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I'm not sure about myself


Sophie111

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Hi everyone,

 

 

I'm new here, my chosen name is Sophie and I'm AMAB. Sorry for my english, It's not my native language. 

 

I'm writing this because I'm in something like an identity crisis in the couple of months and I really want to know if there is someone who can relate to my story.

 

 

So, I'm 23 years old and I feel different since my childhood. I wasn't really into dolls or anything tipical girly, but I hated boy things, almost everything and all these things gave me anxiety. I hated sports or anything competitive and I loved anything that was calmer or more tender, like drawing, playing cooking or watching fairy tales. As I was getting older, I didn't feel myself as a girl but I didn't specificly felt myself as a boy either. I had friends from both genders, I loved anyone who seemed nice. 

 

The real troubles started in my early teens. I was maybe 11, when I first felt that there is a girly side in me. I didn't want to feel that way, but I can't escape from it, even though I felt ashamed because of it. When my puberty started, I started to atrracted to boys and girls equally, to girls in a more romantic and to boys in a more sexual way. I have the same old story, I started to take my mother's clothes when she wasn't home, and I wore them almost always when I was alone. I really started to live a double life, one was a teen boy whom I seemed to be from outside and the other one was a teenage girl, the one I identified with. I think my mother knew something about this, but she didn't say anything, maybe because she wanted to protect me or didn't want to put me in an emberrasing situation. Later on I only had relationships with girls, and I really loved them, but sadly all of these were disfunctional. I really wanted to be a man next to my love, but somehow I couldn't be. Even though I was hanging around with them, when I went home and I was being alone, I immediately started to fantasize about being a girl. I wanted to run away from this thought, but I couldn't. I started to see myself as something disgusting, a liar, somebody who couldn't be a real man or a real woman. I felt deep shame about the girl clothes I was wearing alone, so I quit crossdressing. I was thinking that the whole transgender thing is a fetish for me. Something that I only enjoyed in a sensual way. Of course it wasn't true, but sometimes I felt some kind of, let's say sexual excitment when I was thinking about as myself as a girl desired by someone else. It really bothers me. I think, that these kind of sexual fantasies make me feel less of a woman. I never told anyone anything about these feelings. I don't feel myself valid a lot of times. I know it's irrational, but I feel that I should be suffer more to be called a trans woman. But on the other hand, I can't hide my feelings from myself. Sometimes it's truly terrible, but on other days it feels managable. A short time ago I started to see men. I only met two, and we had a nice time. I told them what I feel about myself and they were really nice. They treated me as a woman and it felt really nice. But then I got scared. It felt great, even though I was some kind of a fetish object for them, but then I got scared, because I worried about what will other people say if they find this out about me. I was so scared, that I finished these kind of relationships. Since then, I have anxiety attacks, a lot of them. I don't know who I am, I don't know if I'm a male or a female, I really don't know anything, but only one, I feel myself calmer when I think about myself as a girl.

 

That's all, sorry for the length, but I had to write this out.

Is there anyone out there who had the same experience? Or similar? I really hope I get to know some nice girls who can relate to my situation.

Thank you for the reading, I hope you're all  well.

 

Sophie

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Personally I can relate to some elements of your story where others aren't part of my experience. All I can speak of is myself, so I'm not going to try to give you a label. Having said that, I have some thought:

 

1: Sexual orientation and gender identity are not necessarily linked. It can be confusing trying to disentangle sexual attraction, romantic attraction, potential gender-envy, seeking gender identity validation, and so on.

 

For example, I have primarily been in relationships with women. Since embracing my gender identity openly, I slowly came to realize much of my attraction to women was based in gender envy while my repulsion of men was because masculinity was something I had tried and failed to achieve my whole life. Now I consider myself a demi-bisexual. To add an extra layer of complication, I'm sexually interested in men but romantically interested in women. All that is flexible but there's a snapshot of what my feelings tell me after much introspection and experimentation. 

