15 January 2005

Interview with a dyke fag!

AH: Hey Jesse, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed! I’m hoping you’ll have some good stories to tell us about your experience with your own sexual identity and gender identity.
J: No problem, ask away!
AH: So, I guess we should first start with who you are. Want to give us a few quick descriptors?
J: Sure. I could be described as queer or gay, though I also use the word “fag”. I’m 25-years old. I’m a student, doing my Masters at university. Just your average, run of the mill dork.
AH: So, can you tell us about when you first came out?
J: Sure. I think I was about 7 or 8 years old when I started to realise that I was “different”, though I couldn’t quite articulate how, or why. Oh, I should also say that I was born female. Jessica. That was me. Anyway, my parents had gay and lesbian friends, so I was kind of aware of gay women – lesbians – and I saw these women who were “butch”. I didn’t know anything about gender identity, but I knew I didn’t fit in with the girls in my class, and I knew I liked how the boys all played and goofed off together. But I wasn’t really welcome to play with them, because I was kinda an outsider. So I realised that the way for me to be closest to a boy was to be a butch lesbian. A couple years later I was still thinking that way, and realised that if I were to be a butch dyke, I had to like girls. So I ignored my little crushes on boys, and threw myself in to the role of “butch dyke.”
AH: So you first came out as a butch dyke. But you just told us that you’re a fag now. How does that work?
J: Well, it took a while to work out everything out. I was out in high school as a dyke, and dated girls. I was accepted as “Jessica, the dyke” at school, and had friends. But I still didn’t feel like a girl. I didn’t really relate to my female classmates. But I didn’t relate to my male classmates either, really. (In retrospect, I think it’s maybe because they were all straight.) But anyway, one day in Biology class, our teacher had a male-to-female transsexual come in to talk to us about transsexuality. As she talked to us, I felt I could really understand what she was talking about. But she never mentioned that female-to-male transsexuals existed. So I secretly started doing research. I went to the public library and read through as many books as I could on transsexuals and the psychological diagnosis of “gender identity disorder”. I knew that was me. Finally, I knew why I didn’t fit in.
AH: So did you come out at that point?
J: No! I was kind of scared by the knowledge. So I tried to figure out how to get rid of that part of me, the male/transsexual part. I put myself in straight, conservative, “normal”, settings, in hopes that I’d have to learn how to play the part of a normal girl. But it didn’t really work. And I just ended up getting really depressed, and eventually I was suicidal. So I knew I had to be true to myself, and deal with being a transsexual.
AH: What did you do?
J: I went to my family doctor, whom I trusted, and told her I thought I was a transsexual. She told me she didn’t have any knowledge about transsexuals, but she said she’d figure out how to help me. She eventually got me an appointment to see a psychiatrist at the “gender clinic” in my city. It was great. I went in, talked a bit with the psychiatrist, and she kept nodding her head. she understood me. She didn’t think all of my thoughts were insane. It was great to know I wasn’t crazy or something. Anyway, from there I was able to access hormone therapy (I was prescribed testosterone) and eventually surgeries (I had a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy). I legally changed me name to Jesse, and after having surgeries I was able to legally change my sex to “male”.
AH: So you were done then?
J: Not quite. I still came out as gay, and stopped dating girls after I finished transitioning to male. Because I felt more comfortable with who I was, inside and out, I felt comfortable enough to stop ignoring my crushes on boys. I was able to be the gay boy that I had always been inside.
AH: Wow! From dyke to fag! Couldn’t you have dated guys when you were a girl?
J: No, I don’t think I could have. See, I wasn’t a straight girl. I wasn’t a girl. Yes, I always liked guys. But I didn’t want to be with them as a girl. I wanted to be with them as another guy. Yeah, it’s kinda weird, I know, but I’m happy and it feels right.
AH: If it works for you, it’s right. Did you have support of your family and friends?
J: At first, not really. My family wasn’t very understanding at first. They stopped talking to me for many months. But eventually, they came to me and we talked. I tried to be honest with them, and answer their questions. I think because they’d only known “transsexual” to be the “freaks on Jerry Springer” they had a lot of misinformation about who I was. So I talked to them, explained things, and tried to be patient with them. At first they had a hard time calling me Jesse, and using male pronouns, and calling me their son. But now? It’s not a problem. I think they just had to realise that I’m still the same mind, soul, heart. And I had to be patient while they dealt with the fact that the little girl they knew wasn’t going to grow up and get married and have a family. But they know I’m a good guy, and they’re okay with that. As for friends, I came out as a transsexual when I was 18. So I still had most of my friends from high school. And though they were okay with me as a dyke, they couldn’t handle me as a female-to-male transsexual. Most of my friends dropped me. But I’m still friends with a couple of them, even now. And of course I’ve made new friends along the way.
AH: Thanks, Jesse. I hope this will help show that sexuality and gender can be separate, and that it’s confusing to figure one out, while trying to figure out the other.
J: It totally is. Just remember: gender and sexuality are separate. You can be any gender and any sexuality.