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Looking for an Outsider's Perspecitve

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Hello, I am new to the forums. I have found this venue after doing a quick google search for a healthy space to talk with others about my current situation. I am at wits end of where to turn, and if some are willing to help, I am hoping to gain some outside perspectives as to my situation. I deeply apologize for the long post, I just felt the need to give context as to why I have the thoughts I do on the matter.


From a young age I have had to wonder about my gender. Throughout time I have had an issue to some degree of gender dysphoria, but my issue is deciding if my past is the determining factor to it, or if something else is at play.

I am a soon to be 21-year-old born male. I was born very sick and haven’t had much luck with staying healthy since. For a large portion of my childhood I was secluded from outside activities from other children due to the mitigating factor of my health. When I could go out though, the males would laugh at me for sneezing or needing medication so often while the females would rather hug me when I got stressed. Due to this factor, my best friend was a female I still hold dear to my heart today. For the sake of this, I am going to call her Anna.


I grew up in an abusive environment. My mother is an alcoholic who would and still does at times tell me how worthless or how much of a failure I am as a human being. I grew up with two older brothers, both of which are quite older than I so while I spend time with one of them a fair amount now, I didn’t get a chance to when I was young as both had moved out for school. My father, when not having to work, would stick by me and defend me. We would spend a lot of time together and became really close not only as family but as friends. When given the chance we try to take fishing trips and I still help him with contract writing or construction when I am back in my hometown area.


When not in the hospital or bedridden, I would try my best to spend as much time Anna as possible. We would usually end up playing house or trying to reenact Scooby Doo episodes. She was always Daphne and I was always Velma. I always felt I fit Velma’s character better than anyone else on the show as she was clumsy, kind of nerdy, sarcastic, and quite intelligent. Everything I aspired to be aside from the aspect of being clumsy, that just came naturally. Aside from that, we would usually read, play with her dolls, play with Legos, play board games, attempt to do arts and crafts, or watch TV. She would always pick the shows and they would usually be something leaning more feminine such as Totally Spies, Hanna Montana, or Zoey 101. My mother has told me that I used to play dress up while at school with her and would always insist on a pink dress, I don’t remember that though.


My exploration as a child primarily lied in the arts. I would participate in any theatre I could (still do), I began taking piano lessons, and I wanted to become a professional dancer. After the first few days of lessons at a dance studio, I was the only male left amongst the students. This did not bother me as most of my friends by this point were female, and most males still bullied me. The issue was, this bothered my instructor. She would regularly call me names such as “princess” or “little girl.” While stretching, she would have me perform different stretches than the other students, some of which involved injuring my groin. Regularly she would instruct other students to either kick me while dancing, or to berate me for being the only male. When I “misbehaved” by doing things such as crying out in pain or complaining, I would either be locked in a boiler closet or out in an unheated mudroom during the winter in an area that would regularly average negative temperatures. If I said anything to my parents, I would either be hit or harmed by her the next lesson. I eventually complained to my parents that I was uncomfortable there without telling them the true reasons for wanting to leave. This was the beginning of my first-grade year. At this point in my life, I would begin to look in the mirror and say to myself that I hated the way I looked, the way I sounded, and who I was. Shortly after leaving the dance group, I was diagnosed with pneumonia and missed another 3 months of classes and almost lost my life.


Moving forward in time to fifth grade, Anna informed me that her parents were getting a divorce. Due to this, she would be moving away. At that time, she was my only friend. My last birthday party, we had scheduled to have it at the public pool. I invited all my classmates and all others I could think of. She was the only one to come. After she left, it took about a month before I found another friend. One my prior bullies had saw that I was quite sad one time on the playground and invited me to help him defend a snow bank for “king of the hill.” This was the first time I had really participated in anything such as physical play with others my age and soon found out what it was to get in trouble with the teachers. Shortly after that, we became good friends. For the sake of this, I am going to call him Josh.

