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Hi everyone at Transpulse and thanks for having me here. I have a few questions. I'm kind of worried I'm going to blurt a lot out all at once and maybe some of it will be "too much info" so please bear with me...

 

My story so far: I never thought I was anything other than a crossdresser, or at least I didn't let myself think so, until about two weeks ago.

 

As a kid I was fascinated with my mother's clothes and make-up but somehow knew I shouldn't share this secret. I dressed up a couple of times when my parents were out and that was it. I remember having a fantasy about age 10 or 11 that I would dress up and walk out in the street in the small town where I grew up. It was a strong fantasy, but I knew I wouldn't do it. I would have had a reputation forever more.

 

Throughout both primary and high school I experienced recurrent homophobia/transphobia and bullying. On the first day of primary school I had long hair (I'd just moved from a hippy school in Tasmania) and the kids taunted me, asking if I was I a boy or a girl. I got the message and tried to conform, but the bullying continued. In high school I decided not to conform anymore. I dyed my hair and dressed new-romantic/goth/punk and the bullying increased: for about two years almost every day I got threatened for supposedly being gay, though I had passionate crushes on girls and thought I was purely heterosexual.

 

Since then I've had phases of non-conformity to masculine ideals: in my early twenties I went very Bowie-esque for a while and wore women's clothes but never dresses. I was about as androgynous as Prince, say, and still thought I was hetero though I got many come-ons from men. Then in my late-thirties, after a marriage break-up and a period of intense hetero promiscuity, I started to fantasise about both crossdressing and sex with men. For about six months I dressed like a woman and went to gay clubs but still found myself more attracted to women than to the men I met, and apart from a couple of unsatisfactory encounters with men nothing much came of it. It felt good though, and I felt welcomed in the community. But it felt like a dead end. I got married again soon after. This was eight years ago. We had what I thought was a wonderful relationship, including a great sex life, until it ended suddenly about six months ago.

 

SO. The last six months have been intense. At first I wasn't much interested in sex at all, I was too overcome by grief. But after two months I found a place to rent in a new town and got some money and started fantasising about crossdressing. It was a fantasy that had never really gone away: I'd dressed in my wife's clothes sometimes and got very excited until a few years ago, but for various reasons (lack of privacy was one) I stopped. I had started thinking about it again shortly before we broke up though, and suddenly when I was alone it came back with a vengeance. So I dived right in: I spent about $2000 on my dream wardrobe and a pair of prosthetic breasts. But getting dressed up at home in my flat in the provincial small city where I live was not satisfying to me, and pretty soon I started thinking about appearing in public again. As Covid lockdown was ending in Brisbane (my nearest big city) I booked a ticket for a party where I thought I'd be welcomed, bought plane tickets, and waited.

 

About two weeks ago I flew to Brisbane, got dressed up, and attended the party. It sucked. A very small crowd all of whom knew each other and none of whom (unlike in Sydney eight years ago) introduced themselves or made me feel welcome. So I went back to my apartment and wondered what to do. In the back of my mind I'd had a fantasy of meeting a man and maybe having sex with him; it had been a big motivation for me to go to the party but I had played it down as probably just a fantasy. Anyway, in desperation I posted an ad on a personals site and within an hour or so had several admirers all vying to have sex with me. Over the next two nights I vetted them, hoping for someone nice and gentle who could take no for an answer since I still wasn't sure I wanted to go through with it. Anyway, I found someone. We had sex and it was truly amazing, one of the best sexual experiences of my life. And ever since then I have been in deep confusion, wondering who or what I am and who I want to be.

