The title says it all.
Within the past few weeks, I’ve thought about it, and acted; I came out as transgender to my friends and family.
I now know that that was the biggest mistake of my life.
The happiest I’ve been in the past year since I’ve come out, first as genderfluid, then as demiboy, then finally trans, was a day when I was carrying groceries. I was dressed in a button-up and a t-shirt, baggy jeans and a beanie. I had just cut my hair short. I had a cough, so my voice was gruff and deep. But sickness didn’t bother me; the entire day I was barraged by strangers calling me things like ‘he’ and ‘sir’ and I was over the moon with happiness.
Some people are incredibly supportive; either because they fall off the gender binary themselves or because they genuinely care and want to help. Others, not so much. Others I’m completely terrified of talking to about it and have thus far refused to even try to come out to them.
It’s a sensitive, strange and even uncomfortable subject to talk about, even for me. I’ve identified myself as female for most of my life, and now within the past three years I finally came to realise that no, no I really don’t feel like a woman. At best I feel like a cross-dressing man.
All my life, I’ve felt these bursts of odd feelings that I was never able to place. A queasy sort of wrongness, a disgust with myself and my body that would lead me to scratch and pull my hair and sometimes even panic from the sheer ugliness I felt. I realised, nearly 15 years too late and after research and months of seeing specialists, that this feeling is called dysphoria.
It’s hard to imagine, but I was five, six, eight years old, feeling like I was trapped and struggling and not understanding why because the whole world told me I was a girl and I accepted it. I still have memories of throwing fits that nobody understood – not even I understood why I was so angry and upset.
I’m not on hormones, not yet. I don’t have the funds to change my name. I have barely any clothes that mark me as male. My face and voice are glaringly feminine and even with a chest binder my excess weight and hourglass figure make sure that I have the classic female curves. On some days, it feels like the only thing I’m doing is helping Mother Nature and gravity in their struggle to pull everything downwards.
I can pretend, but it’s been pointed out to me by people close to me, angry people who refuse to try to understand; “You are a girl. You have always been a girl and will always be a girl.”
It hurts. It hurts that someone that I love and would accept boundless would close me off, try to force me into the wrong body and pronouns for their own comfort. It hurts that I go to bed at night sometimes and those words sink into me so badly that I start to believe them; no one will ever think that I’m a boy. I’m just looking for attention. I’m a horrible, messed-up individual and I need serious help.
But that’s not the truth. The people closest to me – pseudo-family, my mother (bless her, she tries so hard), my best friends. They helped me see that. I am not a girl anymore. It took me three years to understand this and had I been sat down and taught about gender as a child, I would have understood it a lot sooner.
I chose the name Chase Michael Earles. I wanted to respect my parents’ naming, so I stayed with the same sounds, the same initials. It felt right to me.
It’s going to be a hard journey, but I’m willing to take it. I’m willing to be yelled at and ridiculed. I’m willing to undergo surgery, hormones, anything it takes to make me look the same way I feel inside. It’s going to be tough but when I look in the mirror and see a man staring back, when I speak and hear not soft, female tones but a deep masculine voice, I know it’ll be worth it.
It’ll be so worth it.