Anonymous said: I'm apprehensive that when I come out to my mother, she'll think it's just a phase because she, herself, wanted to be a man until her early 20s when she met my father. This causes me to wonder how I can be sure I won't get over wanting to be male.. Do you have any advice for that?
Honestly? You can’t be sure. No one can. I still can’t be 100% sure I won’t wake up tomorrow and realise I want to go back to being a woman. I’m pretty sure because it hasn’t happened yet and when I consider it I get vaguely nauseous, but I also went from perfectly content denial to “holy crap I can do that?” in about ten minutes. It’s possible that one day I’ll feel the same way about being a woman.
That doesn’t mean coming out and/or transitioning is a bad idea. It just means it’s one we need to look at carefully. Your mother needs to know that you have thought about this and you do know that there’s a chance (however small that chance may be) you’ll want to be a woman again at some point. Have a contingency plan. At each point know what you’ll do if you realise you changed your mind/want to go back/whatever phrasing works for you. Growing hair out and/or switching back to clothes from the women’s section are easy enough. Legal name changes cost a bit of money, but are also a relatively simple process. Plenty of people take T for a short time then stop. There’s electrolysis for beards, vocal coaching if your voice has dropped into an undeniably male register, muscle and fat will go back to female proportions with time. Breast reconstruction is expensive, but possible. Until you get into the lower half of your body (hysto, genital surgery) you can reverse things if you want to go back to being a woman. It’s not a simple process — not any more than transitioning in the first place is — and you’ll never look the way you would have if you hadn’t transitioned, but people have done it.
You don’t have to consider transition an all or nothing situation either. I still make it a point to ask myself if I’m sure I want to stay on T every single time I do my shot. You can go on T for a short time then stop, you can do T and not top, you can do top and not T, you can decide to stick with non-medical forms of transition like binding and exercise to create a more masculine shape, it doesn’t have to be T then top then hysto then bottom without ever looking back. Maybe you want to hold off on medical stuff for a few years to see how you feel then go slowly. Maybe you want to jump right in and worry about “being wrong” only if it happens. Those are all perfectly valid decisions that only you can make. But you have to make them so that your mother knows that you have a plan.
It can’t look like you’re just jumping blindly into this because of hormones or Tumblr or media or something. Remember, she’s not in your head. She doesn’t know how or why you came to this conclusion. For all she knows it’s some sort of strange combination of crushing on a gay boy and feeling like you make an ugly girl and thinking being a boy is easier. To most people trans guys sound like a variation on what plenty of cis women in their teens and 20s feel thanks to social pressure to be a million things at once. You’re going to have to be able to explain why it’s different. For me it was the intense desire to have a penis. Very awkward conversation topic, but I was pretty sure most young women didn’t want penises. For you it might be shaving or imagining yourself in the future as a father rather than a mother or any number of things that honestly will probably make your mother a bit uncomfortable, but are important for her to know so that she understands a little better.
Also…expect to have the conversation a few times. I know, it’s awkward and often painful, but you’re not exactly talking about wanting to become an astronaut here. It’s a big deal, especially to parents. The average person isn’t as educated on trans issues yet, they need time to absorb everything. She’s your mother, she probably has all these gendered hopes and dreams that she didn’t even fully realise. This may be the modern world, but it’s still very gendered. As trans people we go against that. The people around us need time for it to sink into their heads. Sometimes with the assistance of a mallet.