While in middle school, he hooked me up on my first “date.” In the end, I became friends with the girl. We would regularly talk but eventually things took an awkward turn when she started asking me about if I thought certain boys in our class were cute or not. By this point in my life, I was accused of being gay several times, but I made it quite clear that I wasn’t to anyone who asked. I have no issues with one being gay, I just personally am not. Her friends would also feel comfortable talking about their periods around me and would occasionally slip up and ask me how mine were forgetting I was male. It was quite odd.


In high school I chose to avoid dating. I wanted to focus on music and my studies. By this point I was learning to sing, play the piano, play the saxophones, play the trombone, play the accordion, and several others. I was planning to attend music school and double major in jazz and political science then use my degree to go to law school. Currently, that is still my plan and I am in the works to getting said degrees. My high school years were living hell. Shortly after Josh attempted suicide my freshman year, things went downhill for me. I had personally stopped him, but others had hated me for doing so as many didn’t like Josh. A group of people was formed by one of the girls I had in my friend circle in middle school in order to bully me. Knowing my primary appeal to life was the concern for others and emotions in general, she would find ways to either convince me that I had harmed others by some manner, or that I should harm myself by some manner. Most of the time that involved either attempting to coerce me to self-harm or to kill myself. At the same time my mother at home would regularly tell me how much of a failure I was in life, how worthless I was as an individual, how much she loved me, and yet how much I made her want to kill herself. Lucky for me, my self-worth was so low I knew my life was worth something, but it wasn’t worth enough for me to take or harm. Thankfully, I am still here today.


After leaving for college, things got a lot better. Most of my friends in school were female and/or LGBT+. One of my closest friends to date I met while here at school.

All of this leads me to my issue. As I have moved out for school and am now in my own apartment, I have begun to wonder about my gender. All of my friends that are female have been treated great by my mother. Anna became a part of the family and like a daughter to her. At times this led me to wonder if she would rather have had a female and that is why she abuses me the way she has. When I was younger I would day dream of becoming female and would pretend it was happening in hopes of a happier life. I suffer from a nightmare disorder. Every night I close my eyes I see something more horrific than I ever wish for anyone to experience. One commonality holds between these dreams though, in all of them I am female. I own all female socks, many of them knee highs. Much of my clothing is either pastels or neutral colors. I am starting to look at dresses and skirts online wondering if maybe that is the lifestyle I should try.

My hesitation to doing so is my history and my present situation. I don’t have many friends, and I know that if I were to try to transition or explore and if any of them found out, I would lose many of them. My family on my father’s side would shun me. That is an aspect I really do not wish to have happen. I am Christian and have a great and highly supporting church family and I truly do not know how they would react. I have a feeling it would not be well. And most importantly I do not know if that is truly the path I want to look down in my life. It is different than everything I have ever known, and I do not know if it is one brought on by thoughts of my own making or by pressure and conditioning from my childhood. Again, I apologize for the long the long post. I am just hoping to hear some opinions from some with experience or an outside perspective as… I am scared. I don’t know what to do and I am scared to move forward.




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Welcome to the forums. I too was born with a hyper active immune system that made my body attack itself and keep me bedridden for long periods.  I also experienced an alcoholic parent and my other parent was their co-dependent.  I was the oldest of 5 however.


As you see, your story has its unique parts but you share huge portions of the lives of the rest of us here. 

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Hi Aaron,


Thank you for your introduction. Your experiences have great similarity with many here. I particularly noticed your nightmare disorder. I do wonder if I had that when I was little. However it was then, I have adjusted to things and now just accept that I can dream most anything, however distressing it would be in real life. Also in my experiences (last job in healthcare particularly) I came across many bad situations so learnt to be ready for shocks. I suppose I learnt to control and make use of it. It is something I have to be a bit careful of though as it is easy for me to (almost like narcolepsy) drop into a daydream when reading or listening to a situation and at times so realistically like being there. I find it useful for empathy as it is easier to understand someone (although not always correctly) if you can instantly jump into their body.


Please don't hesitate to join in. There are friendly people here with much experience.



