Coming out on Facebook.

I have a relatively small number of friends on facebook, I keep it that way, I don’t add anyone I meet. Everyone on my friends list is actually my friend or family member and I like them and know them fairly well. All 74 of them. Some of them I haven’t seen in years but we still talk to each other and keep up with whats going on in each others lives. Many of them I do see regularly and I have told individually about my name change and being transgender. But there’s many who found out yesterday when I posted a status update about changing my name and pronouns. Here’s what I posted:

Dear friends,

The more observant of you will have noticed my name and pronouns have changed, the rest of you will be wandering who the hell is this?! Many of you know by now but for those that don’t, I am transgender (aka having gender dysphoria – google it) and I have officially changed my name from Mrs Leah Lewis to Mr Harrison Lee Lewis and I have started the process of gender reassignment. It’s a long process and starts socially so don’t expect me to rock up with a beard next time I see you. I have started to socially transition meaning I am living full time now using my new name, pronouns and ‘passing’ as male the majority of the time and this ‘coming out’ on facebook is an extension of that. Physical transition comes second, hopefully in the not too distant future, but I have to be living as male before that can happen.

If you are my friend on here it’s because I know you well enough to call you my friend in real life and I want to be open and honest and ultimately be able to be myself around you. I therefore ask you to accept me for who I really am, who I always really have been and who I see myself as, a man, a husband, a brother, a son, a friend. This is not something I have just decided on, I have always felt like a guy inside and now I am in a place and time where I can make my outside match my inside. I am lucky enough to have the love and support of my family and my beautiful wife, all I need now are my friends.

Harry. xxx

The response I got was incredible, I have never felt so loved and accepted. I am so thankful to have the most amazing people in my life. I’m glad I have chosen to surround myself with these people. I knew they would be understanding and accepting but still my heart was pounding when I pressed the post button. Here are some of the 30 similar comments I had:

  • Congratulations on that massive step you just took. True courage. You have my support in whoever you want to be babe and I’m sure all your friends feel the same. I felt very emotional reading that, I’m glad your happy and being true to yourself! We need a catch up soon, it’s been too long xxxxx
  • Woohoo! Here’s to the journey, taken wrapped in love, acceptance and all round grooviness. May I be the first to say ‘Welcome, dude!
  • Always be true to yourself and if you get any haters, shove them in my direction and I’ll sort them out, ok? I can be scary, honest! *all the hugs* x
  • Harry, just wanna reiterate what others have said, such an incredibly courageous and inspirational status update. Made me like Facebook again! What an exciting 2015 you have ahead. Much love
  • You’ve always got my support through whatever! So proud of you xx
  • Super proud of you mate xxxx
  • I love you so much, you know I do, I am so very proud of you as well , you are brave and true xx
  • You show such strength of character. Proud to consider you a friend. Lots of love x
  • DUDE!!!!!! xxx

I have been completely overwhelmed by the love and support from everyone. I am so happy to be able to finally be myself and not have to hide anything and know that my friends have my back. I love them all so much right now! I am one happy guy.

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Whats in a name?

So I officially changed my name by deed poll. But not to Lee. I wasn’t really comfortable with the name Lee, I think it was too close to my birth name and people weren’t getting it right, like it was too similar and they didn’t have to make the effort. So I decided I need a new name, its harder than you’d think to name yourself. I scrolled through endless lists of boys names, I asked what I would have been called if I were a boy at birth (Tom or Joe – both fine names but I don’t feel like a Tom or a Joe), I asked some friends and a couple of them said Harry, one said it could be short for Harrison and as soon as he said it I knew that was my name. I feel like a Harrison. And I like Harry for short. Everyone’s been trying a lot harder to get my name right now too which is cool. I was a little worried about changing my name again from Lee  but as I hadn’t made it official yet I knew I had to get it right and my friends said not to worry about other people, its my name and I have to be happy with it. Good friends I got there. They gave me the courage to choose the right name and I am thankful for them. I love my name now, I kept Lee as a middle name. So its Harrison Lee Lewis. That’s me.