 

I realise that this is a forum about gender and that gender is not the same as sexuality, but I find it hard to separate the two. Part of what was so good about my experience with that man was just how feminine I felt: it was like a different person came out of me, one I don't think I've ever met before. I felt so womanly! And it was beautiful. I spoke in ways I couldn't have spoken as a man. It was so powerful that for a few days there I actually thought of myself as female, before I flew home and knuckled down to being a man again. At first, being a man was deeply distasteful to me: it seemed as if I was wearing drag, wearing a costume, and I think I have been wearing a costume for many years. In fact, I know I learned to cope with macho Australian society by consciously adopting a man's mannerisms and striving to be invisible, just another ordinary bloke. It's a survival skill I developed, and I was glad when I realised I'd nailed it and that I might never have to feel threatened for my gender or sexuality again. So maybe you can imagine how afraid I am now that I realise I may have to throw that persona away! I realised after I returned from Brisbane just how scarred I was by my childhood and how deeply I had suppressed my female self. I cried and cried. I came out to three friends immediately, and told them I thought I was transgender. That felt good, but now I feel kid of embarrassed that I did so. I'm glad I did it though, just so I can't sweep this under the rug and keep it secret.

 

I said I had some questions but I'm not sure what they are. I guess the first one -- which I know nobody can really answer except me -- is what am I? When I got back home I was absolutely sure that I was transgender, but that is a pretty broad term. Do I want to be a woman? No, not exactly, but I am very curious to embark on a journey in which I become progressively more feminine, a journey that might entail hormones and at least some surgery. But I'm equally terrified by the prospect. And I still love my wife and hope to get back together with her! I'm so confused! I kind of envy the people whose posts I have read here who talk about being transgender as if it were a certainty. I'm not certain of anything. I think I must be genderfluid, but since I have spent so much of my life being "a man" I suspect if/when the woman part of me takes over I may want to represent as female for quite some time before I resolve to being both again. I feel as if my female self is so downtrodden she now wants to rise up and take over. But what if I were to take hormones, get surgery, and then realise I wanted to be a man again?

 

I'm confused about the sexual aspect to all this. A big part of why I crave to be more feminine is so that I can keep exploring my sexuality. I feel as if making love in a prosthetic breastplate is going to quickly start to seem ridiculous, but on the other hand the idea of making love with a man as my male self is, so far, totally unappealing. If only I had real breasts, I think, then I could really be the sexual being I want to be. Am I just a fetishist? I thought I was. But that feeling of yearning to be more feminine was so strong. It's worn off a lot now. What is left is a deep, deep loneliness. I plan to get counselling with a trans-specific counsellor but so far have not done so. In the meantime I really don't know what to do. Every night I dream I have a hook-up with a man: a man is coming to my apartment to meet me. Then as I wake up I realise I can't meet any man, I'm not dressed, I am my male self. I feel intense disappointment. I think of how I would look with breasts and how it would be to make love to a man with breasts. Then I think of how it might be to carry those breasts with me at all times, out in society, or bushwalking alone (as I often do), or with my friends and family. I wish I could put them on and take them off again as required! And I like being a man, in some ways. But oh how seductive it is to think of being a woman.

 

One last thing: I'll never be a woman. I don't believe it. I'll never have full surgery. If I follow this path I'll inevitably remain somewhere on the continuum between man and woman. I'll never be one or the other. That's how I feel at the moment.

 

I'm sorry if any of what I've written here is too personal. I haven't found much (if any) talk of sexuality on this forum so far and I wonder if it is a taboo subject. But as I said, I can't disentangle it from gender. Maybe I've made a mistake, Maybe I'm not transgender, just a bisexual man with a fetish. I really don't know. If anyone has any wisdom to share I would be grateful for it.

 

Thanks again for having me here and for reading.

 

x Betty

 

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  • Root Admin
MaryEllen

Hello Betty,

 

Welcome to Transgender Pulse.  Reading through your story, I can't help but think that you would benefit from counseling with a gender therapist.  It's something for you to think about and consider. :)

 

MaryEllen

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Hi Betty, welcome to the forums, it's nice to meet you! Thank you for sharing such a detailed and deeply personal story in your introduction. I'm hopeful you'll find the community here warm and friendly, this is a safe space to ask questions and get support!

 

2 hours ago, Betty K said:

I kind of envy the people whose posts I have read here who talk about being transgender as if it were a certainty. I'm not certain of anything.