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      Prescript: I just have to type something. Another sleepless night filled with anxiety. I've been so happy to find this site. I wanted to make some coherent, Earth shattering debut... But I'm a mess. You're here. You're what I have. Thank you, and away we go.   Where to start? Too late for that. How to catch up? Maybe. Anyways, here's my thing... I know my gender identity is becoming a bigger issue in my life, every day. I'm trying to find a way to bring understanding and support in to my life. Long short of it, ideally I'm looking for a facility in Canada that can help me out. I'm not sure what kind of resources are available that can help me find my inner voice and conquer the addictions/ psychological aspects. All advice is appreciated. I know it's going to be a long-term journey. I'm ready for the work. Just, how do I start? What piece of the crap pile do I start working on first?  I feel like "I just want to be normal", but it sometimes feels easier riding the wreck currently in progress. However, I want to be a real person again. Whatever that is. I want to have friends and do things. I want to not be in the outside watching the happy people go by. "I want to go home" so to speak. Even though, I've never really had a home or place I felt safe in. But it's a nice thought. One day.   You see I wasn't raised with any freedom to be different. On the contrary there has been a lot of work done on me to suppress and deny my identity for the ease of those around me. Not to dwell on the trauma, but for an idea of what I was put though, things like kneeling on rocks in a hidden room under the stairs with no lights to learn that "ADD is just in my head", or "Youth Groups" at church that focused on "shaming the gay" out of us were common in my life.  Honestly, I ate it up. Mostly because of the biggest catalyst to this cause, my mother and her favorite saying, "You'll never understand a mother's love. I could love you through anything... AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT GAY." Well poop. I didn't want to lose my mother's love, so from an early age I became a master of macho and over compensation. Me gay? No. NO. I LIKE BOOBS. Ya, and trucks and guns, etc. You know the jig. Copy, paste, repeat, here I am on the edge of tomorrow and the mask doesn't fit anymore.  It's just so bloody hard to stop the knee jerk reaction of "being the man" and putting the mask back on. I've buried over my feminine instincts, beaten them down, beaten myself down and when that wasn't good enough, I've given the world at large a pliable floor mat to trod on. It's driving me bonkers. I'm sorry but I've carried a lot of pain and frustration making straight people feel comfortable. What about my comfort? When will, "You're so gay!" not sound like, "I found one, get him!" Will I ever stop feeling like God hates me because I was to weak to stay straight? If this is going to disqualify me from Heaven then why should I care about any law or rule? By my nature, beyond my control, if I'm so repulsive to everyone else, what am I supposed to do all alone? It's nice to wax poetic and romanticize about living cottage life single, but every day, for the rest of my life??? Where can I go that a six foot five, two hundred and thirty pound chunk of mountain man can go around wearing a nice sundress and do a little spin because in his heart he's just a little girl? I have no one to "just be me with". Or even find out who that is.  The last thing my mom said to me was, "Well if you're gonna be gay then just go find a man and love him." The common theme in all our confrontations is "go". No matter what the fight has been over the years, "go" has been the underlying message. I never heard it until recently. I never heard the silent, "and don't come back." Once was all it took. Now, it all makes sense. It broke my heart and stole the wind from my sails. At least "faking it for Mom" gave me a cause. Now, what can I make of what's survived. I wish it were that easy. Sounds simple, "Just go find a man and love him." LoL I wish she knew there is more than "Straight and Gay". I mean, like, what do I do on the days that I feel like a woman who likes women that have man parts too?  I'm assuming you can relate to the rabbit holes of thought that can arise here. Bottom line, I don't have to fake it for Mom anymore. She just plain don't want me in her life if I'm going to be me. I don't care what she thinks anymore, or anyone else for that matter. Or, maybe I still care but I'm ready to carry the pain and go forward. Regardless, as soon as I meet any one new, I'm well down the road of lies and cover stories, trying to present the "just a normal guy" routine before I even notice.  Sometimes it's not from lack of desire to be myself. Often it's just because it is so much work "being a normal queer". At home, I don't have to explain me to me. If I'm girly, I'm girly, if I'm macho, I'm macho. It's all a part of me.  