My first distinct memory of that fear impacting me was when I was 4.
I felt it for boys sometimes too, but my disgust at my own body expanded into discomfort at the idea of being physically close to men.
In retrospect, I was quite bi.
In retrospect I was often drawn to women who I most wanted to be like.
But being I had no idea what trans WAS, I didn’t recognise that there was a difference.
I grew a beard and performed a lot of machismo when I was uncomfortable.
I don’t like metal and have never tried pot.
I just liked how sensual long hair felt.
I didn’t have many (maybe 4 at most, for years) - I felt like a weird outsider most of the time, and was painfully jealous of my female friends.
I was much more interested in that than what they felt like to touch (the clear fixation for my male friends).
The social pressure to conflate ‘womanhood’ with those things affected me hugely. I saw them as representative entirely of womanhood, and things I’d never experience.
It’s a very easy thing to do and it’s garbage, given how much we venerate the same juvenile things aimed at boys.
I was sure I’d be able to keep it secret for longer, but I ‘won’ the HRT lottery and people consistently commented on my appearance.
I’m lucky in how HRT affected me meshing with what I wanted to look like, but many trans people aren’t so much.
So much of ‘gendered’ behaviour is constructed from marketing & media.
I remembered the feeling, but it felt foreign.
Now I tend to want specific experiences, and actually getting off is less important than the experience with a partner.
Now it’s hard to achieve (and always involves an emotional aspect) and can vary from warm and nice but barely worth the name to legs-turn-to-jelly level of amazing.
And running fucking sucks.
I made a bucket-list based on what they said.
It included “sit alone at a pub undisturbed”, “go in public topless” and “jog without needing a bra”.
None survived more than maybe 8 months. Life is just too different, between comfort with myself and being treated differently.
I now think of it as more complex.
From money to passing privilege to support from friends, privilege comes in many forms.
It wasn’t until I began to get being gendered correctly that I began to recognise how enormous the social and emotional impact had been.
Transphobic media has me fighting not just dysphoria but the strangeness of having a clearly female-looking body, with “wrong” sexual organs.
My response seems to be a little extreme.
I’ve had to force myself to do it sometimes, to remind myself I don’t NEED it.
That surprised me. My face changed so dramatically that within 3 months face detection algorithms often failed.
I can smell men as distinct from women now, very clearly. I never could before.
(Also, I hate the smell, but many women I know love it.)
Conversely, having a few close friends likely to begin masculinising HRT soon will be interesting too.
Most of cis male friends only began to alter their behaviour when I began to ‘look female’.
Internalised sexism again.
My words carry less weight.
I did not intend to do this at all.
They still see, behind all the changes, the same person underneath.
Most strangers don’t misgender me and rarely clock me as trans.
This bothers me, as it feels like they only really trust my word “because I used to be a guy”… and they can trust men more than women.
The difference between a partner seeing you as male VS female in a physical sense is huge.
There’s a degree of body worship/physical lust that I rarely experienced pre-transition.
Your looks and behaviour enormously effect how quick other women are to help you like this.
There’s a low-key competitive and weird behaviour in men’s toilets.
It’s not uncommon to see women chatting and helping/supporting each other in toilets - especially if clearly distressed.
The subcutaneous fat on my face shifted first, followed by body hair patterns and skin, followed by breast development, and finally my legs and arse feminising and getting heavier.
2 years in and I still sometimes misjudge and slam my bust into something (or someone) while moving sideways past things.
For a good while it almost felt like I had to re-learn to walk, tripping and almost falling over if I stood up too fast.
You don’t tend to notice your arse or legs getting heavier as they aren’t obstructing your field of view.
Air con often feels slightly too cold now, and I usually find myself shivering and wearing another layer before my cis male friends feel anything.
I still sometimes worry I look “too masculine”, and take a selfie to remind myself that’s not true.
I believe this is largely cartilage and musculature shifting.
Now I stare at them and it’s extremely surreal but fine - I know that logically that person was me, but it’s so hard to reconcile myself with that body.
I will start typing or saying “when I was a girl”, and while that’s semantically true, it still feels off.
I use gender-neutral pronouns for my pre-transition self.
It becomes harder and harder to do that as your experience slips further and further from that socially.
Now I tend to see myself more easily in female characters.
More and more it’s a challenge to find media whose characters I can relate to.
I often tried to emulate the less terrible things I saw in these things.
