Hal is a girl, physically, but mentally and spiritually he has always been a boy. He is wanting to transition in the near future and he let me ask him a few questions about his journey. I would like to thank him for opening up to me and being so honest and amazing. He has been incredibly kind and brave. I hope this interview brings you a higher understanding of the topic or even helps you personally in anyway.
1) when did you know that you wanted to transition?
I think that before puberty, I never really thought about gender much – I knew something was wrong or off, but I could not pinpoint it. It was only really when my body started to change that I began to panic, and only when I learned what the word ‘transgender’ meant that I could find the right word to describe what was going on. That was about a year and a half ago, that I began to realise that what I felt was not uncommon, not just an undefinable feeling that something big in my mind did not line up with my body.
2) did you process it internally alone or with help before sharing with your family?
For the most part it was internalised, just because I wanted to be sure that what I felt was real, and that If I were to tell anyone, they would take me seriously…I went to the GP over Christmas and talked to them, but I also asked them not to write anything down, I just needed to talk to someone who would not hold any opinions on me or whatever. I first told my mother how I felt about a year ago, but had to re explain to her recently because she doesn’t quite get it.
3) how did your family respond?
In a nutshell, not great. I don’t think they take me very seriously, so if I want to have a good conversation then I won’t bring it up. Hey, at least I haven’t been thrown out or anything, there are some real coming out horror stories; it would have been good to have support from family however. My father is the most cool about it, and I am able to make jokes about it with him (for example when he asks my brother ‘how has your day been, son’ I’ll reply ‘very good thank you’) My mother wasn’t so great about it, it isn’t like it is against her religion or anything, she just doesn’t really understand and doesn’t make an effort to. It’s alright, just a bit bloody disheartening. I have not properly told my brothers, just as I don’t think they’ll react so great. So I’ll leave that talk for a while.
4) how have friends and peers in your life responded?
My friends have been great, I’m pretty sure our generation is going to put the nail in the coffin of homophobia, transphobia, racism and sexism…all the bad shit is just not going to stick with us. If I had to make a judgement, I think my female friends have been far more accepting than my male friends, but hey, you can’t have it all.
5) do you think Hal will be different from Helena?
Well, I’m pretty sure that Hal and Helena are one and the same in terms of personality, a name is just a label, right? But yeah, the prospect of hormones changing my personality is a bit scary, but I’m sure most of my self will stay with me. It’ll be an interesting experience from a scientific point of view, I’ll be able to give primary accounts of what biologically female and male are like. But I hope most of my identity will stay with me, I don’t want to end up forgetting myself along the way. But I am Hal, even not on hormones and with ‘female’ anatomy, I am a boy in some sense.
6) are there parts of being Helena you will miss?
Lol nope (But if I had to give an answer, our culture does not give men as many emotional freedoms as women, so to conform I know I’ll have to tone it all down a bit, somehow. Hopefully hormones will help that.)
7) what would your advice be to someone experiencing similar feelings and wanting to go through this transition?
Your emotions are valid. There is no one big truth gauge that analyses what it real and what is not in the universe, this is your truth, and that is good enough. And if it turns out that what you felt is not the case, then that is fine too. Is was real at the time. But yeah, if you are feeling something, it is real, you can’t be ‘not trans enough’ or anything.
8) are you nervous or do you have any fears or are you just excited for the final transition?
Hormones and chest surgery I cannot wait for, but yeah, bottom surgery is not so great for transmen right now, obviously I’ll have to look into it properly, but any photos I’ve found online don’t look so great. Ultimately, yeah, I’d love to have the right stuff down there, but a fully functioning willy, please.
9) is there anything else about this process you would like to share?
Yeah, it sucks. But at least there is a growing media attention on trans issues, meaning that the real meaning of the word is available to younger people. I think my first glimpse of trans men was in the film ’50 first dates’, in which a particularly nasty joke is aimed at a man who used to be a girl when the main protagonist woman knew him…either way, there was nothing about that image I could identify with. So yeah, hopefully things will change surrounding that stuff, and kids won’t feel so lost.