Monday, September 29, 2008

SRS: A T-Girl Goes All the Way!

"You don't decide to want to be a girl, you just come into the wisdom of knowing..."

All my life I've wanted to dress like a girl. Act like a girl. But this is the story of someone who actually wants to be a girl. Danielle is a married, 41-year-old from Detroit who is into cabinetmaking, furniture making, and 19th century home restoration. She's a pre-op TS, but she's about to lose her pre-op status. I asked her if she would talk to me about all the many things that are going through her head as she begins the series of procedures known generally as SRS - Sexual Reassignment Surgery.

Danielle talks about her upcoming procedures, as well as her struggles with growing up, relationships, and religion. The same challenges we all face. But she's taking all of this one giant step further.

CiCi: So how did this all start for you? Did you start dressing as a child?

Danielle: I did! I knew something about me was different but was not able to express what it was. I began having impulses, strong impulses to dress like my sister. So I raided her clothes as often as I could. I am thinking I began that lil feat at around age 7.

CiCi: How old was your sister?

Danielle: She was a year and a half older then me. It wasn't until later — around 10 or so — until I began to understand how nature made a mistake.

CiCi: At 10, was that the way you thought of it, "nature made a mistake"?

Danielle: Hmm. I'm probably projecting that term and its complexities. No, I don't recall honestly making that conclusion until I was in my 20's. I think I felt natural inside her clothes. It was like a magic carpet ride. And it was not simply sexual. It was I knew I belonged in this role. I just knew, but because of my family's religious beliefs I had to hide them deep inside. The feelings I mean.

CiCi: Did you ever get "caught" — did your parents or sister know about your dressing?

Danielle: Yes. As clever as I was about it, I got caught. And as soon as I got caught once or twice they were on to me and they knew what to look for. It was then I believed I had to somehow get my own clothes. I believe that was when I was 12 or so. I was extremely resourceful in finding clothing from female friends. However a new problem presented itself! Where to stash them!

CiCi: Did you steal from your female friends... or did you actually ask for them?

Danielle: I stole and asked. Both. All my mother knew is that I liked wearing girls clothing but she never once came up to me and tried to speak one-on-one about it. Never asked me why. She assumed I was going to outgrow it! She made it clear I was to be ashamed of it.

CiCi: Did your mother (or father) mention religious implications?

Danielle: Yes and no. Whenever this topic came up they spoke with forked tongue. I don't think they honestly knew how to approach it

CiCi: That's definitely a common problem... even today.

Danielle: Well. All I know is that they swept it under the rug. I could not approach them for help in any way, shape or form about it. I had to deal with it on my own and I did the best I could.

CiCi: Outwardly, what was your boy life like at this time?

Danielle: Miserable. I was confused scared, uneasy and angry, sad, depressed and confused. I was lonely and ashamed even.

CiCi: So you weren't able to repress your feelings in the name of getting along and being normal?

Danielle: Oh I was able... yes in fact I became quite the actor! On the outside beaming. On the inside, like I said, lonely and ashamed.

CiCi: What were the rest of your teen years like? Dating, etc...?

Danielle: Dating scene went good. I sought out LTRs. I was not into dating per se. I never have been. I had a small group of friends. I was never a social butterfly.

CiCi: Did you confide in your girlfriends?

Danielle: No. I confided in no one. I thought I had no one to turn to. Parents made it obvious that they did not want to talk about it.

CiCi: Was there a time when you sensed this starting to change? When you started to feel more comfortable with your femininity?

Danielle: It was not until I was 21 — until I sought out a counselor because I had strong suicidal tendencies.

CiCi: If this isn't too personal, can you explain those tendencies? Why exactly did you not feel like you wanted to go on? (And BTW... so glad you did go on, Danielle. Many do not.)

Danielle: I did not want to go on because at that point I'd talked myself into believing that God hated me, that I was cursed and that I could not do anything to shake this curse of being TG.

CiCi: You really felt that God hated you? How is your relationship with God today?

Danielle: It's amazing. But long ago, in college, when I confided my TGism in a minister, he did not shun me as an unrepentant sinner. Of course, he did not understand the powerful dynamic within TG, but he did assure me that "we are all bearing crosses." Ok, fair enough, I agree. My "cross" to bear is not that much different from the others around me. However, what he did do indirectly is relieve me of the inner guilt that had been building up since I was a preteen. I could honestly say, for the first time in my life, that God accepted me as who I was for what I was and that I was his child just the same! WOW, what a liberating feeling that was! It was from that point on that my relationship with God became healthy. Before that, He was a force to fear and to tremble at. Later I realized that my cross was not a cross at all, but rather a gift. God gifted me with being transsexual. And that is how it stands today, at this very moment. I realize that religion is a bad thing, and that spirituality is the light at the end of the tunnel. I still confess faith in Jesus, Savior of the world and my personal salvation, and I could state a million reasons why, but I'm afraid I'm outta house and home as far as assembly. Assemblers, religion at its best, can't accept me for who I am and so I must travel alone now.

CiCi: Yes we still have a long way to go. So how did therapy work out? Did it help? Or did help come later?

Danielle: In a nutshell, help came just recently when my now wife accepted me 100 percent and could see thru my facades. And could see how happy I was, how in place I was, as Danielle.

CiCi: And what about your family? Parents? Siblings?

Danielle: I had foster parents for the most part. (I was adopted, btw, [so I] can't really relate to a family DNA history on a meaningful level. That said, my wife is 100 percent behind me on this. She always has been. She wants me to transition because she sees how happy I am as Danielle! I'm a totally different person as Danielle.

CiCi: You're very lucky to have her love and support.

Danielle: OMG. Hell yes I am. She's super. A blessing from God literally. A gift. My gift.

CiCi: So how many years passed between being 21 and now?

Danielle: I'm 41 now, so 20.

CiCi: And how would you characterize those years, personally, career-wise? Any good times at all?

Danielle: Oh yes. Good times, sure! College years were full of good memories! But I went from school to school; career-to-career I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. And wow, looking back now I realize that identity is first and foremost! If you don't have that figured out nothing else will settle either.

CiCi: Unfortunately, I think that's true with a lot of us. It's hard to know what you want when you don't know who you are.

Danielle: Yes! It's like the old adage. If you don't love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either.

CiCi: Very true.

Danielle: I feel dumb. It took me 40 years to come to this wisdom!

CiCi: Yeah. Well, you and about five gazillion others! Danielle, many of us want to dress as a girl or act like a girl, when did you decide you wanted to be a girl?

Danielle: One day when I was like 16, I got into my sister's makeup — and prior to that I bought a wig when I had the house to myself. I dolled up 100 percent. I looked into the mirror after seeing myself, for the first time (using makeup best I knew how), as a girl!! OMG! What a euphoric feeling! It was then I knew I was female! You don't decide to want to be a girl you just come into the wisdom of knowing there is nothing else in this world that will make you as happy as being her!

Part 2 of my interview with Danielle continues next time. And she'll discuss her feelings as she faces the series of procedures, surgeries and varied emotions involved in SRS.

Take care out there.
Be safe. Be smart. Be sexy.

1 comment:

rebecca lynn said...

Hi all my prayers are with you. I am a cd and married 24 yrs. she wont accept me. all my life im in a state of depression. I think its great that you found someone to support you. You will always be in my prayers. Rebecca