Angling the camera just right, after thirty or so attempts, I finally take the perfect picture. All other photos which provided evidence of the uncomfortable truth are swiftly deleted from my phone’s photo album. Without hesitation, I immediately share the selfie on an online forum for transgender people. Knowing in my heart, from the other posts that no matter what I shared, I would be safe from negative commentary.
“You look amazing” …. “Wow, even cisgender men will want you!”
The comments stack up, everyone assures me that I not only look like a woman but that if I transition it would be extremely easy for me to pass as a woman.
This was the back end of 2013, I was 25, an adult, but a vulnerable adult with high traits of autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance misuse issues.
Like many, I was captured by the idea that I was less than perfect. The solution to my imperfection was to be laid on a path that would lead to a degree of unimaginable self-destruction, through irreversible surgeries that have turned me into a lifelong medical patient, reliant on synthetic hormones, as well as being under constant supervision for ongoing complications related to the deeply invasive surgery.
This was all in the name of the promised Gender Utopia, where we were all free to be ourselves, express ourselves without boundaries, and celebrate our individuality in an explosion of liberation and autonomy, yet, at the age of 35, almost a decade after embarking on this deeply destructive journey, I’ve come to realize this is not the Gender Utopia we were promised.
The lies live within the language, even seemingly innocuous terms like “Male to Female” (MTF) sell a certainty that one can change their sex through modern medical science. This is why, even in detransition, I do not call myself a Male to Female to Male (MTFTM). The plain truth of the matter is, that I was and will forever be male, and no amount of surgeries or hormones will ever change that reality.
Only upon disconnecting from social media, leaving online trans spaces, and living with the permanency of surgery, was I able to even entertain the idea that this was a terrible mistake, and I had paid an equally terrible price.
This dream that we could be ourselves through surgery and drugs was a group-led psychosis, it ignored objective reality. It obfuscated truth, and through the assistance of mind-altering substances and hormones, we became collectively lost in this idea. Most of us were stoned, drunk, or had some other vice that suspended this irrational belief in mid-air, away from grounded reality.
When that dream shatters, and you find yourself broken into a million pieces, overwhelmed by the destruction all around you, the prospect of rebuilding becomes an insurmountable task. On the sidelines, those who supported you now feel confused and somewhat betrayed. “All that was for nothing?” They ask. The people that walked away and told you this was wrong gleefully mutter “I told you so” and move on.
Hindsight is 20/20, it's easy to look at any past event with a clear lens and with the absence of motivations that ruled your judgement at the time, so I don’t criticize myself, but I do criticize the messages that were being beamed into me. "Be yourself," they say.
By changing everything about you? Your name, appearance, friends, political views, and even your body. How is that finding yourself? This was one of many contradictions that I started to see.
Growing up, I had this idea that men were tough, strong and never showed weakness. And because I was a sensitive boy, who cried at the drop of a hat, gay and affectionate, I rationalized that these were all factors that I was instead a trans woman, not a man.
As I delved deeper into the trans community, I found more of these stereotypes. Trans women would talk about nails, dresses and would paint a rather cringe-worthy caricature of what they thought being a woman was. I didn’t question the conundrum of misogyny in this train of thought, I went along with it because for many of us it was a lived character fantasy.
Later this would evolve to men being able to wear dresses and wear makeup, but ah – it’s non-binary now! Which in itself is another contradiction, we’re telling males they cannot wear a dress or splash a bit of eyeliner on without being anything but a man. That’s not freedom, that’s not liberation, instead it’s restriction and rule setting.
If it truly was about breaking gender stereotypes, we wouldn’t need all these labels and rules that come with them. I try not to get lost too much in the madness, but once you see it plainly, you can’t stop to see the misogyny, misandry, and homophobia that’s rife amongst modern-day LGBTQ activism.
Many of them are intoxicated through the false euphoria of hormones, whether it’s a young woman taking testosterone to stop difficult, uncomfortable periods, all of a sudden finds herself overcome with essentially a steroid, or natural antidepressant and her periods stop. She feels great, for the first few years, then the impacts of testosterone begin catching up and quite severely. Many trans men are plagued with medical issues from taking hormones, and it’s visible, you can see it in their hair, face and the sluggishness of their movements.
On the other side, trans women who take Estrogen will find that their serotonin levels have increased, which is a natural response to Estrogen, resulting in a mild euphoric sense of calm. Picture me, someone with high traits of autism, mental health issues, over encumbered by the urgency of the male sex drive, and all of a sudden I have a way out, an off switch. And for all who medicalize, included in this neat package, is an online community, where all doubts are managed and we all agree, that this is the greatest thing that ever happened, and anyone who opposes us is wrong and even hateful.
Then add in the substance misuse issue, which is overwhelmingly prevalent amongst the trans community. This along with the hormones produces a powerful cocktail that can keep even the most fiercely intelligent individuals anchored in this utopian fantasy.
And we haven’t even gotten onto the affirmation of teachers, medical professionals, and the commercialization of LGBTQ within our media, YouTube and Social media influencers, and many other factors that fuel the utopian dream that has captured us all.
But it’s a lie, and when you peel it back, you see an ugly, decaying, infected wound that’s spreading its way into the minds of the most vulnerable, young children.
How dare they tell children, who are at the beginning of puberty, that feeling unease with their body is a sign they are the wrong sex.
How dare they tell any of us that we are less than perfect and need to be improved.
This is not the gender utopia we were promised, instead, it’s a dystopian nightmare that would make even Orwell wince.