I begin writing this online journal at a time in my life when the most absorbing transition I am engaged in is the one of gender. When I was born, it seemed clear to the doctor and my parents that I was a boy. I did, after all, have a penis. As I grew up, I think my father soon realized I was not as masculine as he would have liked. My mother excused me; I was sensitive, and artistic. I was not girly, though I hated competitive sports and rough behavior. I loved the outdoors, and adventure, and making things. I was a tomboy. At nine, for the second and final time, my parents separated, and I was told I had to become the man of the family, and help my mother with my younger brother and sister and our old house in a small prairie town, while she went to work.
I had known I was bi-sexual from my early teens, but my mother had assured me that having a feminine side, and being attracted to boys was not unusual, so I didn't worry about it. I met my first wife in a local bar, and though I grew increasingly uncomfortable in the male role, it was not until I was in my 50s that I began to realize my feminine side was the predominant one. Toward the end of my second marriage, at the urging of my wife, I had an affair with an old boyfriend from University days. It reminded me how much I needed to be made love to by a man, and showed me that I had never known how to give that kind of masculine love to any of the women I had ever lived with. My partners would fall in love with my gentle ways, and enjoy my ability at giving pleasure, but they needed someone who behaved like a man and would soon become uninterested in me as a sexual partner. My frustration and my inability to deal with testosterone made me embittered, depressed, and sometimes mean. I began to cross-dress, indulging my love for tights and skirts, colours and fabric, that I had seldom dared to express even in my hippie days. In the confusion that followed, rejected by my wife and my lover, I had a nervous breakdown, was fired from my steady job, and my wife asked for a separation.
So now, I live as a woman. Two years ago I changed my name, and began hormone replacement therapy (HRT). A year ago I moved out of my family home at the request of my now ex-wife and began renting a room from my best friend and dance partner. I also rent a small studio downtown, where I write for an internet audience, prepare music for dance performances, sew and occasionally edit video. I subsidize my income from part-time occasional work as a stagehand, costume assistant and camera operator with my pension from the job I was fired from three years ago. I save half of what I earn for the education of my two children, now young adults. I live very frugally. I don't drive or drink or smoke or eat meat. I walk and bike, shop at food co-ops, and get my bread from the Friendship Inn; the 'soup kitchen'. I make sauerkraut. I volunteer in exchange for admission to shows and dances. After my breakdown I learned that I need to care for myself. With the equanimity that HRT and the freedom from testosterone has given me, I live a mostly peaceful and happy life.
However I am now steadily occupied with the steps required for the next big event. I have recently been informed that I have a date for surgery at the Brassard Clinic. In the last week of February I fly to Toronto to visit my son, then I take the train to Montreal, where in less than two months, if all goes according to plan, my genitals will be altered to more closely resemble those of other women. Yesterday I saw my doctor, who was very happy for me. She's an aboriginal lady, and commented that the speed with which things were falling into place seemed to indicate the workings of fate. She arranged for several tests to be done without delay, so the results could be sent off as soon as possible. I wait for letters, with forms to be filled out for the clinic, and for the release of pension funds. Despite my growing excitement, I take care to rest, to eat and to dance. Out the window of my studio the downtown skyline is silhouetted against the dark blue sky, jewelled with lights. The sun has set. I must publish this post, and prepare for my walk home.