Boy’s Don’t Cry

If you asked me what the hardest film I find to watch is… there would be one immediate answer.

Boy’s Don’t Cry

The true story of Brandon Teena (played by Hilary Swank) who meets a horrible end due to the fact that he was transgender – actually, due to the fact that people could not understand or accept that he was a man. The narrative itself is almost impossible to digest, you have to fight through it, especially towards the end. Now, this could have been a review of the film but strangley enough it’s not the film that I have the problem with.

I thought the film was very good, it’s one of the very few films that covers the topic of transmasculinity (most cover transgender women). It had a great actor at the healm, and a director (Kimberly Peirce) that won a dozen awards for her film (although most credited to Swank’s performance). However, despite the film representing the life of a transgender man in a positive way (in the sense that the audience are positioned to understand him and sympathise with his situation) outside of the film I felt that this understanding fades, especially on Peirce’s part.

The interview I watched: Interview with Kimberly Pierce and Hilary Swank

Throughout this interview Pierce constantly refers to Brandon with female pronouns and when asked what it was about his kind of story that drew her in she replies, “On the deepest level, I was a tomboy as a kid (…) somebody says start acting like a girl, and you just say, what’s that?” I have a great respect for any person, especially in the public eye, resists norms; whether it be gender, race, class etc. There just seems to be such a lack of understanding running throughout this interview (it is just this interview that I am addressing) from a director who put together a film that I connected with passionately as a guy who was born with the wrong set of instruments. A tomboy (according to the dictionary) is a girl who enjoys rough, noisy activities traditionally associated with boys – not a boy who was born in a female body and has to deal with this fact probably for his entire life. I felt disappointed, upset even, that Pierce’s production made me feel understood – that the judgement of transgender people is wrong, and what happened to Brandon Teena was a tragedy, and yet her point of view, or at least the way she articulated herself in this interview made me feel rejected, especially on behalf of Brandon.

To make matters worse, on reading about the true case of Brandon Teena and skimming over the public case films I came across the words…

“Teena is buried in Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska, his headstone inscribed with his birth name and the epitaph daughter, sister, & friend”

Brandon stood for who he truly was and what he believed, and despite losing everything because of it, even in his death he could not be acknowledged as the person he was.

 

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Trying To Find ‘Me’

In my last post, I said there was nothing else for me to say. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be back, at least for a while. Yet, here I am.

For me, being ‘transgender’ is the hardest at uni, especially considering I keep that to myself and no one knows. Sometimes I feel as though I’m keeping this dark secret, but most of the time I think that people don’t need to know what’s in my trousers.

The hardest part I find, is constantly comparing myself to other guys – it gets to an obsessive level. I catch myself looking at what shoes other guys where, if they wear skinny jeans or regular, how they have their hair – sometimes I do it so much I feel as though my head is going to explode. I’m constantly thinking that I’m not like everyone else, that I’m different. If I could click my fingers right now and have anything, it would be to have been born biologically male. There’s nothing wrong with being transgender, I don’t understand why people have a problem with it, but I don’t like being this way. Every time I beat something I’ve been struggling with, I stumble onto a different struggle. Each time I think to myself that I’m comfortable and content, something happens to snap me back to feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.

I try and be authentic, transitioning is all about finding who you are. This is me, but I find myself trying to change things all the time, things about myself, even little things. Like my style, or my writing, or something – it’s like I can’t just stand still and be me, like I’m constantly looking for ways to improve, or be better, I don’t give myself a chance.

 

I Don’t Have Anything To Say

I’ve sat at my computer to type a few words only to delete them almost as quickly as they appeared. I’m suprised that these words have made it.

The problem is, I’m stuck in this constant rut of, I want to write something that means something. You hear a song, you read something, you watch something – and somehow, it connects with you, it makes you feel something that you haven’t felt in a long time, or maybe even, that you’ve never felt before.

Artists, photographers, musicians, writers; they have a way of capturing something in a moment, that means something, maybe to everyone, maybe to one person. When people can’t find the words themselves for a hard time, or a happy time – they look to others, to inspiration, to the movie, song or book that made them feel something; that gave them a tingle somewhere that almost made them consider if the soul was truly real.

I like to be inspired, by all these different forms that I’ve mentioned. Which is why I want to be able to create that same affect, for someone. I have come to the realisation that maybe I just don’t have anything left to say, for this blog at least. In the beginning, my hands moved faster than my thoughts, to record my journey, my transition. Now, when something happens, I find that I have to drag myself to my computer so I can record the next step.

Reading back, the main topic this blog covered was my transition, I guess that’s what it was for. A safe space for me to express what I was thinking or feeling, but everything has a filter, there’s nowhere I can write that I can be one hundred percent honest. Maybe that’s why we look to others, why we repeat the same song that has lyrics which reflects things we are too afraid to say.