I worry I take it for granted, or that I make some people jealous.
When he gendered me right despite me not “presenting” very femme, I changed my order to sparkling wine and a tequila shot.
It’s still my chosen celebratory drink.
I have to to fight it, even now, even if it’s much easier.
I always feel terrible when it leaks out, especially in good company.
My jealousy of my cis female friends was that bad.
I still feel terrible that I used to do that.
That gross narrative scared me for years.
It has little interest to me now - it was, in retrospect, a way for me to imagine a different life without accepting that I had to do it myself.
For me, I was always “acting” before. Now I just act in a way that comes naturally.
This made starting HRT, even knowing it was what I wanted, easily the scariest thing I’ve ever done.
I spent a lot of the first few weeks crying.
It’s ceding control to an unknown.
These days I just like the shape, although I still have a residual insecurity that I look too top heavy in pants.
For the reference, I was changing my name/gender with St George Bank and Telstra.
More than a few times I couldn’t figure out if a woman was just being nice to me, or was interested me.
And being wrong is awkward.
I’ve had to learn to be much more cold toward men I don’t know, just in case.
Giving the wrong impression is at best awkward, and at worst dangerous/scary.
More people seem to not care or find it a turn-on than are unlikely to want to sleep with someone like me.
I genuinely didn’t understand what it’d feel like, and on some level dismissed it a bit.
I nearly died of amazement.
Kids can be the best ever.
Now I despise them, and prefer single player or co-operative experiences.
I will never know precisely why that changed, I guess.
They used to mostly be headaches.
Now I rarely get headaches, and instead get nausea.
After a while I began to realise that wearing low-cut tops meant I was misgendered less.
That’s past the point of being a problem, but I’m still in the habit of doing it.
It almost never happens these days.
There’s no difference that I can tell - I get the same kind of number of matches/likes/messages either way.
I’m getting very used to it now - I’ve ‘come out’ as trans maybe two dozen times on dating apps now.
It was on the “normal side effects for a few days” list, but it was scary.
I couldn’t sleep for more than an hour at a time.
I had almost every “okay” side-effect.
It was a week of total hell. Hot flashes, crying, odd dreams…
Unfortunately it’s also quite the completionist.
I haven’t had a sexual dream where I didn’t have a vagina in over a year.
It’s actually quite a distressing and depressing thing to wake up from.
They now tend to involve people invading my personal space, or worse.
I suddenly understood why women’s leather jackets were either loose or didn’t go down as far.
I have, however, accidentally walked into the women’s toilets before I transitioned. Several times I just walked on autopilot and through the door that clearly said “women”.
Hormone therapy meant taking pills every 8 hours to begin with, so I began to order my life to an absurd degree.
That’s remained true even though I don’t need to any more.
Would they get along with me? Would I get along with them?
That’d be somewhere around the 1st or 2nd trimester for a pregnant cis woman.
I cry a lot.
Crying now just feels cathartic. I don’t mind at all.
I spoke to a few trans masc friends who said the precise reverse.
It was caught before it damaged my organs.
Transitioning may well have saved my life in more ways than one.
Now for various reasons I see one - and numerous specialists - several times a year.
I suspect there’s a much higher chance various medical problems will be caught early now.
Glad I did - I can’t imagine not having scarlet hair now.
I got no snarky responses from anyone I ran into it, despite having a beard for some of that time.
In fact I kinda wish I’d been able to see it then, and spent more time playing with different styles.
I wasn’t a bad-looking guy. Dysphoria just made that impossible to see.
I do it only for myself, and because I find it’s a nice easy delineation - I often essentially think of myself as having regenerated, Gallifrey-style.
Things I missed because I was so uncomfortable at the time.
I always took that for granted before; I was left alone all but once when seen as male.
“Darl”, “Love”, “Girls”. Even the rare “Ma’am” has the subtext of being “not sexually available”.
Compare to “Man”, “Dude”, “Mate” or “Sir” - all imply equal social standing or deference.
Then I realised I’m already using hormones and maybe one day surgery to this, so it’s a bit weird to be precious.
My body is a sculpture now.
It’s something I, again, try not to take for granted.
It was a lovely experience, and I bought one of my now-favourite dresses.
Was very weirdly affirming.
Still odd. Why not assume I’m shopping for a BF?
Learning cis women often deal with the same thing helped.
Just generally? Problems are often more universal than I’d realised.