I initially was just going to make a tweet about this concept but decided I wanted to go a bit more in depth on the notion. Here’s the tweet for those who’re interested:
By the time I realized how I felt society had already convinced me it was wrong to feel this way.
— Liz (@quietliz) November 25, 2014
After coming out to my parents one of the things they both asked was what they did to make me feel like I couldn’t have come out sooner. While there are a few things they said/did they weren’t a huge factor, the biggest factor was society. Even the community my parents picked when I was really young would have seemed to be a welcoming place for a trans kid exploring, I mean I played the same way with the boys as I did with the girls in my neighborhood, there was no gender definition in our games there was just fun. That however didn’t carry over outside of playtime, everywhere else there were signs effectively saying “boys do this, girls do this, and that’s how it is”. It also didn’t help I grew up in a time where the examples of a trans person that wasn’t stealth was a joke of a human being or a sexual fetish. On top of that there was the stigma that if you didn’t fit into the “traditional” gender roles then you’d be ridiculed or shunned by society.
So by the time I realized what was going on as I saw it I was left with the choices of becoming a proverbial/literal punching bag or an outcast for not fitting into society’s rigid male gender role. I opted for the third choice try and convince myself that society was right, that based on a doctor’s decision I was indeed a boy and what I felt in my head and heart were wrong. For a long time it sort of worked… I fit in well enough to pass off of as a boy/man, so well I began to hate what I had become even more, I became a lie. The feelings didn’t go away they stayed, no matter how much I tried to bury them it only went so far and I’d lash out because of it.
From everything I’ve read the one thing that’s been consistent with trans people is that eventually they break from living the lie, mine came when I realized I’ve spent my life living a lie and had planned to keep on living the lie but I planned to raise my kids with the freedom to be whomever they want to be, to be honest with themselves. How could I instill those values when I myself wasn’t living them? While I concede parenting involves raising your kids with a bit of hypocrisy this was to a level I don’t find acceptable, and felt would overall be more harmful than good.