Never Seen, Never Heard
I was 8 and just wanted to play on the playground with the other boys. The teasing and taunting hurt my feelings but i didn’t want to cry because boys don’t cry and I was a boy, or so I was convinced. Upset, frustrated, and hurt I went home to tell my mom what occurred. I came stomping thru the front door, my bookbag and coat flew across the living room as I continued through the house searching for the warrior that was my mom. Upon finding her with tears rolling down my face in anger I shouted “mommy the boys wouldn’t let me play with them today! They kept calling me girl!” She looked at me with a confused look and replied “Well you are a girl.”, I looked at her with the same confused look and asked “You believe them too?” My 8 year old world came crashing down around me. I realized that day I was diffrent on so many levels. I began to see my image of myself wasn’t the same as what the world saw.
Fast forward 4 years, puberty strikes! Menstruation, growth, hormones added a new layer to my already difficult existence. Struggling with how my body was developing while hoping by some miracle everyone was wrong and my penis would soon develop the way I felt it was supposed to, I fell into a depression. Trying to figure out how to get it grow and stop this incessant bleeding every month, I continued to silently struggle. As the years continued to go by, I continued to develop this female body with breasts and soft facial features. I sat watching and listened in the shadows whenever my mom and dad would give my little brothers advice on how to groom themselves, treat the women they would soon be dating, and just general tips on how to be a man. Mentally taking notes and wishing I could be included in these conversations and interactions.
Further down the timeline to high school, I start to embrace my masculinity as a female, as a stud. I hid my masculinity and attraction for women from my parents. I would look like a girl leaving to walk to school every morning but by the time I made it to school I had changed clothes and my overall look. I was bullied, called names, teased and got into plenty fights for being a masculine female by my classmates on a regular basis but I was willing to deal with all of that to be ME. Guys in school would tell me they could “change” or “fix” me if I just let them “hit that”. Most of the time I would cuss them out and go about my way. Sometimes I would end up boxing with them because I refuse to give in to their advances, even still I was willing to deal with it because I was ME. I began to notice the ladies and recalled the advice given to my brothers and acted. As I began to step into the dating world I also realized there was an entire community of people like me. I found my comfort in Gay clubs and found friends and “family”. I rocked rainbow flags to indicate who I was to other gay people, especially the girls.
Throughout the years I still didn’t feel I belong in that world but it was as close as I was going to get. I didn’t have language around being Transgender at the time. After very strenuous and difficult high school years I still managed to graduate high school and with a AA degree in Culinary Arts. Still trying so hard to navigate the world in this female body that I had become so disconnected from, I feel deeper into depression. I experimented with different drugs and engaged in several illegal activities trying to find myself. Then my girlfriend at the time encouraged me to go to Job Corps in Utah. My entire life changed for me when I was in Utah. I was able to reinvent who I was, no one knew my past and I could start fresh. I could dress the way I wanted and walk in my own way. I became a leader, a person, and I was popular, cool, and important. As an executive member of student government I was a peer mentor, I helped create a Drug and Alcohol Free Youth program and was second in command as a Captain in the Rangers. I also won prom king. This didn’t come without it’s issues. I was beaten with a pipe and suffered a concision for my crown. I was still willing to deal with it to be ME. I graduated as a certified Jr. welder and Level II computer tech and in love with a beautiful girl.
I left Job Corps and came to Los Angeles to build a new life with my girlfriend. We traveled the country with a work crew working to pay for our wedding. During this time we split up and I ended up in an unfortunate situation that resulted in me becoming pregnant. I struggled thru being pregnant, still being disconnected from my body, and feeling my manhood would never come into fruition. Along the tale end of my pregnancy I met a woman I would later marry. She saw the man I was and encouraged me to do research about transitioning. We stayed together for 10 years raising our children, living life, working and doing research. As I researched I didn’t see a narrative that I recognized. All the folks I saw that were transitioning were not black or of color for that matter. I had given up on the idea, I figured we didn’t do that in my culture.
In 2010 I found myself in a Brown Boi Project cohort where I met a black transman for the first time. This was the very first time in my life I saw myself reflected in another person. During my time with the cohort I found out I had access to begin my transition. The minute I got home I called my doctor and set an appointment to start the process to start T. Today I have been on hormones 8 years, have had top surgery, hysterectomy and working on my bottom surgery.
Update *** Apr 2019
Today a year some change later, I stand a different man. So many many things have happened in such short amount of time. I have learned and experienced so many different levels of my humanness. Invisible Men has grown like a weed, fast and furious! My children are nearly grown except Monster. We still have a little time that one. I love them all so very much. Their individual spirits all require me to assess where they are and meet them there. I get to really experience these young humans and watch their lives navigate the many different aspects of their journey. My heart just bursts into sprinkles and butterflies when my kids are around, at this point in my journey, it is important that I am able to be authentic in the ways I show up for my kids. I’m able be silly and laugh with them and not feel like my manhood would shatter if someone caught the soft, gentle, silly side of my being. Today I stand solid on me feet with purpose and a mission.