Part of the autobiography of a transsexual psychology graduate student.

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Gender Identity Disorder (GID) Case Study: an Autobiography of a Transsexual Psychology Graduate Student


I took a year off before graduate school and I decided to teach children in some inner-city projects. Despite how difficult it was, it was a wonderful experience. It was the first time I really had the chance to work all the time with children. When I was in high school I tried to get jobs at day cares but nobody would hire me. A friend who worked at one told me they would never hire me; they don't believe men can be nurturing enough to work there. But working in a school really helped me open up and be more nurturing. In some ways I'm still very immature. I spent years trying to not feel anything so I never really learned how to express my feelings well. But when I decided to go back to graduate school I decided I would be myself no matter what. I was going to stop repressing my emotions and I was going to allow myself to be as feminine as I felt. I chose to follow the advice of some feminists and just be a feminine man. Somehow I felt if I did this I would like myself enough that I wouldn't feel any serious desire to transition.

That was probably the most profound decision I ever made in my life. My first year of graduate school was also the worst year in my life. My emotions were barely more than an adolescents since I repressed my feelings from then on. And I acted that way. I fell apart. When one bad thing happened I reacted by being disproportionately upset. I couldn't stop and being so upset made the next minor bad event seem even more disproportionately upsetting and so forth in an escalating cycle of depression and anxiety. But, in addition to feeling out of control I realized how little being a feminine man was what mattered. No matter how feminine of a man I am, I'm still thought of by others as a man. And that's very upsetting. I just don't identify with men. I never have and I probably never could. Being feminine, though something that's very natural for me, just made me more distant from woman because it emphasized how people still feel I'm a guy. By the end of my first year I took the summer off from school. And the most important thing I did was paint my apartment.

I'd lived in this dismal tiny apartment for my first year of graduate school. It was really cheap. But it was so run-down I felt drained just living there. The old couple who owned the building offered to pay for supplies if I wanted to paint it. How difficult could painting be? But painting this tiny hole in the wall was a huge undertaking. The more closely I looked, the more gross I found it. I'd peel off peeling paint just to find it was slapped up to cover another layer of peeling paint. It's amazing how you couldn't tell there was another level to peel until you peeled the top layer. It seemed like this old room had been the painting project of many others before me. Maybe they also found the place so ugly they needed to paint too? But they'd just quickly covered the mess. I'm sure it looked good for a little while. But was it really good? Temporary fixes just make things seem fixed. But hiding beneath the surface are the same problems that always existed. Sure, you could cover the problems again. But that just left the problems to worsen. How could people let this happen?

And I realized I'd been letting this happen to myself. Many times I'd solved life's problems with some surface painting. When did I take enough time to sit and peel away all the junk that gathered up on my life? I hadn't - at least not enough. That summer, while I painted my apartment, I fixed my life. I addressed every personal issue I could, from the smallest to the largest. The biggest fix was my career. I left behind paths I never really liked for a new life in developmental psychology, a field I love now. The summer ended and I'd brought peace to every issue in my life, every issue but one. I decided I still couldn't and shouldn't rush into transitioning. I felt like I needed to make sure I was stable before I made such a big change.

My emotions became much more normal over my second year of graduate school. I was very happy about my career change. But even so I still felt like being a feminine man wasn't right for me. So, after losing over two decades of my life to trying to fulfill everybody else's expectations for me, I decided to fulfill my own expectations and transition to become a woman.

This is page 8 of 12.          [1]   [2]   [3]   [4]   [5]   [6]   [7]   [8]   [9]   [10]   [11]   [12]