Friday, February 14, 2014

Transition Beyond Surgery

Some fiction, some fact

Twenty Years Ago

It is the mid Nineties. Before the internet. Before cellular telephones. Before DVDs and Blu-ray players. Before live streaming. Before blogs. Before Tumblr and Facebook and Instagram. Before $4 a gallon gasoline and $10 a pack cigarettes. Before the legalization of same-sex marriage.

9:55 am. While waiting for Blockbuster to open, I look up to find my history professor. He’s rolled down the window and calls out to me. It seems he’s dropping off his daughter for her shift at work. He happens to spy me waiting patiently on the sidewalk for the store to open. It appears he had a second mission to accomplish before driving away.

You know that Jamie Davis really likes you. I thanked him for the news, though I’d mostly figured it out for myself. We were in the same class and I’d expressed my interest in her with great purpose and forcefulness. Success is always welcome news. It’s always good to know that one’s efforts in attracting a partner do occasionally have promise.

When I informed her myself what our professor had reported, she wished she’d been the messenger herself. At the time, I still lived with my parents, tucked inside a recently vacated apartment that had been built into the basement to provide my grandparents, who were in failing health, with a place to live. Both of them had passed on, leaving this fairly spacious space all to myself. A few days later, following class, I coaxed her to take a drive to my abode. I made sure that no one was around, and that my folks were at work.

We moved quickly to my bedroom, but at her insistence, my sweet talk stopped cold. After the buildup, I couldn’t understand why she balked at the last minute. From the first time that I so much as embraced her, she threw up boundaries and defenses. She wasn’t comfortable even in kissing me, which I thought was peculiar. No woman before had ever acted quite this way.

I could sense her discomfort. Don’t say, oh baby, baby. She could barely make eye contact. No other woman I had ever taken to bed had protested when I’d said that very same thing. I realized within a few awkward minutes that this pairing would never work. She pushed me aside, though not meanly. Was it my fault? What had I done wrong?

Instead, she requested that we reconvene at a nearby fast food restaurant, which seemed to please her in ways I never could. And yet, strangely, her attraction to me never subsided. This wasn’t the end, only the first encounter of many. With time, she returned to me as though the earlier experience had never happened. Together, we took tremendously impulsive risks, having cybersex inside very public computer terminals. That was all she wanted for now. Provided our intimacy never reached beyond safe fantasy, she had few objections. For a long while, I never understood why face to face interactions with me made her so uncomfortable.

Ten Years Ago

Jamie told me last week that she’s a lesbian. That would explain the earlier behavior. I have to say that I feel a little foolish, but her resistance earlier makes sense now in context. She’s even found a long-term partner, a woman she snagged off of MySpace. We still talk, but I’ve begun to have doubts and confusion about what she thinks about me. She certainly acts as though I am appealing to her, but these sentiments are always predicated on her own terms and at her own pace. To an extent, it's always been like that, but this is new territory for me.

Eight Years Ago

I have to say that I didn’t understand what transgender was until It was explained to me. Jamie now goes by Johnny and is saving up money for top surgery. But in the meantime, it makes sense now that the feelings of desire that the she I knew held towards me were authentic and not imaginary. Before, the label “lesbian” confused me. It connoted a lack of interest beyond friendship. He always had a desire to keep me close at hand, in a way most people do not. When most would have peeled away and eliminated contact altogether, he thought of me romantically and with great, heartfelt desire.

He posted a series of YouTube videos to show a visual representation of his progress on testosterone. I watched all of these, posted once a week, unsure what to expect next. It takes forever for facial hair to grow and it didn't come in as well as he liked. I observe his disappointment and am sorry for him. Not every transman experiences the same results from hormones. I learn this alongside Johnny, though at my own safe distance this time.

Six Years Ago

Having finally saved up the money for surgery, Johnny goes under the knife. He opts for top surgery, though he remarks with some sadness that he will always be a man with a vagina. He continues to take testosterone regularly and his clitoris grows considerably. He refers to it as a cock or a micro-dick, while nevertheless retaining large portions of female genitalia present in the body into which he was born. If he is viewed as a pre-pubescent boy, or called “sir”, he considers the money spent a success.

Five Years Ago

We swap pornography. His desire for me has not changed. Though he has a certain fondness for me, it’s not like I’m the only one waiting in the wings. He’s built up a network of kinky queers who satisfy his insatiable desires. Some female to male transsexuals born as biological women do not have sex like men, but he most certainly does. It’s one of the ways that I realize that, though he might have been born a woman, he’s the epitome of genderqueer. He's a blending between male and female, and I accept it even if it causes me to push away, as he did in the beginning.

Two Days Ago

Johnny only comes around for me every now and again. I am expected to provide him the necessary palette of emotions and erotic images necessary to produce an orgasm. Because I want to be anyone’s object of desire, even if I don’t have much enthusiasm for the task at hand, I go through the motions. I say what he wants me to tell him, and I’ve never failed in eventually producing what he’s really after. Sometimes, I have to admit, I feel that he’s using me for a sexual outlet. His feelings for me have never been stronger, but mine have waned over the years.

It’s if gender expectations have been reversed. He’s the sex-crazed man in constant search of a sexual outlet, and I’m the woman who doesn’t want to deny him the pleasure, in spite of my own doubts. When he appears online and initiates conversation, I know it won't be long before he lies all his cards down on the table.

A modicum of chitchat gives way to what he really wants from me. I wish I could get into the mood on command, but I’m just not wired that way. I sometimes feel that I am wanted only to produce a consistent, desired effect and pleasurable outcome. He is always in the mood, and I’d prefer a little foreplay beforehand. Maybe this is how straight women feel all the time.

I concede I am somewhere between male and female myself. Johnny reflects back at me how I am, and sometimes that image is too intense to produce much beyond insecurity and neurosis. I already scrutinize myself excessively. Viewing my body in the mirror is at times too painful to observe. Until I end it with Johnny, the cycle will continue. I could talk to him about my conflicted feelings, but I fear separation from anyone for any reason.

I’m afraid of having no one left in my life, which is why I’ve tolerated more than a few leeches and energy drains over the course of my life. I fear losing every last one of my friends or acquaintances. I expect them to desert me, which is why I never tell Johnny to cool it.

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