The FTM Transgender Funk
It happens. For a variety of reasons. It’s normal. I’d probably call a transgender individual a liar if they denied they ever experienced this. I call it, “transgender funk.”
This funk can be a fleeting low or it could be a full-blown depression. The causes could be any number of things.
I’m currently experiencing one. In a good month, I will experience this funk for only one or two days out of the month. Normally, it is a result of someone refusing to accept my gender identity. But, thanks to the wonderful support of my partner, it is very short-lived.
My current funk is just over a week in the making and is the result of: 1) Having my legal name change finalized; 2) Physical characteristics; 3) Having no power or agency outside of being vocal.
I’m quite reluctant to discuss my current issue. Last time I even attempting to discuss something similar in a public forum, I was brought to tears after being told that my issues are irrelevant because, to paraphrase, “While intersectionality sucks, you choose this.” Because, apparently, I choose to be a trans man in a petite body, and because I’m petite, I’m not allowed to discuss my size because I have something called “skinny person privilege.”
It is scary enough talking about trans issues. If you only knew the amount of mental prep work I have to do before I write about that topic. A whole other level of anxiety creeps in when the issue is compounded by having the balls to mention my size as part of the issue.
TL;DR: I’m 5’4″ and 105 pounds, so I’m not allowed to complain about shit.
Poor me, right? It could be worse, right?
You try living as a man in my body — a petite body that isn’t exactly feminine but isn’t masculine either — and see how well you pass.
Cis men, while reading this post, imagine yourself in my body. You may have some understanding. Cis-women, I’m not sure what to say to you, as you read this post. Lord knows that what I’m about to describe is can already be a nightmare, without some type of gender dysphoria.
So, poor me is in a funk. Despite being worried that someone is going to rip me a new asshole for writing this post, I have a need to do so. Maybe being ripped a new one will help at least one other FTM know they are not alone.
My legal name change was finalized a couple weeks ago. YAY! I no longer have a very feminine name.
But, that brings a different set of issues. All of my ID will still have the letter “F” beside sex/sexe. This is an issue because when I went to government offices with my name change certificate to start the new ID process, the lady at the Service BC office gave me a look when she saw my new name. She also tried to pronounce my new middle name in a way to make it “girly,” and I had to correct her on it.
PRO TIP: If you are unsure about something, like how to pronounce someone’s name, ASK. People seem to do this with relative ease when it comes to last names. Why not do it for all names?
You may be asking yourself, “How do you pronounce a masculine name to make it “girly?” It is one of those things that you know when it is happening to you. I wish I could give you a more concrete answer, but I can’t. However, if you’ve ever been misgendered, you probably have a bit of an idea about this thing people do; sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.
When I went to the Service Canada office, the lady at the reception also had that tone when I told her my name was Jules. She made me repeat it three times, each time doing an almost visible head shake, but even my Aspie brain could see it on her face, in an attempt to clear out her ears because she wasn’t sure if she was hearing me correctly. Then, she made me spell it out twice.
I’m really not looking forward to having to go back to those offices when I get my new birth certificate and finish the process. It was all I could do to refrain from yelling, “Yeah, I have a vagina and I’ve chosen “boy” names for myself. Yes, you are seeing this information correctly. Do you have a fucking problem with that?!”
So, yeah. I now have masculine names in my not quite feminine, but not quite masculine, body, a name attached to the sex/sexe F label. There is nothing I can do to change that. More on that in a bit, but first, expansion on the physical thing.
So, clothes shopping. This has put what would have been only a one or two day funk into a much longer gloom.
The older I get, the more difficult it is to find 1) Clothes that fit my stupid body; and 2) Clothes that are gender-neutral.
Despite having two children, I am the exact same measurements that I was when I stopped growing at 13. You’d think finding clothes that would fit my body would be simple.
You’d be wrong.
If you are in a female body, you are fully aware, that no matter what your body type, female clothing sizes are BOLLOCKS. Shopping in the men’s section isn’t an option because of sizing.
When I was a teenager, I was a size 5. Sizing has changed in such a way that in some stores, even a size 0 — yes, ZERO — is too fucking big for me. WTF IS THAT SHIT!!! It shouldn’t matter what store I go into, I should be able to grab my size and purchase it knowing that it would fit. No way a size 5 will fit in today’s sizes. I’m anywhere from a 0-3, depending on brand. And, as I’ve said, even a 0 can be too big. because FUCK WOMEN’S SIZING!
Seriously, when I was a teen, I never had to try on a pair of slacks before purchasing them. Now, I have no choice.
So regardless if a female is “average” body size, or “plus” size, or “petite,” shopping for clothes is a horrific experience. I don’t know how some ladies enjoy this process.
Now, imagine being a man in a “petite” body having to spend 3 hours, in 9 stores, in 2 counties and 1 town, being forced to look in the women’s section of clothing, in order to find trousers that fit, never mind ones that are are gender-neutral and not a pair of jeans. Just plain slacks. Hell, even if I would wear jeans, that is still the same “mission impossible” that involves uncomfortably going into the women’s change room, and dying a little inside each and every time you look at a pair of slacks and realize: 1) They are too big despite being a size that you could wear if it were a different brand; or 2) The style is flamboyantly feminine and even if size was right, the style is one that just will not do.
