My Transgender Journey Thus Far
Updated: Apr 4
Like most of my stories. this one starts when I was young. I remember having identity issues since i was quite young.
I grew up in a rural tourist town in South Australia, in a strict abusive household. My mother was a Christian, although she tried to incorporate ‘Vulcanism’ (from Startrek) into her religion (all of my immediate family are a bit.. out there..). In any case, it was not a good environment to grow up in. Anything that was ‘bad’ according to our church (independent baptist), was deemed bad in the household, but only when it came to my brother’s and mine behaviour. I learnt quickly that any questions about gender or sexuality wouldn’t be answered in a non biased way. Topics like Transgender weren’t even heard of back in that town, or at the very least it was kept hush hush.
My identity issues went back to the age of about 3. I didn’t know what it was about who I was that was different, but I knew I didn’t want to be me. Not being able to voice that in that environment, I started behaving like a cat. Preferred crawling, liked high places, meowed a lot, and occasionally stole cat food from the bowl to eat. Some of this may have been because the cat had better treatment then me, but a lot of it was due to my identity confusion. I preferred being a cat to being me because there was a big part of me that felt different and in the eyes of my parents, different was wrong. I was taken to child counselors but they couldn’t figure me out, said it was just a phase that I would grow out of.
This cat like behaviour continued until i was about 14. This was the age of mobile phones. I wasn’t allowed to have a mobile phone of course, but when a school ‘friend’ offered to lend me her spare one I didn’t say no. I kept this phone in secret and made a Facebook profile under a pseudonym. I stopped pretending to be a cat around this time, abuse at home was starting to get worse and my life had to have more of a focus of survival. (I will talk more of my trauma background in cPTSD related blogs)
When I was about 16, I made a friend on Facebook who lives in the UK. She is transgender. When I ‘met’ her she had been struggling with identity and gender. For the sake of privacy, I’ll call her Narla. Narla hadn’t started her transition at this time, but was thinking about it. We talked a lot about her experiences with dysphoria and how they impacted her life. A lot of what she was talking about, I found relatable. I finally had a name for how I had been feeling my whole life.
Dysphoria when talking about gender, means different for each individual with Gender Dysphoria (the medical term). For me it is a sense of displacement in my own body. How I feel on the inside as a person, does not align with how I look on the outside. This means that my physical appearance and biology is not in sync with how I feel. I see breasts on me and feel disgusted. Having them on me feels wrong. When I started going through puberty and they started growing, I was freaking out, I did not want them to grow. Anything that makes me look stereotypically feminine makes me feel sick and super self conscious.
Biological Sex, Gender, and Sexuality Defined
Many people get these three terms confused, this confusion can cause a fair amount of stigma. These three things, are each separate, they do not affect how any of the others play out in each individual. It’s easier if I just define them.
Biological Sex– Commonly shorted to just sex, biological sex is a label assigned to people at birth by doctors based on the genitals that they are born with, and thus is put on their birth certificate. It is worthy to note that someones biological sex is never up for discussion. It is not relevant to you unless you are their doctor.
Gender– Gender refers to one personal sense as one perceives themselves on a scale of feminine to masculine.
Every person identifies with this scale differently. People who identify 100% with the sex they were given at birth, are generally referred to as cisgender, a lot of cisgender people do not like this label, but it is to avoid ‘normal’ and ‘not normal’ being thrown around. Some people identify as somewhere in the middle of this scale, some identify as off the scale, and some identify as the whole scale, and some people feel they fluctuate back and forth on the scale.
There are many labels that have been created for various different gender identities, these can serve to help people place a name to how they feel, and help to find others who feel the same way. Human’s sure do love catagorising things. However is it also ok to not adhere to labels.
Sexuality– Sexuality is about what Gender/s you are attracted to sexually and romantically. There are many different sexualities. Your gender and sex do not have any influence on your sexuality. Some people are attracted to some gender identities only sexually, or only romantically. Romantic and Sexual attraction do not need to align and often do not.