 

2. Internalized transphobia is very real. It held me back from becoming who I truly am for far too long. And, truth be told, transitioning has impacted nearly every part of my life in a major way. But I can sincerely say I've never loved myself more.

 

3. One need not be solely "male" or "female". Early on, I sought out a local LGBTQ+ group that met once a month where I was able to meet amazing gender-expansive folx. I can't overstate how helpful it was realizing how many of us are out there, each with their own unique sense of identity.

 

4. Seeking help and support is ok. There are a few close friends that have stood by me through my journey. I doubt I'd have had the courage to do it alone. I used to get so flustered any time I went out dressed the way I like to dress or stumbled through learning to wear makeup. With guidance, encouragement, and A LOT of patience, I'm now able to present authentically full-time. I've also found it invaluable to work with a therapist I feel comfortable speaking openly with.

 

5. Watch/read/listen to experiences. This site has a lot of amazing personal experiences to draw from.

YouTube is also a useful resource. I would recommend Contrapoints and Philosophy Tube to start.

Check out some relevant books. My favorite so far is "Uncomfortable Labels" by Laura Kate Dale. I was reading an autobiography so relatable, she could have been writing about my own life. Simply amazing! The point being, if you struggle with discovering yourself internally, identifying yourself in someone else is another strategy.

 

Goodness. That was a lot. Hopefully you can find something useful in all that stream-of-consciousness rambling. Final note, give yourself some grace. What you feel isn't wrong. And the funny thing is, once I think I've discovered who I am, I am changed because of it. Life's a journey. :)

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Hi Sophie, nice to meet you. Thank you for sharing your story and welcome to TransPulse.

 

On 10/24/2023 at 7:39 AM, Sophie111 said:

I was thinking that the whole transgender thing is a fetish for me. Something that I only enjoyed in a sensual way. Of course it wasn't true, but sometimes I felt some kind of, let's say sexual excitment when I was thinking about as myself as a girl desired by someone else. It really bothers me. I think, that these kind of sexual fantasies make me feel less of a woman.

 

I hope you really don't believe this, because it is not a fair or accurate thing to believe. It is totally natural to feel sexual excitement at the thought of yourself as a woman, and it is something that most trans women have experienced. The trans writer Julia Serrano has a name for such fantasies; she calls them "female embodiment fantasies", or "FEF"s. She makes the point that cis women experience very similar feelings, as has been demonstrated in psychological studies, and I know that every cis woman I have discussed the topic with agrees. She also points out that trans women mostly experience FEFs before transitioning, and that FEFs generally subside as they progress with their transitions. I know this was true for me. I think of FEFs as much like what a teenage cis girl might feel on first glimpsing a picture of herself as a grown woman. In my opinion the stigma surrounding FEFs has done huge harm to trans women. I urge you to accept and embrace such fantasies as a healthy and natural part of your sexuality.

 

Here is Serrano discussing the topic if you're interested: https://juliaserano.medium.com/making-sense-of-autogynephilia-debates-73d9051e88d3

 

On 10/24/2023 at 7:39 AM, Sophie111 said:

A short time ago I started to see men. I only met two, and we had a nice time. I told them what I feel about myself and they were really nice. They treated me as a woman and it felt really nice. But then I got scared. It felt great, even though I was some kind of a fetish object for them, but then I got scared, because I worried about what will other people say if they find this out about me.

 

This sounds very familiar. I really enjoyed my first sexual experiences with men too, though in time I became distressed by the fetishisation. I am now waiting to meet someone who can simply treat me as a person, a person who happens to be trans. I'll be honest, it may be a long wait. I understand Hungary is more conservative than Australia w/r/t LGBTQ topics, but in my experience people have been widely accepting and certainly no-one has disparaged me for being attracted to men.

 

53 minutes ago, Liz-Liz said:

One need not be solely "male" or "female".