It's perfectly okay not to be certain. That was me too, for many years. And even some more years where I was certain, but I didn't act on it out of fear or shame. Reading your post, my main thought is that gender identity and expression don't always fit into binary categories, but rather genderfluid (as you mention) or nonbinary. Maybe that's true for you too, and if so that's perfectly valid. The world is structured in a way to reinforce those binaries, and maybe being binary is "easier" in a sense because of that. But binaries don't work for everyone. I also believe that both identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation as well. People are attracted to men, women, both, or neither. Again, the binaries tend to reinforce certain partner choices, but the truth is far more nuanced than that. As @MaryEllen suggested, connecting with a gender therapist might be a great way for you to express and explore your feelings in all of these areas.

 

I'm so glad you've joined us here at Trans Pulse... looking forward to getting to know you!

 

Love,

~Audrey.

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  • Forum Moderator

Hello @Betty K and welcome to our forum. It’s truly a pleasure to have you here and reading your introduction brought back many memories and thoughts I had along my journey.

 

The question of “What am I” will ultimately be yours to answer. You’re clearly on a journey to find that out. I think you’ll find many of the puzzle pieces here in time as you talk with others who have traveled your path. I am one who has dabbled in many of the same areas you have—presenting alpha male, presenting androgynously, crossdressing, thinking I was gay, thinking I was bisexual, having multiple partners of different sexes, etc.  By the time I reached college age, the only thing I knew about myself was that I was NOT what my friends and family hoped for or wanted me to be...a straight cis male. I believe I was, like you, I was searching desperately for my gender identity and sexual orientation. After 56 years, I finally came to learn and accept where I fit in those spectrums. You may still have some homework left but I’m sure you’ll find a place of comfort and satisfaction.

 

If you’ve done your homework up to this point and feel somewhat comfortable with your spectrums...I congratulate you. I couldn’t have done it without support from people you see here in th forum and with the help of a gender focused therapist. This would seem to be a good next step after perusing these hallways for some of your answers. A good therapist can help you cross all those T’s and dot all those I’s. A good therapist will show you your life from a different perspective and force you to answer some of the hard questions you’ve never asked yourself honestly.

 

3 hours ago, Betty K said:

Part of what was so good about my experience with that man was just how feminine I felt: it was like a different person came out of me, one I don't think I've ever met before. I felt so womanly! And it was beautiful. I spoke in ways I couldn't have spoken as a man. It was so powerful that for a few days there I actually thought of myself as female,

I just want to say one thing about this. IMHO, this is a key part of who YOU are deep down. This is the part of me that I am in full display now. It was the part of me that I kept hidden from the world all these years. I think much of your answers can be found with this seemingly new voice that you’ve kept hidden all these years..you saw a glimpse but it probably goes much deeper than that. I had the same feeling when I was with a man years ago and now my wife knows this is who I am and she makes me feel like a lady because she knows I am that person. I believe re-reading this statement of yours quoted above reveals much about who you may be. I don’t know for sure but when I read this, it sounded so much like my inner being that I thought I’d point it out so you might take a second look at it.

 

Warmest Regards,

Susan R🌷

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Welcome @Betty K

 

Well, not much to add to the great responses you've already had. So I'll just point out 

 

1. Feeling confused, full of doubt and fear is normal, and it is OK. It sucks and it is hard, but it is OK and you'll find your way.

2. Feeling confused doesn't talk about the outcome of your exploration - meaning that being confused doesn't mean that you are genderfluid. You can totally be genderfluid, nonbinary and any other identity, but you confusion is not a sign of that.

3. Reiterate that a gender therapist can help you a great deal and lower your anxiety. It did (does) for me.

4. You are not alone, we can share our experiences and you'll see that what you're going through is very relatable in this community.

5. Congrats - I'm pretty amazed at the amount of exploring you've done. I've certainly not had the guts to do that much without support.

