Born into the wrong body and living a life of sacrifice out of fear and in order to appease others, Transman (as he prefers to be anonymously published as), at the age of 40, makes his transition into the male physique he knew he was meant to be in his entire life.
Born in the Deep South in the 1960s, Transman grew up in an environment that did not allow for liberal thought, let alone open speech and actions “At that time and in that place, no one talked about anything, especially not issues of identity that fell outside the expected gender norms,” Transman told 429Magazine.
Believing he was the only one of his kind until his teens, Transman was liberated through the discovery of Christine Jorgensen’s autobiography in the public library. Even then, for fear of being discovered in his small town and exposed to his parents, he read the book “in little dips” with each visit.
Despite the unearthing of the document and newly attained knowledge, Transman maintained feelings of isolation, as the bulk of information focused on transsexuals transitioning from male to female.
Not until his 20s did he find relevant material on women becoming men. Still, transitioning remained out of his reach, with steep prices and apprehension of disappointment from family and friends.
“So, I pushed the thoughts as far away as I could and tried my hardest to be what everyone kept telling me I was,” Transman explained.
For the bulk of his life, particularly after puberty, he maintained this existence of living internally.
“I felt so disconnected from my physical body, I just went into the internal mode—observing life, but not really participating.”
As the first in his class to have a period, blossoming breasts and hips, Transman assimilated a sense of betrayal by his body.
“It brought so much unwanted attention from boys…I sort of went numb emotionally during puberty,” he said.
He refused to look in the mirror or at himself in photos with the unsettling reflection of curves—an echo of the juxtaposition of how he looked to the world and what he felt he should have developed: “a flat chest and a straight body.”
For this reason, sex was never comfortable due to the disconnect he felt from his body since puberty.
“I didn’t enjoy the reminders of my feminine body; for example, having my breasts touched made me cringe instead of bringing me pleasure. I just went somewhere else in my mind even when I was with someone who was very good at making love. I’ve always had a high libido, but felt so frustrated by my own body that I couldn’t unlock the power of sex and sensuality.”
Delving into the darkness hidden turmoil can bring about, he discussed how “many trans people turn to drugs and alcohol to shut themselves off from this thing they don’t understand about themselves.”
“This is a slow process, so you have to have a lot of patience,” he said. “You may very well lose friends and family in the process, but others will surprise you with their unexpected support along the way.”
Fortunately for Transman, his family was incredibly supportive of their “gender-variant child” with zero negative reactions. He was allowed to exist as he was, until his mother died and his new stepmother imposed hard concepts of femininity.
“Even though my parents had never tried to force me to be something I wasn’t, I still picked up on a vibe that, while it was okay to be a tomboy, it wasn’t okay to talk about my feelings.”
Especially not the notion that Transman felt his body was not his, or the fact that he wanted to grow up to be like his father instead of his mother.
He found his escape through writing as nearly all of his fiction is written from a male perspective. In real life, he has a background in editing and publishing, and taught creative writing and humanities for about 10 years.
“On my blog, my inner self could come to life,” he said.
The Adventures of Transman resulted from a desire to write about the transition, particularly as a parent. He explained that there are many well documented experiences from authors in larger metropolitan areas, but less of the “familial aspect” or those who transition in small towns or rural areas.
“I wanted to add some of that perspective to the larger conversation,” Transman said. “I also thought it might be easier for family and friends to find out things via the blog that they were too shy to ask about directly.”
Through his blog, he is able to divulge information openly and freely. It is arduous expressing to those who have not been in his situation, as much of the time he felt as if he was “watching someone else’s life.”
For instance, the fact that he did not acquire a sense of connectedness with his body while he was pregnant was unfathomable to women.
“I felt like an incubator or an animal that was part of an experiment. It was very surreal and not something I can describe in concrete terms.”
He feels connected to his children and loves them deeply, but does not feel like a mother at all, despite the fact that they used to call him “mom” or “mommy.” Nor does he feel completely like a father.
“We have a bond that goes beyond either traditional role; we are simply and purely part of each other.”
With two boys, one in high school and one that just started elementary school, Transman maintains the role of “parents, guide, nurturer, protector, and provider.”
In regards to the transition, Transman said both kids have handled it well with his eldest in full support when he came out to him, saying, ‘Why would I be upset by this? You’ve raised me and I love you—no matter what.’
“I was really concerned–especially because the oldest was just starting to hit puberty at the time I came out and started my transition,” Transman said. “That’s such a hard time for anybody, but having a parent suddenly announce that they’re changing sexes is a lot to deal with.”
As they are now “going through puberty together,” they even joke about the progress of their mustaches and things of the sort.
The youngest now calls him “dad” in public with the understanding that others may not be as open to the idea of a mom who looks like a dad, while the oldest “gets around the label” with “dude” or speaking to him directly.
“When a third party refers to me as their dad, they both just roll with it,” said Transman. “I think it’s harder for people who knew the family before–they’re never sure what to say and, early on in the transition, our friends asked what they should call me in front of the kids.”
The Adventures of Transman delves more into issues like this, offering insight into everyday challenges that he faces through the transition.
For instance, one of his most recent posts explores dealing with his youngest son sharing with a friend. This in turn led to the friend’s grandmother approaching him, to which he wishes he replied, “I’m also a werewolf.”
It is Transman’s humor paired with intimate insight that provides solace and support for those in similar situations.
“It can be very hard when you’re on this path. Many people don’t have the support they need, so it’s crucial to know they’re not alone,” he states.
“Even if you don’t have someone in your immediate environment who understands and accepts you, there are others like you out there.”
Transman decided to undergo the transition after he divorced his children’s biological father, and became truly independent for the first time in over “a decade.” Realizing he never lived for himself, and lived a life of self-denial in order to satisfy others, he took the plunge.
“So much had changed as far as the information, medical care, and societal attitudes toward transition, that it no longer seemed outside the realm of possibility,” he said.
Still, medical transition is costly, with hormones and surgery at the top of the scale, on top of appointments with specialists and blood work in order to monitor hormonal effects.
Also, each experience is unique to the individual, Transman added.
“There is no one way to do it—some people are completely happy not doing anything to physically or medically transition; some have to go through hormones and surgery and getting every part of their lives in alignment. You have to do what is right for you,” he emphasized.
“Even if one chooses only to transition socially (without medical intervention), there is a big emotional and social cost involved,” said Transman.
Though one positive emotional transformation he has experienced is being comfortable with flirting. While ill at ease in a female body, Transman is now more comfortable “making small talk or cracking a joke.”
“Part of that is getting older and being more confident in general, but a lot of it is from being seen as man. People know how to read me and what I say,” he explained.
As for dating, he has not seen anyone since beginning to transition, nor has he given it much thought or had much time between work and taking care of the family.
“I want to focus on raising my kids for now, helping them get to the next stage in life,” he said. “And… maybe I’m just a big chicken.”
T, it’s certainlyo the contrary, Transman faced his biggest fear in order to take the first step to make a change, and now is reaping the benefits of honesty.
“I feel so much better now than I’ve ever felt. I was very worried about the impact on my children, but in many ways, it’s been a benefit. Because I am happier and more self-confident, it spills over onto them. We’re closer than ever before.”
Additionally, in spite of distress over losing his job, he has received a large amount of support, which leads to what he finds the most interesting—that he feels much more sure of himself than he ever did before.
“While some of that may be the extra testosterone in my system, I think most of it comes from finally getting to be myself all the time and having most of the people I love and care about accept me for who I am.”