 

I wholeheartedly agree. I do not consider myself either. I am transfeminine, meaning I am AMAB but more feminine than masculine. But I seem to be moving along that spectrum gradually. Maybe one day I will think of myself as a woman. My birth certificate says "female", but that is a compromise, designed to make cis people in power understand I am feminine.

 

Sophie, again, nice to meet you, and I hope you will continue seeking support. You do not need to suffer any more to be a legitimate trans woman. That is a toxic myth. The suffering comes when we deny ourselves. The longer you do so, the more you suffer.

 

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Hi Sophie,

 

Yes I felt that same way for about 20 years and refused to feel that way even though I felt it. Ever since I came out I don't feel stressful as much. I still have gender dysphoria really bad but hopefully it won't be bad when I have SRS (bottom surgery). I have plans for a lot more surgeries because I want to appear as feminine as possible. It's normal to go through what you are going through. It's really tough but take your time and seek a gender therapist. I don't think there is one psychiatrist here so all we can do is give our own opinion. Take care!

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On 10/27/2023 at 1:22 PM, Betty K said:

She makes the point that cis women experience very similar feelings, as has been demonstrated in psychological studies, and I know that every cis woman I have discussed the topic with agrees. She also points out that trans women mostly experience FEFs before transitioning, and that FEFs generally subside as they progress with their transitions. I know this was true for me.

Oh, I didn't know that! So, it's a usual feeling. And were these feelings bothering you at that time? I feel myself so much better, after I read what you wrote. I'm gonna read the Julia Serrano article! :)

 

On 10/27/2023 at 1:22 PM, Betty K said:

This sounds very familiar. I really enjoyed my first sexual experiences with men too, though in time I became distressed by the fetishisation. I am now waiting to meet someone who can simply treat me as a person, a person who happens to be trans. I'll be honest, it may be a long wait. I understand Hungary is more conservative than Australia w/r/t LGBTQ topics, but in my experience people have been widely accepting and certainly no-one has disparaged me for being attracted to men.

I really hope you'll find that person one day! I think to find a nice man isn't the hardest part, to find a man who admits to others that he is dating a trans girl, as you said, someone who loves you for who you are is the though part. Transness for me isn't my most important characteristic, but a very important part of myself, even if I'm only in the questioning phase. I mean, I don't know, sometimes I just feel that I don't want to accept the facts and It's easier to say that I'm questioning. 

Yes, Hungary is really conservative in that kind of sense. We haven't got any transgender role models, we never speak about sexuality or gender, I think a lot of people are in the closet here. But honestly, I think I have enough courage to deal with others, sometimes I'm afraid, but overall I think I would be safe. (And imagine hungarian language doesn't have any pronouns, we never say "he" or "she" we only use "Ő" in both case.)

On 10/27/2023 at 1:22 PM, Betty K said:

I wholeheartedly agree. I do not consider myself either. I am transfeminine, meaning I am AMAB but more feminine than masculine. But I seem to be moving along that spectrum gradually. Maybe one day I will think of myself as a woman. My birth certificate says "female", but that is a compromise, designed to make cis people in power understand I am feminine.

I understand that, these are complicated feelings, sometimes it's pretty hard to understand yourself, of course, It's even harder to explain it to others. That's why I'm really glad that you wrote to me. Did you have any transgender girlfriends before you came out? Or did you do the whole by just yourself?

 

On 10/27/2023 at 1:25 PM, Betty K said:

Oh, also, LizLiz mentioned Contrapoints. I second that suggestion. Contra has a video on that topic Julia Serrano discusses too. Contra is smart and hilarious. The most fun you can have while contemplating transphobia.

Oh thanks, I heard a lot about Contrapoints! She seems so smart, I'm gonna watch the episode!

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On 10/27/2023 at 2:05 PM, Ashley0616 said:

Yes I felt that same way for about 20 years and refused to feel that way even though I felt it.

You had all these anxiety attacks? I was even on antidepressants but they didn't work for me. 