The next issue finding gender-neutral clothing. When I was a teen, this was never an issue. I had so many choices. Lots of shirts in gender-neutral colours and cut/style. Lots of slacks in gender-neutral colours and cut/style. Now… Well, I cannot even look at the women’s clothing section without feeling like I’m going to vomit thanks to all the anxiety and other issues that come up when I have to walk into that part of the store, as I look at a sea of bright, feminine colours, mixed with very feminine detailing and cuts.
Then, this weekend, I had to shop for shoes. Two pairs, to be exact, for the wedding.
It took over 6 hours and looking at over 10,000 pairs (not a typo) online to find something appropriate. Even then, one of the pairs of shoes is still too feminine for what I’m comfortable with, but it was the least evil of all the pairs I looked at. Neither pair is close to what I was hoping to find, but I suppose they will have to do.
I really have no choice because, again, men’s shoes are just not made for my feet.
Being transgender makes clothes shopping an experience that can bring me to tears. When I have to spend close to 10 hours in order to find one pair of slacks, and two pairs of shoes, none of which I am completely comfortable with but they have to do… a big part of me dies on the inside, and it is so very difficult to not burst out in tears because I hate my body… well, I hate the world my body lives in.
Then, I get a little envious of other FTM who are able to do something about this, allowing them both to shop in the clothing section of their choice, and change their sex on their ID. You see, I can’t.
I cannot get hormone therapy because I have migraines, I’ve had a stroke and multiple TIAs, I have a bleeding disorder, and I have lupus. So, one of the easiest, for many, solutions to changing physical appearance is not an option for me.
I’ve had a hysterectomy, but only partial. They wouldn’t take my ovaries because of other health issues. So, one of the surgeries required to change sex from F to M… well, I’ve only had it partially done so it doesn’t count.
If I want medical to pay for a mastectomy, I have to go through a horrible process that takes a minimum of two years. Being barely an A-cup… well, that idea bothers me on many levels. My breasts are smaller than a lot of moobs, yet for them to not be seen as breasts, instead of excess fat, I’d have to jump through so many hoops if I don’t want to pay out of pocket.
But even if some magic were to erase the red tape today and I could have my ovaries or breasts removed tomorrow, I can’t have those surgeries because of allergies to medicine and the number of surgeries I’ve had for other things. When I had my hysterectomy, they couldn’t give me a general anesthetic for these reasons. They had to use a sedative. Twice, I became aware during the surgery. Let me tell you, being aware of having your uterus removed through your vagina, and remembering it, is an experience. Another major surgery would have to be performed under sedation and I don’t think I want to risk “coming to” again… because… yeah… it was an experience and we’ll leave that TMI there.
So, I get envious of other FTM who have more options. Then, I get feelings of guilt for having envy, because at least I’m not a transgender person who was born and lives in Quebec, and is seeking a legal name change. Because that process is HELL. Being a person in BC means a very simple and quick process for that.
Then, I learn that I could get my sex marker changed to Male on my Canadian passport, which made me so happy. Why? Because, ever since I was held in US Customs because I packed like a male, but my passport says female, travelling to the US causes even more anxiety than what is normal for me. BUT, then I learned, only if I’m planning one transition surgery within the next year.
Back to hating myself.
Then, I learned that if I was born in Ontario, all I’d need to change my sex marker is “A Letter signed by a practicing physician or psychologist (including a psychological associate) authorized to practice in Canada that includes the statements necessary to support your request (see cover sheet for instructions).“
And the funk sets in even more because I had the misfortune of being born in Manitoba, a province that requires you to have either a full hysterectomy or top surgery, plus letters from physicians, in order to change your sex marker.
Then back to the guilt and the different set of hating myself because, “First world problems” right? Poor me in my poor petite neither feminine nor masculine body, living in a country that, even if work still needs to be done, has a pretty good track record on human rights issues.
Why do I have any right to be upset about this. So, what if I can’t find clothes that I feel comfortable in and that fit. So, what if people will now look at me funny because I have a masculine name with a female sex marker, dressed in clothing that is neither masculine nor feminine. So, what?
“So, what,” is right. After all, some would tell me I’m choosing this heartache.
I think putting up with some of the hate I receive is much easier than trying to find clothes or the new thing of the looks I’ll receive whenever I present my new ID and I’m stuck in this ridiculous body.
I feel down because I have limited power in this situation. I feel down because I’m feeling stupid envy towards other trans people (seriously, this is fucking ridiculous! Because they certainly don’t have it easier than I do, and I really hate myself for feeling this way). I feel down because I have stupid guilt telling me, “The people in your life are right. You have no right or cause to complain.”
It is rare that I hate my body. But, the events of this last week, especially involving trying to find clothes, has reminded me why it has been about seven years since I last purchased slacks and longer for shoes.
If I were slightly heavier (something I can’t control. Believe me, I keep trying) or slightly taller (something else I cannot control), I’d be able to fully cross-dress. With my androgynous facial features, it certainly would make passing easier and perhaps less strange looks when presenting my ID.
I end up hating myself, my body, and feeling really discouraged.
All, when you boil it down, because of the stupid clothes made for my stupid body.