I “came out” as a transgender male. Gender is so much more than what is between your legs or fitting into a binary system. My path to knowing was not a straight forward one; I did not grow up knowing that I was a boy inside. After countless hours of research and sifting through videos on YouTube, introspection and fumbling through awkward conversations, I untangled the web of confusion and those insights, I want to share with you. This blog isn’t just about being transgender, it’s about gaining profound compassion and understanding for anyone that is different from us and connecting to something larger than the self. Humans are all really more alike than different .