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Archive for October, 2008

The Alchemical Boy

(This is a copy of an article I wrote for The Experience Project, re-posted here becaue that website can be a bit flaky).

O nce upon a time there was a little boy born to a mother and father who loved him very much. But there was something wrong. This little boy looked like a little girl. He looked so much like a girl that his mother and father didn’t even know he was a boy. They gave him a little girl’s name, and they dressed him in little girl’s clothes, and gave him little girl’s toys to play with. But as this little boy started to grow up, he preferred to do the things other little boys did at his age. He would tear around the garden, climb trees, ride his bike, play sports with the other boys in the neighbourhood.

Sometimes, because he was playing like a boy, and dressed like a boy, sometimes people would realise he was a boy underneath, but that scared him, because he knew he didn’t have the right parts to be a proper boy, and he knew that his mother and father were very happy to have a little girl, so he would get upset and angry, and tell those people quite forcefully that he was a girl.

As the boy got older, his body began to change, and that confused him, because although he still felt like a boy, he didn’t look like one any more. He decided that he must have been wrong all this time, and he decided to try to be a proper girl.

It didn’t go very well.

He wasn’t a very pretty girl, or a very popular one, in fact he was bullied a lot, especially by the other girls. He had one or two friends who were boys, just like before, and that was mostly okay. Then he noticed that the other girls were getting boyfriends, and it wasn’t anything to do with playing football, and he thought that maybe he ought to get a boyfriend too. That didn’t work too well either, because he wasn’t pretty enough or girly enough for any of the boys to really like him that much.

When the boy was 18 he left home and went to college . As usual he made more friends among the other boys than the girls, but then something unusual happened. While in school he’d had brief relationships before, and had crushes on both girls and other boys, this was different. The boy fell in love .

His partner was a straight guy, so the boy started to believe that he really was a straight girl after all, and that everything could be normal again. Pretty soon the boy and his new partner were living together, and when they left college they bought a house, and then a year later the boy realised he was pregnant.

Actually he was pretty chuffed about that, and so were his mother and father, and his partner. The boy and his partner got married legally, and at the end of the year their daughter was born. It was a difficult time, involving hospitals and surgery and lots of unpleasantness, and the boy decided right there and then, that he wasn’t going to go through all that again, even though he was happy to be a parent, and loved his new baby daughter very much.

His daughter grew up, and she went to school, and the boy found himself mixing with the other mums in the area, but he always felt a bit out of place. More like a dad than a mum. He was always much more comfortable when the subject turned to football, or pubs, or aeroplanes, or music. He didn’t much like gossiping about the other women, or talking about soap operas or celebrities. He’d much rather be down the pub with his mates.

So the years went by and by, and gradually the boy got more and more unhappy with the way he looked, and the way he was. Every time he had a birthday he sensed the years passing by and was getting the distinct feeling that it was getting too late.

Too late for what?

In 2003 he was browsing the internet at random, and he found out.

He found a website about transexuals. Now he’d always known that there were men who felt as though they were women, who had treatment and surgery to make themselves look more female. But this was the first time he’d heard of it happenning the other way round, of people who’s bodies were female, but felt they were male. For the first time in his live, the boy realised what had been wrong all this time.

But the boy had to keep it secret, because he didn’t want to upset his daughter and tell her that her mum was really a man inside. And he also didn’t want to tell his husband because, although the boy was happy to be gay, his husband wasn’t. So he said nothing, but he did start changing some things in his life to make it all more comfortable.

Mainly, he simply gave himself permission to be a man, and to think of himself as a man, and that was like a great weight lifting off his shoulders. He’d never been particularly good at pretending to be a girl, so over the following few years he just stopped bothering to try any more. He started buying all his clothes from menswear stores and he got his long hair cut short (even though he really liked guys with long hair). It would annoy him sometimes though, that when he looked like a boy he looked 19 instead of 39, but it got to be a great feeling of relief when a stranger in the street called him “sir” or “mate” instead of “miss” or “luv”.

At the end of 2006 the boy turned 40, and his daughter 18. He started to realise that he wasn’t getting any younger, and it was getting increasingly difficult to keep on pretending to be a girl, and the feeling of running out of time was getting stronger and stronger. He knew he would have to tell his partner soon, but he was afraid that his partner would leave him and he didn’t want that to happen because the boy loved him very much.

But the boy started contacting other transmen, and asking for some advice, and he started getting to think that maybe it was going to be necessary to take the risk, because he really, really didn’t want to have to be a girl any more.

And that brings us to today. The boy still hasn’t found the courage to come out to his husband, but he’s working on it, and he knows it will be soon.

His name is (or will be, one day) Steve, and this is his journey.

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