Rodger’s Story

Transitioning for me began when I started to take the idea seriously.

I’d reached a point where I knew I had some issues with gender and my body, and I wanted to get them sorted out. I didn’t know where this would end up, but admitting to myself that I might be transgendered, and doing enough reading to find people with similar stories to mine helped me to see the various options.

I eventually decided to find out whether I would be able to take testosterone, even though I thought I’d be laughed out of the doctor’s surgery for not being a ‘real transsexual’. The problem was, I couldn’t really identify with what I read about transsexual people. I didn’t know when I was three. I didn’t think about being a man when I grew up.

Eventually I read more and more, and thought more and more, and realised that while my gender may have been ambivalent, my concept and awareness of my body had been consistently masculine. Although I was perfectly aware I had a female body, I wanted to do what I could to feel more comfortable in it.

So, I worked out and cultivated some wispy facial hair. I dabbled in packing and binding. I thought and I thought and then I jumped through the hoops and twiddled my thumbs, and after eight months, had myself a testosterone prescription.

It was delightfully strange to see the changes starting to occur in my body. There was a good deal of peering into the mirror to see if anything had happened and much careful noting of every new feeling or passing change. Almost for this alone, taking the testosterone was worth it. I’d never been so aware of my body.

Rather than being something that carried me around and, more often than I would like, made me uncomfortable, it became part of me. I had to make lifelong decisions about parts of my body that I had tried to ignore or had never considered. I had to mourn my ovaries, my womb. I might not have liked what they did to me, but they were part of me. They functioned perfectly, without complaints, until I made the choice to override them.

Even as I started to look more the way I felt, with my eyes shut, I stopped recognising myself. It wasn’t only that I’d sprouted hair in peculiar places, that my clothes fit differently and my muscles grew stronger with less effort, or even that my voice steadily dropped to a loutish rumble. It wasn’t that my libido developed a two-week cycle and a much broader range of possible attractions, or that I started sweating more and smelling more when I did.

I didn’t recognise my calmness, the confidence to face forward and deal with my family and the doctors and my own doubts. I didn’t know where the courage had come from. I didn’t realise how much anxiety and discomfort I had been feeling, and I didn’t expect to feel as happy as I do.

Rodger (2002)

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