I said somewhere that being transgender wasn’t the most interesting thing about me, and I think now that I’m more comfortable with myself and I’ve moved forward with my physical transition that I can focus on what else I’m about. So for now, I will stop writing here. I didn’t have a massive following, but I’m greatful people, even if it was just one person, did read what I had to say. In a time where I felt that no one really understood, there were people who did, and that was invaluable to me at a very difficult time in my life.

Thank you for being my safe space.

Dear Mr President

You’ve done it again, tweeted your worst and caused uncertainty and fear in thousands of individuals across America. Did you stop to think before you pressed the enter button on your phone? Did you think of the soldiers that had been shot at, in your name Mr President? I would take a gamble and say that every single transgender soldier would still take a bullet for you, for America, because they have honour and integrity, something you might take a lesson in.

I’m not an American, or a soldier; you might label me transgender – but if there is one thing I am, if there is one thing that all of those soldiers are; is human, and they should be treated as such, not as second class citizens.

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“Tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail”

There have been various arguments against your reasonings for this decision, comparison to prices of prescription viagara etc. There is just one point that I have to make. These men and women who you would see out of the military, thrown from their livelihood, deserve more than this. If their presence in the military costs ‘tax payers dollars’ then those taxes should continue to be paid – these people are dedicating their lives to the protection of their country, a job that doesn’t come with a comfortable pay check like yours.

For once in your presedential recendency you might take in upon yourself to be a human being.

Fitness

Over the last three years, I’ve tried to ‘get fit’ – I had a burst of loving running for a month or so, 4km every day on the treadmill, I tried lifting small weights in my flat at University (3.5kg max). Every time, I’d say I’ve ran out of inspiration, or I’ve just given up. Sometimes, I would try and exercise and I would just cry, because in the back of my head there was the constant voice telling me that working out was never going to make a difference if I wasn’t on testosterone. I listened to that voice too often, and I would always give up. Even though working out made me feel physically and most importantly, mentally more stable, I let the troubles I was having take over something that was really good for me.

I told myself that when I came home for the summer, I would join the gym, I put it off for two or three weeks, but eventually I joined two friends of mine and we all went together. Since then I’ve been going three to four times a week, and even though I’m only on my third week, it feels different this time – it feels bloody damn good.

Although I pushed myself to go before I had my first T shot, having that injection, at last, has put my mind at ease in a way I can’t explain with words. Without sounding totally stereotypical, I do feel as if a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Now when I go to the gym, and I work out, all I feel is excitement for the changes to come, and determination to better myself.

That’s what I’ve learned the most from going to the gym this summer – it isn’t about how much you can lift, how far you can run; it’s about bettering yourself. The gym allows me to feel better within myself both physically and mentally – I feel stronger as a person, and that is a feeling I’ve sought after for almost three years. 

TESTOSTERONE

Finally, as of Friday 7th July 2017, I am no longer pre-T.

I cannot describe to you the relief I felt from finally, after over 2 years of battling through the NHS and then changing course to private treatment, to be prescribed the wonder liquid that will finally make me outwardly, who I was born to be.

250 mg, 1ml of Sustanon to be injected every 4 weeks.

Just emboldening those words seems too good to be true, like I’m going to wake up from a dream I’ve had too many times to count.

A peculiar feeling I had after having my injection was knowing that this was a life changing thing but feeling exactly the same afterwards – physically that is, mentally I was so relieved, I’ve never been so happy.

I know it’s only been a few days since my shot, but I can’t stop thinking of the exciting changes that are to come, I’m constantly trying to spot something, even a slight development. I recorded a video the night before my shot, and I will be doing recordings every month to see how I’ve progressed.

I’ve also been hitting the gym about 3 times a week, only for 2 weeks so far, but it’s progress and I’ve never felt so motivated.

From here on out it’s onwards and upwards.

Transitioning Has Made Me A Better Person

I think about the person that I used to be, and I feel completely distant from my past self. Humans have an obsession with the idea of self, our worlds truly do revolve around ourselves. It’s no wonder that throughout my transition I’ve constantly been assessing myself, questioning myself and having conversations with myself. During one of my critical theory seminars, the tutor explained that inside the person is a sense of the ‘other’, and that’s how we can talk to ourselves, we simultaneously detach ourselves while remaining attached to give us to capacity to understand various situations and experiences, especially ones that are difficult.

With that in mind, the conversations I have with myself now and completely different to the ones I used to have before. You could put that down to me growing up, I was a teenager then and now I’m an ‘adult’ (although I don’t really feel like one). But I do think that in exploring who I really am, and working towards it I have given myself the breathing room to become a better person.

Transitioning is probably one of the hardest situations that I have ever gone through, and most likely, will every go through. Those hard times I think have sculpted my character, and so I’ve decided that I need to stop dreaming, praying, imagining if I had been born male, in the correct body. The person I am now, wouldn’t exist if my chromosomes were different. Although it would have been a much easier, less stressful lifestyle, one that I am envious of when I see other guys, I wouldn’t be who I am. I dislike many aspects of myself, but if there’s one thing I do like it’s that I always get back up after getting knocked down. In the past, I couldn’t say that for myself, and I wouldn’t want to give that up just to be ‘normal’.