Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I don't know how to start writing this.

I just played dys4ia. It's a cute, succinct, simple game that's mostly autobiography about a transgender woman (the designer of the game) seeking out and going through hormone replacement. It also talks about a fair number of difficult experiences in a "this is hard" kind of way. [I suggest playing it before you keep on reading, if only because it'll have more redeeming value than this post]

After playing it, part of me wanted to say "Fuck this. I started HRT/transitioned while finishing my failure of high school teaching, applying to grad school, being single and all kinds of other shit. And I didn't fucking cry about it."

And sure. Relatively speaking, what the game describes are not monstrous horrors. But that reaction... it's particularly harsh. Especially harsh. It's evidence that there is something more there, deeper that really fucking hurts.

It hurts, but I don't know how to write about it. I don't know how to feel it. Feel it without tears rushing up from the normally-unreachable-depths beneath, feel it without wanting to run away from it in terror. I don't know how to feel how much everything hurts.

It fucking hurts when someone calls me "sir." It hurts when people I've known for years, either friends or family, forget or don't bother to remember my name and pronouns after 1.5 years as Juliet (if they're even still talking to me). It hurts that I pay $70 a week for an hour of getting my face perforated with electric needles to remove my goddamn beard. It hurts that I have to get a letter from my doctor to apply for a passport in my gender. It hurts that my doctor won't proscribe me hormones and no one at UTK wants to try to do routine bloodtests to monitor my levels. It hurts that the only place to get that I can go is incompetent. It hurts that my state's elected officials will, at best, vote against allowing my official documents to reflect my gender identity and, at worst, threaten physical violence against me. It hurts that "gay" is used as a synonym for "LGBT." It hurts that I have to come out to every person I'm romantically interested in and have their ideas about trans people haunt whatever relationship we have. It hurts that I can't shake the feeling that people see me as male. It hurts that I have nightmares where people still think I'm male. It hurts that I have to constantly explain what "cis" means. It hurts that I'm paying tens of thousands of dollars to have a terrifying and invasive surgery which will take me months to recover from to correct what feels like a genetic mistake. It hurts that I'm afraid it won't matter. It hurts that I had to get letters from psychologists with tons of letters behind their names certifying I was insane enough to want this. It hurts that I feel like I'm repulsive not because I'm "ugly" but because I'm "masculine" enough to where I have to say "I think I pass" because I honestly don't know.

It hurts that no one asks. Or that they're so easily deflected on the rare chance they do. It hurts that no one talks about trans people unless I make it an issue. It hurts that I always feel incredibly selfish when I do. It hurts that I don't have a romantic partner to help. That I don't have much of any emotional support to help.

And it hurts that it feels like it's my fault. Because I put on such a convincingly "ok" face and all the myriad of small hurts are swallowed into it. The video game does a great job of demonstrating many of those small hurts. Hurts which, alone, often feel just cutting yourself shaving. But it's one after another after another. And I don't know how to talk about it. I don't have anywhere to talk about it. I don't know what I'd say if I tried to talk about it.

Even this feels like whining. And it probably is. But I don't know, maybe people need to see how much things hurt? Maybe?

I don't know.

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