Reclaiming my body.

Since I was 16 and have first heard of the word “trans”, I perhaps thought for over a decade that I may have been one. As hard as I tried to live with the label “butch” or “lesbian”, I felt uncomfortable in women-only spaces. When people addressed me as a man, I felt some kind of gender “euphoria”, til someone “corrected” them and pointed out I was born female.

Twelve years ago today, I went through an event that had people, both inlaws and people who I thought were good friends, humiliated me for my body. I gave birth in a hospital using painkillers, and couldn’t nurse. I was mocked for not giving birth at home, for not forgoing painkillers, for using a male gynecologist instead of one of my female midwife “friends”. When I chose formula because I wasn’t nursing right away, that was mocked! I’ve never felt so ashamed about my body or my life, and thank God haven’t since then. (Bad enough they were putting me through a double dose of conversion therapy, they had to put me through this, too?!)

At this point in my life I considered myself a stone butch. About a year after others shamed me for a body that didn’t work like it “should”. I was throwing myself into work and college to try to avoid the depression. It worked…for a bit .
The only image I could find with me wearing binders, which I wore for about four months before my top surgery in 2016. I luckily knew enough about male physique that I bought a size larger than what the guide on GC2B recommended, allowing for my breasts to look like masculine pecs. This allowed me to breathe easily, maneuver without hindrance, and wear them all day without back or shoulder issues.

Eight years later, or four years ago today, I had top (chest) surgery, to reclaim my body as my own. Yes, I was sore and swollen, and I had everything bandaged. Luckily, I didn’t have drains, which would have caused the major episode of depression I was still enduring at the time to worsen—it was bad enough I wasn’t allowed to shower for two weeks!

Since then I’ve had a botched hysterectomy to count as my bottom surgery; I was lucky to have it in March 2017, about 9 months later. Within 18 months of starting testosterone therapy, my medical transition was complete. The relief of being free from my reproductive organs, even though complications from it ended my chances of getting metoidioplasty, was still nowhere near that as being free of the chest tissue that triggered such depressing dysphoria.

Undergoing gender affirming surgeries is liberating. Even if I did not identify as trans, I’d still get these because I was fine with my body pre-puberty, but have not identified with it since.

Since then, I’ve been free, though I still go to my gynecologist every couple of years to make sure my vaginal health is optimal. More bottom surgery is not an option for me, because for me the complications and risks far outweigh any benefit I could get with a neo-penis. I have felt complete and happy, and found the necessary therapy to live with my vagina.

Not everyone needs to physically transition—I needed to. And it’s been the best thing I’ve ever undergone.

Author: Charlie

I live my life trying to be your everyday guy. Drink—maybe too much?—coffee. Watch hockey. Work to pay the bills. The truth is, there’s one major aspect of me that separates me from most men: I am a transgender man. I am three years post-op, and have never been happier with both my body and my life.

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