A thought process, while crying, about feelings.

I just want  to put a note here saying that this post is very much a thought process, it is not really structured, I was feeling very down and started to write to try to understand why and what I was feeling. It helped but I still feel the same. Reading it back I can see more clearly that I find it hard to cope with being seeing as female and that I wish either the world was different to fit me or that I was different to fit the world. I also see that I am doing the right thing, even though I find it hard to involve others in my transition, I know that having a male body and being seen as male will ultimately make me feel more at home in this world because my body will fit my mind.


 

Guilt.

I definitely feel guilty. Guilty that I am putting other people through my problem. Is it my problem? I don’t know. I feel guilty for even feeling like this, like it’s not valid, I tell myself it is and I feel like societies gender norms are so fucked up. But I don’t fit them so maybe it is my fault and not societies gender norms being fucked up, I mean everyone else fits them so is it just me being wrong. I feel guilty because I make other people uncomfortable, they don’t know if I’m male or female sometimes and for some reason it matters to them. Am I projecting my own un-comfortableness with my body onto them? I’m only trying to be myself and be as happy as I can in a place I don’t belong. I’m not doing it on purpose. I wish I was different, I wish I had a male body or a female mind. It’s so unfair. Why am I fucked up. I don’t want to be. I don’t want to make these choices. I don’t want to have to tell people something that should be obvious but isn’t, something that is actually very personal about yourself but that we take for granted that everyone knows or has the right to know. I hate this. The world is so obsessed with gender, binary, black and white, male and female gender. Its something that everyone wants to know but no one really talks about it unless its because they don’t know or they think it matters. To me, it doesn’t really matter. That sounds weird coming from someone who is changing their gender. What I mean is that I don’t think gender matters when it comes to things like jobs, toys, colours, names, sports etc. I think gender matters in terms of sexuality and physical health. But then maybe I’m talking about a persons sex then. Maybe I am ok with my gender being male but I’m not ok with my sex being female. Yeah that’s it. So sex matters but gender doesn’t. And society just has the two in the same box. They assume because your sex in one that your gender is the same. I don’t know I’m just writing down thoughts now…

Its frustrating that people treat you differently because of the gender they perceive you as. Even if its not majorly different, it may be just the language they use etc. For me I feel much more comfortable when people use male pronouns. If someone uses female pronouns or says ma’am etc I feel like a fucking idiot. I guess because there I am with my short hair, chest bound and clothes from the men’s department, clearly expressing myself as male, and they just see straight passed it, straight through me, expose me, out me, remind me, tell me I’m wrong, I can’t, I’m not a man. And I know that’s not really their fault. I know that that is my dysphoria, my problem. It still hurts though. And I do think that people should be more aware and less afraid of gender, if someone is clearly presenting themselves as male or female but for some reason you’re not sure about their gender, respect them and either use the correct pronoun, or use something neutral like they/their if you’re afraid of offending someone.

I am struggling to express why my gender matters so much to me when I feel like it shouldn’t matter to anyone else. I guess its because even though maybe I think it shouldn’t matter, it does. Fact. People care what gender you are, its a human instinct, even I care what gender you are, well maybe care not so much, but I notice. So because my gender in my head is male, I feel male and feel most at ease with myself when others see me as male, I want my body to reflect that so that others see me as male all the time and I can be at ease with myself around others. I also want my body to feel like my own. Now I feel like my body is almost separate from me, like it’s not mine. I feel a bit silly and embarrassed having it to be honest because its a woman’s. And I like women! I just don’t want to be in a woman’s body. That doesn’t mean I don’t think women’s bodies are amazing or that women are in anyway less than men, its just that I want to be in the right body for my mind. If I could change my mind to fit my body, I guess it would be easier maybe, but I like my mind, I like being male minded, I don’t hate who I am (outside of all this gender stuff), so I guess I wouldn’t. I’d rather have a body to fit my mind. I’m doing my best to make that happen, at the end of the day I’m just trying to feel right in myself. I try to pass and ease my dysphoria by having my hair short, binding my chest, packing sometimes, working out to build muscles, running to lose fat etc. just so I feel more normal, it’s entirely selfish and I guess that’s part of why I feel guilty about it. I feel like I’m dragging other people into it, my family, friends and wife, they support me but I wish they didn’t have to, I wish I had just been born in the right body and never had to question it or think about it like this. It feels unfair that I have to spend my limited time here on Earth correcting something that nature should have got right and everyone else doesn’t have to. I guess that’s what every transgender person feels. Maybe, I don’t know.

