Why I Don’t Regret Transitioning Late

Unlike a lot of people, I didn’t always know I was trans. My delay was due to a number of factors. Pig-ignorance was the main one–I had no idea trans men even existed in any real numbers. I didn’t know it was a “thing” outside one or two celebrities’ sons. I also knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was into men, and I assumed trans people were going to be into the opposite sex after their transition. I didn’t know about gay trans men. Also, I’m non-binary and pretty femme, so even now the “always knew I was a boy inside” narrative is alien to me. Add in depression and mental fatigue, and I lost a lot of years. In a healthier timeline, I’d have probably figured it out around 30.

In some ways I envy those who are realizing it at 15-25. There is a baggage that comes from being not-really-yourself for a lot of your adulthood. But the truth is, plenty of cis people deal with it too. Coming out of the closet, realizing one’s marriage or career choice is unworkable, just simply facing the fact that they’ve lost themselves somewhere along the way–it’s a super common occurrence at midlife. So there’s no real bitterness in me. This is just my midlife crisis. It’s not at all the worst kind to have.

It’s also been a huge relief to understand why it never seemed like anything I did as an adult really worked all the way, and why I was so constantly out of step. I’ve done a lot of forgiving of myself on the last few months, and trans people of ANY age should work on that.

Being older has the advantage of certainty. Within a few weeks of realizing I was trans, I’d come out to friends and was pursuing a T appointment. There’s a buildup of evidence behind me in those years of cluelessness, that totally overcomes all doubts right now. I’m more confident about it than I’d be if I were 20 or 25. I feel the right to be respected. The only way my age hurts is dealing with the triple whammy of being trans, gay, and over 35. I’m still not sure how to deal with that.

There is no right or wrong age to do this. It might seem like the sooner the better, and on paper that’s true. But it really is more important to just do something to accept and validate it, as soon as one realizes it. Nothing wastes time like regretting things.

I could be regretful that I didn’t figure it out sooner, that I didn’t have the experience of being male for my teens, twenties, or most of my thirties. But I know if I start down that route, there’s no bottom. And what the fuck would it accomplish? Nothing. I kind of had to decide to have no regrets. There’s nothing I can do but be thankful for the multitude of experiences, good and bad, that I’ve had in my life because I was a woman and because I’m trans. I try to be optimistic that those experiences mattered and count for something, and will help make me a better man from here on out. At least it’s an INTERESTING regret to have, you know?

Trans Male Sexuality

I think there’s also a lot of shame trans guys uncover as they develop what society would call “masculine sexuality”. Women are shamed for having anything like it, and trans guys get doubly shamed. Male sexuality is seen as bad, harmful, unpleasant to deal with, and incompatible with love. What kind of asshole would choose that?

Male sexuality doesn’t make anyone into a jerk. Being a jerk does that. Male sexuality is great.

There’s an unspoken policing of trans men. Many people unconsciously insist on seeing us as women, and therefore that our bodies and sexuality are public property to be decided by committee. No gender should go through that.

There’s no law that dictates cis men have to be sexless to be good, or that their sexuality has to be soft and wholesome or else it’s evil. Holding trans men to a different standard is transphobia.

And male puberty shouldn’t be mocked, whatever the age of the guy going through it. Like female puberty, it’s a powerful time, and should be treated with dignity and kindness. Are there funny parts? Of course. But it’s not a joke. It can be gorgeous.

Not all trans guys experience an increased libido as some sort of embarrassing frustration. It’s made me feel more alive, alert, and positively influenced my creativity. Some trans guys might feel embarrassed of it or be glad if it lowers again, but the unspoken expectation that they should feel that way always struck me as a little shaming and nearly misandrist.

The House Blueprint Metaphor

Imagine that everyone’s self lives inside the house of their body.

Most people are pretty content with the fundamental structure of their body, as it matches a blueprint they have in their heads. It might need touchups here and there, or small changes, but nothing fundamental.

A trans person, on the other hand, has a blueprint for a completely different type of house than the one they live in. They might try to make the best of it, especially if the “house” they’re in is nice and functional. But they’re never going to be as fulfilled as if they lived in the right kind of building.

So there’s a longing there, that can get worse as time goes on.

Transition would be the major renovations that made their house actually look like the blueprint in their heads, which cannot be changed. And let them get on with just living and using the house like other people do, instead of constantly being distracted by the wrongness.