So saying something like, "I'm gay" or "I'm transgender" feels as weird as saying I'm straight or binary. I'm just Claire (the name I chose for the "Her" in me.) If anyone took the time to get to know Claire or Claybourne (my given boy name) they'd know that my sexual identity is only a piece of me. Like how I'm a hiker, or a cook or like to knit. I don't run around saying, "I'm a hiker." I say, Hi, I'm Claybourne. If the conversation goes near the outdoors I might pop in, "I like hiking, I'm a hiker." Whether the other person likes hiking or not isn't a deal breaker to the conversation. Yet it seems like until someone knows your gender and sexual preference they reserve the right to consider your presence in their life. Why is the label such a thing? Why do people with static gender identities not understand how incredibly biased the world is for their benefit. Like, do straight people have to explain, "Well, I have a penis and only like sex in a vagina?" No. Why do I have to have a "briefing session" with everyone to explain concepts that aren't really that complex? Really, it's no one's business. But then, "Oh did you hear Claybourne came out?"  I think the whole coming out thing is a slap in the face to gender diversity. The fact that I had to declare to people, that the boy who was scared to go in to men's bathrooms, who watched more fashion television than a Trekkie binge watching Deep Space Nine on Netflix, who tucked his penis and sat to pee, who was an entirely flamboyant individual HAS GENDER IDENTITY ISSUES. Like, these people obviously knew. They saw in me things they did not like, they literally forced me to be different than my nature and now they want me to walk back in to their lives with a giant sign out for their convenience.  Argh, okay, by now if you're still reading you can see the layers and layers of stuff I have to go through. This whole new movement of freedom for people like me has me feeling I might have a chance. I see queer kids younger than me that have family and friends. I'm jealous. I was taught that we were going to burn in hell and that the mission was to exterminate the deviation known as queer. Here I am, hiding in the middle of no where, trying to limit the offence of my presence on my local world while I see so many queer people with so much in their life. I see queer people on TV crying about how hard their transition is, yet they're holding their mothers hand and their friends are saying spring things.  Did any of them have to serve their captors supper after climbing out of their shame boxes? Why did people I love do this to me? Why did they teach me I'm bad? So I'm done hiding. I came out.  Now it's just me.  Normally I have a never failing positive attitude. Since learning that my mom would rather I just stay gone, my bottom fell out. I always thought there was a reason for me hiding for her. I thought that if I made it easy on her at some point she'd get me back. Like, I could come home and have a family again.  It's not going to happen like that. She chose her man. She loves him. He hates queers. So ya.  I'm not sure what I'm really trying to say here.  Mostly it's another lonely sleepless night here in the middle of nowhere. I know things need to change because I think I'm just waiting to die now. Not that I'm suicidal. I just can't start the circle of faking it again and I have no resources to make a new start. I wanted to be a singer and a dancer. Or a fashion designer or a chef. I ended up doing hard labor jobs like working on oil rigs, digging trenches and making cellphone towers. I've lived on the streets or conditions that would be classified as homeless often. My body is beaten and my Soul is low. I used so much of my being trying to make a man my mother could accept. Between time left and body capabilities, what could I really do? Reading back I see the biggest thing I need are people and a place that I can feel safe as a gender confused person. Living in the middle of an oil patch, in the heart of Redneck Alberta, Canada is not a queer friendly place. The local counselors look at me like I'm the jackpot of cases. That say things like, "you'll be my first transgender client. I've been doing lots of reading and hope I can help." It's like some kind of badge on their resume. Five minutes in to a session I'm consulting them in the small but mysterious bits of queer culture I do have. Like, really? Is there any where I can go that has a history of working with gender issues? Yes, I have addictions issues too. I just feel I've fought the symptom long enough. I need to address the core.  Any help? Please. By the way, this was supposed to be an introduction post, so "Hi. I'm Claire" and Claybourne. I guess. This is my start.  See you soon. 😘
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