 

On 10/27/2023 at 2:05 PM, Ashley0616 said:

I have plans for a lot more surgeries because I want to appear as feminine as possible.

I know you have to meet yourself, but I want you to know, that when I'm looking at your profile picture, I see a feminine woman!

 

On 10/27/2023 at 2:05 PM, Ashley0616 said:

It's normal to go through what you are going through. It's really tough but take your time and seek a gender therapist.

Thank you, It means a lot a to me, that you write this. It's good to know, that you're not alone. Have you ever felt that you're alone with your gender anxiety? (I don't think we have a gender therapist in Hungary, but I'll check) 

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On 10/27/2023 at 12:24 PM, Liz-Liz said:

For example, I have primarily been in relationships with women. Since embracing my gender identity openly, I slowly came to realize much of my attraction to women was based in gender envy while my repulsion of men was because masculinity was something I had tried and failed to achieve my whole life.

Hi Liz, nice to meet you :) 

This is something thet I can relate to very much. I felt a lot of gender envy in my life, I just didn't know how to say that. Sometimes I'm attracted to a girl only because I want to be her. Does that make any sense? 

 

On 10/27/2023 at 12:24 PM, Liz-Liz said:

And, truth be told, transitioning has impacted nearly every part of my life in a major way. But I can sincerely say I've never loved myself more.

I'm really happy for you! Was it a long road? 

 

On 10/27/2023 at 12:24 PM, Liz-Liz said:

Seeking help and support is ok. There are a few close friends that have stood by me through my journey. I doubt I'd have had the courage to do it alone.

I see, that's the reason why I'm here. Get to know some people from "this kind of world", because even though most of my friends would be supportive if I come out, they don't know anything about all the stuff we're talking about. Did you have any friends at that time, who fully understood your situation?

 

On 10/27/2023 at 12:24 PM, Liz-Liz said:

Goodness. That was a lot. Hopefully you can find something useful in all that stream-of-consciousness rambling. Final note, give yourself some grace. What you feel isn't wrong. And the funny thing is, once I think I've discovered who I am, I am changed because of it. Life's a journey. :)

Thank you for your honesty and generosity! I hope you're journey goes well! :)

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On 10/27/2023 at 1:22 PM, Betty K said:

You do not need to suffer any more to be a legitimate trans woman.

I promised myself that I won't be too sentimental, but I want you to know that this sentence a little bit made me cry. Means a lot to me, thank you!

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Hi, Sophie, and welcome to TGP! You already met some of the amazing people here - so many have walked this path before and can help us find our way. It is, for each of us, a path of discovery that is different. We are all unique,,but we share many of the same uncertainties, feelings, fears and hopes.

 

I am only 10 months into my own process of discovery so I can't offer much in the way of advice.

 

If I could say one thing for you to take to heart, love yourself.  

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2 minutes ago, April Marie said:

Hi, Sophie, and welcome to TGP! You already met some of the amazing people here - so many have walked this path before and can help us find our way. It is, for each of us, a path of discovery that is different. We are all unique,,but we share many of the same uncertainties, feelings, fears and hopes.

 

I am only 10 months into my own process of discovery so I can't offer much in the way of advice.

 

If I could say one thing for you to take to heart, love yourself.  

Sometimes it's hard to love myself because of all the existential chaos in me, but i'm trying, thank you. I hope you process is going well, you are so nice :)

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48 minutes ago, Sophie111 said:

Sometimes it's hard to love myself because of all the existential chaos in me, but i'm trying, thank you. I hope you process is going well, you are so nice :)

What you are feeling is not unusual, Sophie. I struggle often with self-love, too. The dysphoria, for me, fills my mind with doubts that I struggle to overcome. Working with my therapist helped me to control it to a large degree, though, which gives me many more good days than bad ones. I am a work in progress. 🙂

 

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12 hours ago, Sophie111 said:

I promised myself that I won't be too sentimental, but I want you to know that this sentence a little bit made me cry. Means a lot to me, thank you!

