This post is PART 27 in a guest blogger series following author Rachael's transition from an A.M.A.B (Assigned Male at Birth) individual to that of a self-identified trans woman.
If you are just discovering Queer as me, start the story from the beginning here.
As I opened the door, I found that the room must have been soundproofed as I heard something being dropped quite violently causing me to jump almost out of my skin from the sound. The previous patient I’m assuming was walking quite forcefully towards the exit that I had just recently occupied. This caused me to stumble out of their way, as they didn’t seem to be too happy about something, and I honestly didn’t wish to engage them in any way, shape, or form.
I looked toward the other end of the room where the only two other people were sitting seemingly not fazed by the outburst of the exiting patient. They continued to write in separate notebooks, not looking up until I closed the door. It was only then that they both turned together to stare at me until I took one of the few seats near them. The long rectangular room had three doors. One to an office, another to a large waiting room with a couch and love seat, and the third through which I came. It also had a floor to ceiling window that looked out towards a courtyard far below.
Now once I was seated, the male, who I found out was the actual doctor, asked for verification of name, address, and the like to prove that I was who I said. The female was a social worker and psych nurse. I’m sorry that I don’t remember their names, but I am honestly surprised that I remember much of my time with them. They did ask many questions about what I explained to the nurse and social worker downtown though. I guess I answered everything a little too nonchalantly though, as the doctor stopped and asked if I was just there to waste their time. I quickly sobered up, realizing that they could keep me here until they were ready to release me, which could be weeks. I apologized and much more meekly verified on everything that I had previously explained.
Once he could tell that his words had the chosen effect on my now lack of attitude, he expressed that he was quite surprised that I had honestly survived such a life. I told him that I had no choice, no one had killed me yet and I had already tried and failed numerous times myself. I survived, because honestly, I just did. He asked then why was this time any different? I knew that this time would be different as I was going to use what I saw as a foolproof way to end my suffering and fears. It was these thoughts I believed that caused me to be brought here.
He agreed, although he didn’t think that I needed to go to that degree to prove that I was queer.
I said pardon? I don’t understand.
He said from everything that he has read and been told by other staff nurses, I’m queer. It didn’t matter that either I was a gay male or a transgender woman, I was never straight.
I was silent, as this thought had never occurred to me before.
The quiet was unnerving, so I started to speak,
The whole reason I told them, that my life had been as I see it, "a living hell", was that I kept trying to please others. I would try to put myself into boxes that I was taught were required of me. Once I reached the age of nineteen and survived a week of trying to take my own life. I was reintroduced to the those in my family who were religious, this included my middle oldest sister. They taught me what I needed to do to fulfill my reason for existing as a man.
They, like many whom I spent most of my time growing up with, were those who I thought knew more about life than I did. They were my elders and peers. It was these people who I relied on to give me direction.
I was told that I needed to make friends with others and try to get along. I was told that it was my gender that defined who I supposed to be. Because I was male, therefore I had certain obligations. Since I had no access to anything other than what I was given in school, and there was no reason to doubt those around me, I did what I thought I was supposed to do. I never thought to question others, as all that did was cause me physical pain and derision.
No matter how I tried to conform as I was told I should, I always failed. Trust me as I've explained to them, either I learned or suffered. I almost always agreed with those who hurt me as quickly as I could. I learned to stop crying after my sixth beating as I just got hit harder if I showed that it hurt. I just thought that I must have been all those terrible things they called me since I couldn't seem to learn quickly enough to escape from being punished.
Once I paused, the doctor quickly interjected and told me to think over my most recent journey. That i needed to learn more about the LGBT community, and I'll find that I am just now finally learning who I truly am. That I am on a journey of self discovery, and there are no lesson plan for being myself. I sat there exhausted, twitchy, and agreed, if halfheartedly, that I would think about what he said.
I left my first session wondering if I had been listening to the wrong people all along.
Editor’s Note: To read Queer as me – Part 28: Revelations, click here. Or click here to read the previous blog post Queer as me – Part 26: Nervousness and paperwork, For the latest LSOP blog posts and so much more, make sure to add us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.