Two weeks before the pandemic shut the world down, I got top surgery. In the months that followed, I changed my name and started testosterone. Best decisions I’ve ever made. But puberty in adulthood is a wild ride. Thanks to quarantine, I got to experience the most awkward stages privately: voice cracking, skin getting oily, acne, hair growing on my butt. The only witnesses to my real puberty — in my 20s — were my best friend Sam and my dog Joni. During lockdown, I could feel like a little boy every day. I would run into my living room shirtless, telling Sam and Joni to look at how well my scars were healing. Because of my contained, loving environment, I was able to enjoy a childlike appreciation of the physical changes I’d always dreamed about.
Then it was time to re-emerge with a new name, a deeper voice, and no tits. Everything that was playful and fun about my gender expression at home was immediately complicated by the way people perceive me in public. All of a sudden, strangers see me as a guy. I wish it were that simple. I know that when people see me as a cis man, they’re missing something. At home, I didn’t have to check a gender box. The pressure to check that box only exists in the public sphere. In private, I feel like I exist outside of the gender binary. That’s my favorite place to be.
Why go through all that if being outside the binary choice is the favourite place?
Why not just stay as is and not be entirely conformant to the binary?