For a little over one/two months, starting in the first week of February, I decided I would cut ties with anything that immediately outed me as a transman. I wanted to see what it would be like to "live stealth", to essentially, live as a cismale. I didn't tell anyone I was doing this because I didn't want that to have any outside influence on how things would go. During this time I stopped posting about being trans and any of the experiences I had that only a transman would get to experience. Anything that would connect me to being a transgender male was suddenly thrown out the window. My whole identity was tossed aside, set on the back burner.
Ultimately this decision came to me after defending myself and my body on social media for what felt like the millionth time. One of the many privileges that cismen have over transmen that they overlook and take for granted is the simple fact that they do not have to defend or justify their bodies to a society that makes them look like the enemy day in and day out. Cismen don't have random strangers asking about their genitalia nor do they have to deal with a hostile society that has been brainwashed into thinking that because their body is different that means their body is wrong. It is so mentally and physically exhausting spending my free time convincing others that my life is still worth living even though I'm living it as a transman. The last Facebook fight I was involved in was the straw that broke the camel's back. It was the typical "you were born with a vagina, you're a girl! Sorry snowflake!" post, as they always were. First of all, I'd like to point out that it is extremely weird that you're that concerned with another's privates, and you are in fact the snowflake for being so easily triggered by it. So, put that in your juice box. Anyway, after I had enough of the argument, I set my phone down and just thought "you know, no other male has to do this and I shouldn't have to either!" That is when I decided enough was enough, let's see how the other half lives. I felt like I was constantly labeled and seen as nothing other than "the transman" when for once in my life I just wanted to be seen as "a man".
I'm not going to lie to you, the very next day I woke up expecting to feel completely different, as if I were Hannah Montana or something. No one knew I was embarking on this experiment, so I don't know why I was disappointed when everything was exactly the same. It stayed that way for a couple of days. At work, we got some new members to the team and when I was introduced to them they had no idea I was transgender. It's always such an ego boost, such a good feeling when someone tells me they originally would have never guessed I'm trans. It makes me feel so validated and is ultimately, my favorite compliment. I felt relief believing that they didn't suspect I was born female, I felt like I could breathe a little easier around them and like that weight wasn't crushing down on my shoulders. Usually when I am first meeting someone, the only thought running through my head is, "Oh my god, do they know? They've got to know. No, they can't. Can they? It's obvious, how wouldn't they?" So to not have those overwhelming and anxious thoughts felt like a breath of fresh air. It was hard not to take to social media with my struggles, complications, and even funny stories that surrounded my transition, but I wanted to be seen as more than that.
The days kept passing while my transition stayed silent in the background. For the first time in my life, I just felt like a normal dude. I didn't feel like all eyes were on me, trying to figure me out. I felt more relaxed and less on edge. But what felt like peace at first quickly left me wanting more. I've waited 3 years to just feel like a normal guy, like every other cismale alive, so why was I yearning for more? What exactly was I yearning for to begin with? Then it hit me, feeling normal was the problem.
Flying under the radar as a 'normal guy' was what I thought I had always wanted. I always told myself that once I had my bottom surgery then I'd erase my transition, live stealth, and be something more than just "the trans guy". I'm glad I realized beforehand that that is not what I want at all. Feeling "normal" takes away everything I stand for. I was blending in when I was born to stand out. Not sharing my transition and who I really am might have been more "peaceful" to society, but not to me. I felt like I was cheating myself. I was wasting the gift I was born to share. I had a voice, why on Earth was I ever trying to silence it or hide myself away? I'm not normal, I don't want to be. I don't want to blend in, I don't want to go unnoticed, I don't want to be a part of the background noise. I am someone who was born with a voice that needed to be heard. If that meant social ridicule and discrimination from everyone I came across, so be it, it was well worth it to make myself seen and heard.
Some days, I would give anything in the world to have just been born in the "right" body. But then I remember that I was born this way because I was strong enough to persevere through it. When I began my transition, everything was all so new to me. I didn't know anything about what it meant to be transgender, I just knew I was. I basically had to 'wing' my entire transition, I didn't have any mentors or guidance to point me in the right direction, other than my mother (bless her soul) who also was flying by the seat of her pants. There were often times where I felt extremely lost and hopeless because I didn't know of anyone who was in a similar position. The last thing I ever want for anyone questioning their gender identity to experience is to feel like they're alone, like I felt. That is why I cannot stay silent. I was placed on this Earth to be visible for those who can't be, to let my voice be heard, to guide those battling the same demons, and to educate those who are clueless about what it is that I am. When someone reaches out to say that because of my openness regarding my transition that they were able to learn, be more open, and understand better, I am reminded this is why I do what I do. I was put here to change lives, no matter how big the impact.
I did not fight tooth and nail to be someone who blends into the background. I did not beat suicide attempts, anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia, eating disorders, the list goes on, to stay silent about who I am authentically. I battled and overcame countless amounts of demons to be here. I've lost friends and family for choosing to live authentically. I sacrifice so much to live as myself, it would be a disgrace and a shame to keep myself in the dark. I am proud of the man I am and the man I'm becoming, why should I dim my light in fear of blinding others? So if all I amount to be in this life is "the transman", I'd say I lived a pretty successful life. I left my mark and my legacy. The "transman" will be remembered far longer than just "a man".
You should never hide yourself away or make yourself appear smaller to accommodate someone else. No two people in the world share the exact same story, and that's what makes each and every one of them beautiful. Every story is different and every story deserves to be heard. Life is far too short to be living as anything other than your authentic self, completely unapologetically. If who you are upsets or intimidates others, you're doing something extremely right. That intimidation and sourness only stems from the jealously of not having the courage to live authentically such as you are. Go show the world just exactly who you are and don't let anyone make you feel like who you are isn't who you should be.