It’s been a little while since my last entry. Today, I’m urged to write because one of my acquaintances has been recording videos where they talk about their experiences as a trans young person.
Today, I want to talk to you about my experiences when I was younger as a now old trans, aromantic person. This will hopefully be positive over all, but it definitely won’t all be.
Firstly, a timeline. I was assigned male at birth some 30 years ago. At around 27 years old I realised I was not quite like other people I knew. At first, I thought I was pansexual because I noticed there was little to no difference to how I felt about men and women. Then a few months later I realised that the feelings I had were qualitatively different to how other people would describe their feelings. For a long time, I thought this was just bravado - playing up their own feelings to look better but I was normal. I was wrong. Thanks to help from my girlfriend at the time, I found the asexual community and that was great. Finally, something seemed right. I didn’t engage with the community a lot at first and when I did, I started to realise that something was still seriously wrong. Somewhere around 28, I found the aromantic community. This has been transformative, but more on that below. At the end of that year, I broke up with my then girlfriend because I was becoming more and more uncomfortable being in a romantic relationship. We continued to live together however and still do, multiple years later! Just after my 30th birthday, around six months ago, I started questioning my gender and finally concluded on agender.
A few quick notes about my mental state. I have struggled with depression since I was around 17 and anxiety since my early 20’s. I continue to struggle with both of these on a nearly daily basis. I am also mildly autistic.
I now identify as an aromantic, asexual, agender person. For the rest of this post I will refer to my orientation as simply aromantic rather than aromantic asexual or aroace for the sake of brevity and that I don’t feel very strongly asexual, it’s really just a natural result of the ways in which I am aromantic and how that surfaces for me.
It was strange growing up as someone who was arguably in denial about their identity for 25 odd years. At the time, everything seemed normal. If something felt wrong, I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Looking back though, I can definitely see so many signs.
The one time I approached a girl in high school about going out with me, I was… inappropriate, in a clumsy way, and we’ll leave it at that. I started getting into online relationships and I got dumped by someone else the week before my final exams in high school which threw me into a depression and I almost failed. One failed relationship led to another, all of them sliding into pure sexual relationships before either falling apart of just simply dissolving completely. I don’t feel comfortable trying to place a quantity on how much of my depression has been caused by failed relationships, but it’s a significant portion.
I started to think there was something wrong with me. With two notable exceptions, every person I was involved with broke up with me. The first I won’t go into here and the second I alluded to above - my girlfriend at the time when I discovered I was aromantic. This was less of a breakup, upset as she was, and more of a shift in the structure of our relationship. We’re no longer romantically involved and indeed she’s dating other people now. But we still live together and support each other and I love her to pieces in my own way. We’ve now been living together for a total of 7 years now!
I also remember being pushed to dance with a girl at prom night. I got suddenly, irrationally scared at the mere mention of the possibility and wanting to flee the conversation but not doing that so I didn’t seem like a wus. But I couldn’t do it either, not even to show up my bullies who also refused.
Confusing me further was the fact that I find some people good looking! And I kinda always wanted a close relationship. After my first few downfalls, teenage me cried himself to sleep with the words, “All I really want is a few really good friends.” Those words got lost somewhere along the way as I buried them. Buried them, and got busy looking for a romantic partner who I was never good enough for.
Before I go too deep on my gender discovery, I feel like I need to qualify this with a little bit about how I feel about my gender currently. As of right now, I have almost no feelings about my gender, which is to say that it is blank. I have no preferences for gendered things and frankly, I find the concept of gender itself silly. But it’s important to a lot of people, so that’s good enough for me.
My gender discovery is still very early days and I’ve had less time to think back about it… but a few things stick out from my early life. I was never really sure why, but I hated having my hair cut. I would scream and cry in the hairdressers while they did it. I would also get very defensive when people brought up my longer hair or made fun of me for it. Same story for shaving and my beard. Some people in my family took great pleasure in making fun of me over my presentation.
I’ve never been interested in fashion until very recently. I love a lot of feminine clothing. I’m constantly struggling with working out “They look really good in that,” and “That is just generally cute,” and “That is cute, I want.” I’ve only just started really considering that I could even wear that. It’s always been taboo and forbidden to me. Forbidden by myself and society. But I decided that I’m an idiot and society can suck it and I’m going to start experimenting and I’m getting my first femme clothes this week and I am super excited by that!
I feel better now than I have in a long, long time. I’m still anxious, sure. But it has a cause I can point to and work on. Same with my depression. And I finally feel excited about something, even if I’m scared of how the rest of the world will receive it.