Valerie in her Gilly Suit - In Between & Outside
"I view gender as a fluid thing. Even more so now that I have gone through a transition from being viewed as one gender to another. When I was younger, I felt like gender was this set in stone kind of idea. Not so much anymore. It used to be this thing that really defined people for me. A man or woman had to do this, or couldn’t do this. I don’t really see gender like that anymore. To me, gender is just a label that people use. I don’t see it as a characteristic that defines a person. It’s just a way to describe a person based on what they associate themselves as.
In terms of defining my own gender, I would have to say female. Woman as it were. Sometimes I feel like I don’t fit into a specific gender, but then I always end up coming back to woman. It’s like my home. Even though I say that I don’t see gender, it’s hard to be unaffected by people who do. Someone who is misogynistic, or at least views women as lower than men can make it difficult. Someone who feels like there are certain male only activities can make me question my gender if I am also into them. For example, I like firearms. Some men I know can make me feel bad about that because they feel that guns should be reserved for men.
I started taking estrogen because I felt like it was a necessary action to begin a transition from male to female. Medical requirements for sex reassignment aside, it is something that I have wanted (needed) for a very long time. I remember asking my mother about it when I was younger (10-12 age frame), and questioning what would happen if a boy took female hormones. I asked because I secretly wanted them, but couldn’t get up the courage to ask for them. Back to the question though, I took them because I needed my emotions to get to my “home”. I never felt like a male, and the constant onslaught of male urges and thoughts made my already confusing life more so. It needed to happen, and when I made the decision and commitment to do it, I made it happen.
My transition was years in the making. I mentioned that I had been dropping hints to my mom when I was younger, but I never really brought it up to her. When I was 17, I remember browsing the web and finding blackmarket hormones. I wish that I had the audacity to purchase them then. It would have saved me grief. Anyway, I went to college a year later, and a year after that I started seeing a therapist about it. That went on for a while, and eventually I left because I didn’t feel like I was making progress. He was inexperienced as a therapist, let alone with transgendered students. He was a student, so I don’t want to be harsh, but it wasn’t working for me. I went a little less than a year before I went back and saw a different therapist. What a difference that made. Seeing someone who was experienced with transgendered people was amazing. She knew all the questions that needed to be asked, and how to make me feel better. I know that she changed my life. In any case, the final tipping point was depression and a short stint in a psychiatric ward for suicide watch. I knew that I had to make a change. I have never have, nor will I ever regret taking the transition plunge. Best decision that I have ever made.”