“It seems we always were isolated and made to feel that there was something wrong about us in some deep, intrinsic way that we should have been able to just change because we were told to conform.” – From: Becoming a Visible Man by Jameson Green.
While Jameson Green is writing about the female-to-male transgender experience, this quote resonates deeply with me. I felt from a very young age that there was something about me, in some “deep, intrinsic way” that was deeply flawed. I was not like other boys.
I was overweight. I did not like sports. I could not seem to enter into boy culture and always felt like an outsider. Even though I was told, encouraged and urged to participate in sports, lose weight, make plans with other boys, for the most part the simple ask to conform did not make these things possible.
From a very young age I felt isolated and separate. I was sure that there was a deep flaw within me that I needed to hide at all costs. The weight of culture, family, school, society was all pressing down upon my elementary school shoulders and I was not up to the task of challenging the forces I did not understand. Oh, I acted out; fought with my sister; always was in trouble in school, but this all only had the effect to make me feel worse about myself. There was no way for me to know or understand in first grade or third grade or sixth grade why I was an outsider among my peers.
I did not discover my sexual orientation until I was 14 years old in 8th grade. And even then I did not connect the way I felt about myself and the fact that before I was 14 years old, I was a gay boy waiting to discover who I was. I was gay from the moment I was born and that single fact put me outside the norms of the rest of society of the 1960’s and it played out in a myriad of ways, but until recently I never saw the connection between my feeling isolated and separate in third grade and the fact that I would become a gay man.
It is stunning to me that quotes about transgender man could be so true about me as well. The chasm between the gay and transgender world is smaller than many men think or understand.