Back to the story
Through my friend Narla, I finally found out what the issue was with my identity, however I was not able to explore this until much, MUCH later. First off, I had to be out of that town and then i had to feel safe enough to come out. This did not happen for a long time. I did move out of that town in 2015, I moved interstate to live with my boyfriend. This person was the love of my life. I hadn’t come out as transgender at this point because when i trying bringing up the LGBT+ community, specifically my sexuality, he was opposed. From there I had to decide between being true to who I was, or to stay with the person i loved most. I chose to try suppress my desires to transition so that I could stay with him.
Every time transitioning came up in my thoughts, I pushed it down. It wasn’t long for it to come back. The more I pushed it away, the stronger it came back. I lasted about three years doing this. It started to impact my mental health negatively, I got worse and worse until suicide was becoming a favourable option.
I contacted my Best Friend, named Kookie (de-identified), she told me that I had to start being true to myself and come out. I knew this was the answer, but i suppose I was searching for another option. First of all I came out to my boyfriend. It did not go well, we fought, a lot. Eventually he settled with the idea and said that he was supportive. Turns out it wasn’t that part of the LGBT+ community he was scared of when it comes to me (at the start of the relationship). He was worried I would break up with him due to a new found sexuality.
After I had made the decision to come out to my BF and he had settled with the idea, I came out to everyone else, starting with Facebook and moving to my social hangouts and other friends. I didn’t need to come out to my family, I hadn’t been in touch with them for eight years due to emancipation. The next thing I did was change my wardrobe and get a haircut. It was difficult finding clothes that fit right due to my body shape.
It didn’t take me all that long to find a name, I wanted to find one that was totally different to my birth name. One that was masculine, but not overly masculine. One that didn’t sound like I had chosen my own name, and that was common, but not too common. My birth name was fairly uncommon and I hated people commenting on that. My middle name I chose something that signifies my growth. I also wanted to change my last name, as I did not want a last name that was tied to people who didn’t care about me at all. I came out to everyone as the new name: Ryan Kai Wells.
On the 1st of April 2017, I went to a transgender specialised GP to inquire about starting hormones. She did an assessment, and decided that because I had been in the mental health system since I was young, that I didn’t need a psychological assessment to start Testosterone (T). I had a blood test on the following Monday, and then started T on the 5th of April 2017. My first injection was done by a nurse who showed me how to do them, after that I was able to do my injections on my own at home.
It was an extremely exciting time for me, I noticed a very slight change in my voice after a week, and after that changes started happening all over the place. Hair – everywhere. Voice – deeper. Fat redistribution – very slow. I am thankful that my menstruation cycle stopped right away, as that was a peak of Dysphoria for me.
My next big thing was my name change, I wanted to get that legalised as quickly as I could so that i could stop having to use my deadname for legal purposes. That process was quite smooth, I had to send all my paper work interstate through post to the state that I was born in.
To get my gender marker changed legally was a bit harder. I am lucky that I was born in South Australia. There the Law states that I need to have been medically transitioning for six months, backed up by a letter from the relevant physician. Having been on T for six months was included in the medically transitioning rule. So I applied. It was slow as the letter from my Dr wasn’t good enough, I had to go back and get one that was to their specifications. It did go through eventually and they sent me my new birth certificate with Male written on it. The reason I say I am lucky I was born in SA is that, if I was born in Queensland, in order to get my gender marker changed I would have had to have had all of the surgeries typically involved with the transition.
To this date I haven’t had any surgeries yet, But I do plan on getting ‘top surgery’ done when I can. The surgeries for FtM Transgender people are generally labeled ‘top surgery’ (chest), and ‘bottom surgery’ (downstairs). These aren’t the names of the surgeries though.
I am very happy with my progress so far. My mental health has been on the rise. Confidence, self esteem, and drive have all improved significantly. There are some people that are against my transition, I have lost friends. But I have gained so much more. I will no longer trade happiness for someone elses approval. I am me, that’s all there is to it.
After All That, How Do I Identify?
Fluid presenting Non-binary. Fluid presenting just means that my outward appearance is sometimes more feminine, and sometimes more masculine. My gender doesn't change, just my presentation does.
Non binary means that I don’t fit the binary, binary being Male and female. I don’t identify as 100% male, or 100% female. I feel about 40:60 F:M.
In this case transmasculine means that I am transitioning to present more masculine.
Feel free to ask any questions. I am open to them, and will answer as best I can.