 

Oh, that's sweet. But don't worry about being "sentimental", please! I cry so often these days. I always was a crybaby, but HRT exaggerated that tendency and I just don't care any more who sees me (unless I'm at work). Emotions are so valuable; I don't think it helps to try to suppress them.

 

12 hours ago, Sophie111 said:

And were these feelings bothering you at that time?

 

At the time I was most prone to female embodiment fantasies I was very much in the closet, but had just found the courage to start going out to nightclubs as my feminine self. It's not so much that the feelings bothered me, but they enabled me to avoid the truth about my gender identity by explaining it away as a fetish. Whenever anyone mistook me for trans I would defensively say I was "just a crossdresser". Eventually, I began seriously considering transition, but this was in 2012 and I was too scared and ignorant since trans people were not so visible then. So I told myself again that it was just a fetish and went back in the closet for another eight years. I have heard similar stories from other trans women who bought the fetish narrative, and they feel the same regrets I do.

 

13 hours ago, Sophie111 said:

Yes, Hungary is really conservative in that kind of sense. We haven't got any transgender role models, we never speak about sexuality or gender, I think a lot of people are in the closet here. But honestly, I think I have enough courage to deal with others, sometimes I'm afraid, but overall I think I would be safe. (And imagine hungarian language doesn't have any pronouns, we never say "he" or "she" we only use "Ő" in both case.)

 

That is fascinating about the lack of pronouns. The rest of it sounds terrible though. I am impressed that you have enough courage to seriously consider transitioning in that culture.

 

13 hours ago, Sophie111 said:

Did you have any transgender girlfriends before you came out? Or did you do the whole by just yourself?

 

At first the only trans people I knew were online, mostly here at TransPulse. But about 18 months ago I started attending a monthly trans support group and met friends there. These days I am also pretty involved in the queer social scene and I know many trans people. I also work with trans young people. I feel blessed.

 

13 hours ago, Sophie111 said:

to find a man who admits to others that he is dating a trans girl

 

Yep, that's the hard part. I find that men under 35-40 aren't so bad in this respect. But 40 and above? Almost all of them are severely repressed.

 

Sophie, to be completely honest with you, the topics you bring up are controversial to some extent. The female embodiment fantasies, and the question of whether you need suffer a certain level of dysphoria -- these topics are still argued to this day even within the trans community. Imho those arguing for these things (that FEFs are a fetish and that dysphoria is the only true measure of transness) are on the wrong side of history and generally motivated by a desire to define their form of transness as the only true transness. But you should know those arguments are out there and that nothing I (or even someone like Julia Serrano) says is set in stone. One thing that has helped me hugely is reading a lot: Susan Stryker's Transgender History is another great place to start. 

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3 minutes ago, Betty K said:

Whenever anyone mistook me for trans I would defensively say I was "just a crossdresser".

 

I should have said whenever someone "mistook" me. But that's how it felt at the time, as if they were making a false presumption -- or so I told myself.

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Hi @Sophie111!  Nice to meet you and I am just now catching up on this thread.

Like others here I also connect with your Journey, specially the early feelings in our youth, the guilt and repression, and concerns over the sexualization of our gender dysphoria.
I agree with what @BettyK and others told you.  My experience has been similar - my concerns with what I saw as an obsession with my crossdressing sexuality slowing started to fade as I made more progress in my transition.  Therapy helped keep me stable but it wasn’t until I started HRT that I could finally breakaway from that feeling.  
I would still like to have relationships - intimate and physical, but mostly now is that I desire emotional connection.  That is definitely a parting with my old ‘man-ways’ and the gender infatuations I had before.

So, I hope you can feel some confidence that if you are able to make progress (even slowly) that you will gain both experience and confidence in your Self-Acceptance, and Self-Worth.

I am wishing you all the best!

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