Navigating a de/re/multi-transition?
August 11, 2019 9:29 PM   Subscribe

What can I expect life to be like after a 4-year binary gender transition as a woman, 1 year as a nonbinary person, and maybe now identifying either male again or nonbinary masc?

Obviously, there are lots of factors here, y'all can't predict the future, etc. But I'm reaching out to this more generalized audience rather than detrans-oriented groups because the rhetoric there can get super TERFy super quickly. To start at the top:

- I'm generally happy and secure in myself, happy with my queer friends, and extremely pro-trans and nonbinary identities and expressions. No pills of any color have been consumed.

- That said, I've been feeling like the transfemme aspects of my transition are behind me. I've explored nonbinary space over the last year and learned a lot about myself. I've realized the softness, self-love, and unconstrained self-expression I feel might all be most accurately and happily expressed through a return to some kind of masculine framework. I've already cut my hair short and long ago stopped wearing makeup/etc. But more than those superficial changes (I was playing around with butch identity for a while), I feel deeper down that my reintegration is going to take me firmly until familiar-yet-not-familiar lands (can't return home etc.) I feel I've gone as far as I can go in my initial journey, and even my second journey, and I want to start wandering another way.

- Going in a nonbinary direction and adopting they/them pronouns has felt great. However, I've started to wonder what it would be like to fully return to that gender place of maleness/masculinity, albiet in a softer and weirder and more expressive light. I saw a photo of me out with a friend earlier this weekend, and had this striking thought of "oh hey, this is what I would have looked like as a 30-year-old soft bi boy -- this IS how I am!" and it felt really really good. I also traveled recently for work and found myself "he"'d frequently (which hasn't happen too often to this point, even since my nonbinary turn) and felt pretty comfy with that too.

- I think what I'm primarily concerned about is loss. Loss of the closeness and affinity with women, loss of intelligibility to dating partners (although this isn't the *most* important, being an amab fella who has also had bottom surgery is something I'm not too sure how to hold?), loss of a luckily fairly successful passing role (this is already happening) and exposure to a new type of violence and derision, etc. I'm white and latinx, so I have a big buffer via whiteness from the worst of the violence stuff.

- I tend to think of my life as seasons, and going from one season to another involves loss, and so in that light I can make it through. It's just super scary, and most of the stuff you can read about online is shot through with the worst of the worst transphpobic bitter garbage. I'm not bitter! In fact it's kind of amazing that I can say "yes I lived as a woman, yes I had the Surgery and decided that all wasn't for me" without feeling spiteful or harmed. I feel good about myself. I just, yeah. Scary.

Any guidance, context, motivation, warnings, comforts you have would be most helpful. Thank you!!
posted by Sock Meets Body to Human Relations (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I think your doing a great job of providing yourself the context that human beings are dynamic changing people and you have lead your life true to you, and it's taken you through a winding journey of self discovery.

I do think there's this idea out there that people should just choose a side, and I think that's awfully unfair and such an incredibly limiting experience. There is no real reason to present as the same gender every day or week or month or year. Gender expression is a framework, a framework that's flawed and limited in its usefulness for encapsulating the experience of being human.

Take gentle care as you continue your journey. I wish i had more to say, this question is very broad and kind of hard to answer. I can say that support you in whatever expression suits you best for the moment even if that changes later.
posted by AlexiaSky at 12:53 AM on August 12 [6 favorites]

Re: intelligibility to the people around you, part of that is just figuring out what words to use and how to tell your story. This will begin to sort itself out with experience. The more you tell your story, the better you'll get at it.

The way you describe going through seasons in your life is already super great. Retransition is an awesome word for it: you lived your first transition and learned from it and grew into the person you are now, and now you're ready to become someone else.

Do you journal/blog/therapy at all? It might be helpful, when feeling the loss that you fear super heavily, to sit down and write or talk out your grief, but end each entry with something you're hopeful about as well.

Also, this might be a bit of an odd suggestion, but since the spaces and writing and Discourse around de/retransitioning kinda suck, you might find that something in stories about people rediscovering childhood passions or immigrants returning to their homelands that resonates with you. Maybe writing from people who came out twice in general, too?
posted by storytam at 1:41 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]

There's a woman who has remained involved in transmasculine spaces online in a positive way that may be worth contacting. I'll me-mail you a username.
posted by hoyland at 2:39 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]

I’ve started looking at all these labels less as borders containing people who are “category x and not y” and looking them more as terrain maps to help me along the way.

At any minute I am any and all of these things:
a woman, a trans woman, a passing cis woman, a non-binary woman, a non-binary and unreadable to any gender person, a feminine boy, a boyish girl, none of the above and all of the above or maybe some new combination of all of the above.

I am fan of being who you are unmoored from the expectations and politics of what a body and gender is “supposed to be”. To that though, there will always be friction and antagonism as you move through gender “ecosystems”, so I try to view my life as more like “oh, in trans femme non-binary bisexual boy mode the altitude is rare, so the anxiety I’m feeling that’s making it hard to breathe is probably normal” and try to re-center myself on knowing who I am, while focusing less on how the world is going to talk shit or be confused by me.

Ultimately what we are doing is providing safe passage out of binary gender, and even the idea of a fixed gender, or that anyone is “born a way” and replacing that instead with the notion that we continually manifest into who we are, and that manifestation and possibility is SO MUCH MORE than where we came from or the labels that other people are using to try to pack us into their political borders using maps of gender drawn over our bodies that we don’t agree with or consent to using.

So I dunno if that helps but it’s how I’m dealing with my own relationship to gender having followed a very very similar path as you over the past 6 years. I don’t even know what my gender is anymore and I don’t know where it’s going, but what I do know is that I am free to become whatever the next thing is, and I’ll discover whatever else comes along the way as I get there.
posted by nikaspark at 7:45 AM on August 12 [18 favorites]

Do you have a trans/gender-competent therapist? It seems like that would be really helpful in this process. Similarly, how is your support system? Friends, family, etc. Do you have people you can talk openly about all this with and who will support you?
posted by the sockening at 8:00 PM on August 12

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