I wanted to give those who read this and are getting any kind of transition surgery — or even just starting their transition in general — the tools to process the feelings they’ll probably feel.For much of my life, I’ve had to hide who I am. Whether it was from relative strangers or just relatives, Princess, Alexzsa, Nykki, whoever I was at the time had to exist in the darkness. Although there are few men in my family, they cling to any person assigned male at birth and desire to subsume them in their toxically masculine, bro culture. Although some of it was less intense at times, my childhood included events where men in my family tried to shift me away from “female influence” and tried to get me interested in masculine or sport-y things. (Although sports aren’t masculine per se, they were certainly thought to be.) There was this need for me to be a “regular” straight, cis boy. But I could never be that. Although I realize that straight and cis people may not be able to understand the need for it, I ended up having to nurture two completely different personalities that never fully, truly had the opportunity to reconcile. I had to nurture the “ordinary latinx boy” façade while also developing myself as the girl/woman who I am. I became an expert in secrets, even hiding that I was taking hormones from my parents, they couldn’t tell that I was growing breasts until I had already and completely came out to them (before that, I was already a B cup). Having to learn how to hide everything I am makes it really easy for me to get the things that I need to get done, because I don’t need to worry about whether or not someone will approve of it or not. It allows me to function freely, because I could just hide it. I realize that this is deceitful, but when you’re a trans woman of color you sometimes have to move in darkness. A lot of the time, there is no letting our freak flag fly, so to speak. It was this history of basically having to move under the cover of metaphorical darkness that helped me survive the initial trials and tribulations of the closet and even non-closeted living. It helped me become confident in myself, my choices, and my choice of chosen family (which is, for me, a mix of blood and non-blood people). That said, though, it left me under-prepared for the biggest hurdle that I’ve ever had to face. December 22nd was a glorious, victorious day for me. After many years of dysphoria so bad that I wanted sometimes to do my own surgery, I finally had a genital surgery that I’d wanted: an orchiectomy. It was a magical day for me. I was so excited, so happy that instead of sleeping, I just stayed awake thinking. I was painfully tired by the time my surgery actually took place. It was a day where everything felt like lightning.
I feel that it’s my duty to use my experience to create a better world for queer and trans youth.[TW: discussions about abuse and drug and alcohol usage] This December marks an important achievement in my transition! After 17 years of waiting, I’ll be undergoing my orchiectomy. This surgery, the first and potentially only genital surgery I’ll have, is something I’ve wanted since I was a scrawny little brown boy. In honor of something this big, I’ve been reflecting on my experiences in my childhood and teenage years. Specifically, I’ve been reflecting on what it means to have been a queer and trans person in a Latinx family. Growing up in a Latin household, simply being sexually attracted to men (something that I’ve known since kindergarten) was not something that was even entertained as a thought, let alone being a boy who know she’s really a girl. Latinx culture strongly emphasizes masculinity and heterosexuality as being the most important qualities that a person assigned male at birth should have. This often comes in the form of toxic masculinity and abuse for people who don’t appear to comply with this picture of manhood. This strangles the life out of trans women and queer boys, emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes literally. In my family, there was such a strong emphasis on heterosexuality and masculinity. Uncles and cousins emphasized and tried to drill into my head their macho ideas of manhood. I had to act like a boy but being around mostly women — in their eyes — had made me soft. So what they did was send me to be with men in my family to toughen me up and make me a man. Needless to say, they didn’t make a man out of me and I wasn’t comfortable or happy with these attempts to make me one at all. I had to perform masculinity for them, because the idea of me being feminine, enjoying feminine things, and rejecting masculinity were so unconscionable that they weren’t options for me. The emphasis that was placed on me to look (sexually) at women, even as a child, was symbolic of how unconscionable it was to be any sort of queer. I’d known, by kindergarten, that I was sexually attracted to men. Simply to look at a man made my heart flutter and my body tingle, but I could never describe these feelings to anyone.
Related: DON’T BE A TERF: TRANSMISOGYNY 101
I spent a lot of my childhood wondering when I was going to turn into a boy. Because I felt at odds (to say the least) with traditional notions of what a girl was supposed to act like, I just assumed