What’s It Like To Be The T In LGBTQ➕?
This is an interview with Mina, a Trans woman, who shares her experiences of transitioning – how she dealt with telling people, the prejudice she’s faced and the effect it has had on her mentally and emotionally. She wanted to be open about her experiences to help educate and inspire others.
This interview was originally part of a longer article submitted by a young person on TheSprout.
This article is part of Meic’s LGBTQ+ History Month Campaign – check it out here
This article is also available in Welsh. I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma
LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer history. The + is an inclusive symbol representing people of all identities within the community. If you find words that are new to you in the following blog, like non-binary, intersex etc, then Stonewall have a fantastic Glossary of Terms explaining what each one is with the English and Welsh words listed.
How far into the process did you tell people, and how did you tell them?
It was a day or two after Transgender Day of Rememberance a few years back. I had been reading a lot of online comics written by various Trans artists and found myself getting more and more absorbed into them. Shortly after, I decided to experiment with my appearance and clothing. I had been questioning my identity since I was very young, though I kept it quiet.
I didn’t really tell anyone for a while, believing it was obvious, but I publicly came out as trans like a year or two ago. It was a simple Facebook post saying something along the lines of “Hey, btw, I’m trans lol”. Many friends have been very supportive, I’ve lost some friends though, and at the time of writing this, my family doesn’t know. It’s something I’m trying to build up too.
The friends that have been supportive have really been wonderful to me, some have shared their clothing with me, have given me an ear to talk to, and a shoulder to cry on. In fact, a few weeks ago, a friend had brought me some silicone breast implants for bras. This was really thoughtful of them as a great deal of my dysphoria is in my chest.
Some ‘friends’ however weren’t so kind. Most just left my life without a moment’s notice. Others decided to stick around a while and make light of my feelings and go out of their way to make me feel horrible about myself. Some friends even decided to start sexualising me, sending me sexual messages and such, seeing me as nothing more than an object to fulfil their fetishes.
Do you want to tell your family or parents?
It’s taken many years, and some of my family is just about comfortable with me having long hair, so telling them about my identity as a trans woman seems like a far off dream for now. They have always said they’re happy so long as I am, but they do have their prejudices, whether they’ll admit to it or not. I joked about it with a friend a while ago, saying, “I won’t come out to them, I’ll just wait for them to ask me why I have tits” when I eventually start hormones.
I have tried to ease my mother into it, I often bring up transgender subjects in conversation, trying to gauge her reaction, yet she always seems to change the subject. My father, on the other hand, once saw a picture of me in a dress on my Facebook account and called me up in an angry state, so I guess it is a cross-that-bridge-when-I-come-to-it kind of situation, though I’d like to check the map first. Fortunately though, I don’t rely on my parents as I live with my wife, so at least they can’t throw me out. I truly feel for those who don’t have such a luxury.
Has this changed your relationship with your wife?
I haven’t really noticed any changes in our relationship. She is a sweetheart and is very supportive. We share clothes and makeup, and we’re just like an old married couple. I’m very fortunate to have her.
It is easier that my wife is queer, in my opinion, obviously not to say a heterosexual person couldn’t date a trans person of course. But since we’re both queer, I guess it cuts out any confusion and awkwardness.
When and how did you know that you wanted to transition?
My earliest thoughts of questioning my gender was about age 14. I remember always preferring to hang out with the girls in my school more than the boys, feeling more at home and relating to them more. I would doodle pictures of dresses and what I thought would look pretty in my notebooks.
During my school days, I was very much into the Goth scene, so long hair, leather and panda style makeup. After school, I got more involved in the heavy metal scene and felt pressure to dress manlier than I previously had. Looking back, I wish I never caved in to such pressures and dressed however I damn well pleased. But at least now I know better, and I’m more assertive.
What kind of experience have you had with doctors?
I’ve only had, like, one meeting with a doctor about gender-related stuff, and that was mostly having my blood pressure checked and weight checked. They were nice enough to not reveal my weight, lol. The doctor I had at this meeting with was pretty good. Though, like I said, it’s only been one meeting thus far.
How is it affecting you mentally and emotionally?
There is a lot of hatred for trans people in the world, and sometimes, it really hits you hard. You hear all these news stories of how many trans women are subjected to extreme violence and how people lose their minds at the thought of us using the bathroom. It starts to take its toll, but I have friends and loved ones to lift me up when I’m feeling down. I try to think positively and look forward to what tomorrow brings, but at the same time, I can be quite cynical.
Have you ever experienced an act of hate in public?
I’ve had more than a few people stare at me and laugh under their breath. I remember an older man looking at me on the bus once, and I could clearly hear him say something like “Jesus Christ…” I’ve also had the more classical “Tr***y” slur thrown at me more than once.
I try to ignore it; I’d be lying if I said it really didn’t get to me though. I don’t want things to evolve into a fistfight. I’m a tiny out-of-shape person. Fighting is not something I’m really capable of.
Have you ever regretted or felt unsure of your decision?
I have a lot of regrets in life, and while I do often feel unsafe, being open with myself as a Trans woman is not one of the things I regret.
Although being Trans comes with its struggles, I feel happier with myself than I have in, well, ever. I no longer need to lie to myself. Since coming to terms with my identity, it feels like I’m being honest with myself for once, and it feels like a step in the right direction.
Are there any other parts of your life transitioning has affected?
Having to pretend to not be Trans with family is pretty upsetting. So is going shopping for cute new dresses and realising I’m broke. Not quite as upsetting, but still!
It’s hard to deal with constant misgendering and ‘dead naming’ from my family. I just have to grit my teeth and smile and nod for now. And finding clothes is also a struggle, especially due to a lot of my insecurities, such as my arms. I really don’t like my arms or shoulders, and I’m too insecure about showing any chest, so no cleavage revealing clothes for me until I work out these insecurities.
What advice would you give anyone questioning their gender or considering transitioning?
When it comes down to friends, I’d say bring up the subject and gauge their reaction, it’s hard to say, and a lot of people say it, but friends who don’t support you are not worth your time. Also, try to be patient with your friends. They may love and support you but may mess up a pronoun here and there. Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t call them out on it, but give them time.
When it comes to staying positive and dealing with the negatives, remember that while the world is a dark and scary place, you have people who love you. Like I said, people who don’t support you aren’t worth your time.
Never let anyone tell you who or what you are. Only you get to decide that. Also, get your friends to do your makeup. It’s way cheaper!
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