Early signs, realization & my coming out
Most people think that ‘realization’ and ‘coming out’ are one and the same, but they are not. Even better, they are far from the same! After all, you have to discover something (realization) before you can tell it to the world (coming out). Also keep in mind that not everyone can (or dares) to come out after their realization, and I’m not talking about just sexual preferences or identity here.
For me the realization process was extremely long. As already said in my ‘Small introductions’ post two days ago my earliest recollection of not being a ‘real man’ was around ’80s. If was then when there was a news item about the first trans woman was ‘born’ (I still don’t know how else to name the final transition and I think born is a correct word for it) in the USA using legal surgery. It was because of this news item that I started to wonder about my gender identity – until then I knew that I wasn’t the typical ‘manly man’. Sadly because I was too young to bring this feelings into words and the lack of general knowledge on the topic of transgenders in The Netherlands I could not make work of it then ☹
Years went by and I was kept busy. I graduated HAVO, started to work, get a specialized education there and started a career in it. And most of all I dated a women for all the wrong reasons – gender confirmation. But that feeling myself and being ‘off’ kept nagging. I think that was also one of the reasons that my relation with that woman failed in the first place.
A short while after my ex and I parted I met my (now) wife and I didn’t fall for her looks (though she was very pretty at the time), but for her inner self. It was the first time I didn’t get into a ‘straight’ relation because of gender confirmation.
As said, during all those years things kept nagging that I was different, but still I couldn’t put my finger on it. During the second half of the ’90s there were two things though that could have been my first realization though, but then again what was known about transgenders and genderdysforia in The Netherlands that period of time – not overly much.
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Then the first half of this decade three more things started to show as well. The first one was my love for corsetery and wearing corsets myself to get that lovely hourglass shape. I must have had half a dozen corsets since that time until I finally found the two I kept (I sold one of them recently because it was too big for me after loosing over 10kg last year).
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Then the bipolar disorder struck hard and I was diagnosed with it after a suicide attempt (August 2016). As medication I was given valproic acid and as usual I read the information leaflet coming with it (I react badly on medication in general and wanted to know what I might expect as signs). Aside from the ‘regular’ side effects there were reports of male breast growth. Obviously my first thought was not to mind that happening to me.
…but still no lightbulb moment there…
When my bipolar disorder became worst 2 years later (at it’s peak I had 5 mood swings a day 😲) I was prescribed lamotrigine. This medication interacts with the valproic acid boosting each others medical effects (and thus also side effects).
It was early this year that I noticed that my beasts were indeed growing, having a cup A and I was extremely happy and excited. I started to research how I could boost the growth of my breasts using natural estrogen (progesterone) and at first (half February) I started to use fenugreek.
When I found out that fenugreek also contained testosterone (androgen) I picked up the research again and ended up using soy, which contains both progesterone and anti-androgen.
It was half April that I started to wonder about gender identity (FINALLY!) and I had to set things straight for myself. Once again I started with research on gender identity I found half a dozen wikipedia pages about gender identity, terminology and more such things. To make things clear for me I trusted this research to the (digital) paper and cross linked them with my identity feelings. With the wordings from wikipedia I came to the conclusion I was was genderqueer, not realizing that all the wording on wikipedia were wrong and a lot even obsolete! It were other transgenders who told me I was a transgender as well after they had read my thoughts about my own gender identity.
Now that I knew I was transgender one problem remained. How to tell my wife and other people around me that I cared for. I thought they wouldn’t really mind but needed time to adjust, but I was afraid it might cost me my marriage so I gave her the (digital) paper with my thoughts and to my relieve she finally understood some of those ‘odd’ things about me.
I also gave that same piece to my mother and brother and for them nothing really changed, but I expected that already. The only thing my mother was mad about was that I put the label ‘transgender’ on it, but I know her and putting labels on things 😃).
Then it was the turn for my in-laws. My sister in-law already made a remark about transvestite when she saw me in my corset so that was a good opening. For her a lot of pieces of the puzzle fell in place and she accepted me as transgender immediately. My parents in-law are a different matter though. They are pretty conservative and my father in-law is almost 80. They do accept me as transgender, but they asked me not to dress in a skirt or dress for now when we meet one an other so they can get use to the idea.
Last but not least I shared it my two favorite cousins (I come from a very large family and have roughly 25 cousins) – the two I have had the best relation with. all my life. I knew that the one would react positively, but I didn’t realize she would be that positive. Not to mention she immediately acknowledged that she already had the feeling I was transgender – she just didn’t tell me so that I could figure it out myself.
The other one was equally positive, but she didn’t know a lot about transgenders and we talked about it all evening.
The last part of the coming out was to the rest of the world. That’s called the social transition and I’ll write about that on a later day. The picture for this post is taken during the Pride Walk in Amsterdam (try to find me in it – I am really there 😉).