 

So, welcome Betty and looking forward to learning more about you and support you in your journey

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Mx.Drago

Welcome, you're truly a brave soul explorer. Don't worry too much bout the surgery stuff cuz you need to find a good friendly gender therapist first for that journey anyway, as well as funds and an idea of where you're ploting that course after answering those respective questions first. Imagine a scale between male and female(like cold into hot scale), and how you see/feel yourself as a human being on that scale and weither it changes from day to day,and/or doesn't. Keeping a journal of these thoughts would be good, since you seem already well verse with writing details. It will also help when you do find that gender therapist, having a record of how you've been progressing so far on your journey helps define the path you've been on. If you feel more feminine, that doesn't mean you stop liking and/or wanting women, or need to want men. Women like women and some prefer just women, as there are people who like both men and women in separate ways or other varieties. I myself find specific personalities attractive and l'm not so hooked up on the physical packaging, though I do have a wide preference in my strange pansexual manner. I know for myself caution is necessary, due to lack of understanding, but hopefully with more brave explorers we all can open the the world to a better more inclusive prosperous future. Be well, stay safe and once again welcome to the journey. Thank you for sharing your story and joining us. The more the merrier, as we explore we can all help eachother.🤗

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Oh thank you @Susan R, @Gabrieland @Mx.Dragofor your comments and support. I will read again when I have the chance. And yes, Susan, you're right, that really was a deep part of myself that came out. But now that I've been two weeks back in man-world, where has it gone? I don't think I've ever had such an uncanny experience. I feel as close to a genuine split-personality as I ever want to feel.

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Hi @Betty K!  nice to meet you and Welcome!

 

You've already received great advice and encouragement from the other Members so I won't add too much to that, except, Yes, definitely start gender therapy at first opportunity. 

 

Therapy (and this Forum) have been tremendously helpful to me, and I can tell you I relate VERY closely to your back story about your youth/life, desire to crossdress, and the unending anxiety to establish your true self, gender, and sexual identity.

Because of family and career, I had about  30-years of suppressed and closeted feelings until I final came out to my wife as a crossdresser, and then finally understanding that wasn't enough and it didn't fulfill my needs.  Like you I am attracted to women but the idea of being desired by a man (maybe if only to affirm my femininity?) is strong.


Also, it is very normal for gender dsyphoria to go through many up and down cycles.   Ultimately you will find the place you feel most comfortable and the good part is ... there are no Wrong answers for that.

 

btw - we do have some other Members from "Down Under" on the Forum, so I hope you have a chance to meet.

Welcome again❣️  Deep breaths ... one step at a time

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Hi @KayC, and thanks so much for your support. It’s so good just to hear that someone shares my story to a degree. Isn’t this a strange and sad world we live in that these sorts of stories are so taboo? I mean, I’m so grateful things have changed since I was a kid, but I still feel so shy and scared to be me.

 

And thank you too @MaryEllen and @Audrey, I somehow missed your comments earlier. You’ve all been so kind. I’m sorry I have not had the chance to be more engaged: a cis hetero male friend (to whom I’m not ready to come out) has been staying at my apartment since the day I wrote my post, so I have had very little privacy. But yes, don’t worry everyone, I will find a trans counsellor (I have some names) and I will spend more time on this forum. Thank you so much to you all, it really means a lot to me. Xxx

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On 1/11/2021 at 9:21 PM, Betty K said:

It’s so good just to hear that someone shares my story to a degree.

Hi @Betty K!  I'm so happy we could share a similar connection.  I know how important that is, and that you feel you have a community here you can engage openly with.
Much like your introduction, I can vividly remember my first therapy session where everything about my life experiences (from childhood to now, much like yours) just GUSHED out of me.  My poor therapist, she was wildly scribbling notes (Hah! it took another session or two to catch up).
But therapy (and here also, maybe more in PM vs open forum) is such a safe and accepting environment for me.  Its truly soul-searching, self-discovery, and self-acceptance that result.
 

I truly believe you are on the right path, Betty, and wishing you all the best.  We'll all be here to support you and follow you through your journey❤️

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@KayC I agree I am on the right path, I'm just a bit hazy about where it leads! I'm in utter indecision about almost every aspect of my life recently, and though it's partly just the nature of the times we live in I'm sure it's partly that my female and male selves have different ideas about how things should proceed. Every day I make a decision and then change it later on. The only thing I'm clear about is that I need to be more female, but just how to do that I'm not sure.

 

You are such a sweetheart for helping me. Thankyou again ❤️

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