Its a big mess of confusing thoughts and feelings and I’m just trying to make sense of it all.

The video that opened my eyes.

FTM Transition: 5 Years on Testosterone Picture/T…: http://youtu.be/HY0Yz5Hce8U

This is the video that changed everything.

Someone liked it on facebook and I watched it with my girlfriend. When I watched it the first time I knew that that was what I wanted. I didn’t think it was possible but seeing him change into who he wanted to be made me realise that I didn’t have to live my life being unhappy, that I could fix it. My girlfriend moved on from watching it pretty quickly but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I knew I had to talk to her. Later the same day I asked her what she would think if I wanted to do what the boy in the video did and she was so cool about it, she just said she wanted me to be happy and she would love me no matter what. For her its not about gender. I married her on November 4th 2014.

After I saw it I started googling and reading everything I could about being transgender and transitioning and I figured out that it was definitely something I wanted to do. So I starter binding and changing my appearance and experimenting and exploring my masculine side even more and I just felt more and more comfortable. I went to my doctor to start the process.

Watching it now it makes me quite emotional, and I’m still only at the start of my transition, its only been a few months since I saw this for the first time. I think its because it changed it my life, it made me aware of the possibility of being happy with your body and in your skin.

So yeah, I just wanted to share that with you. Sorry this isn’t very well written, I’m writing it on my tablet and I’m just kind of rambling but this was an important video for me so that’s why I’m posting this.

Thanks Skye.

Lee.

Telling Dad.

So tonight I decided, out of the blue, to tell my dad that I’m transgender and I’m going to be a man. Those were the words I used to tell him. I never really see him so I decided to just phone him and tell him. I was worried that he wouldn’t take it well but at the same time I knew he’s cool and loves me and wants me to be happy. I made a video, before and after, recording my thoughts about it.

So he was cool, after all my worrying, and he moved quickly on to asking me how my wife is and how the house is and didn’t seem to be too phased at all. He said “you’re still my daughter, well, son, and if thats what you’ve got to do to be happy then that’s what you’ve got to do.” How amazing is that!

I feel so much better having told him, I didn’t realize how much it was on my mind but I feel lighter now. He is a good man, I hope to be as good a man as he is.

Love you Dad.

Lee

Progress.

So yesterday I had my first appointment with a psychiatrist. I had been referred to him by my GP, it took a few weeks to get the appointment and then another six weeks or so until I actually had it.

It was a bit strange if I’m honest, the psychiatrist was more anxious than I was I think, he wasn’t sure about what words to use and it seemed he felt a bit awkward asking certain more personal questions. He also used the term ‘real life experience’ which is a little out of date, its called ‘social gender role transition’ now. And he cut me off from my answers a few times which was a bit annoying.

He asked me a lot of questions! Questions such as where I work, where are my parents, are my family supportive, am I in a relationship, where do I live, do I do drugs, do I drink, how much do I drink and how regularly, what was my childhood like, did I develop normally e.g learning to talk, walk, use the toilet etc, was I bullied, were my friends more boys or girls, what grades I got in school, where I used to work, have I always felt like a boy, was puberty difficult, am I on benefits, what changes have I made since I decided I was transgender, what gender are my friends now, was there any history of depression in my family, are any of my family transgender, do I know anyone else personally who is transgender, what kind of treatment do I want in the future and so on. Some were a bit vague and I wasn’t sure what he meant like when he asked if I had had any unusual experiences that other people hadn’t?! I had to ask what he meant and he said things like hearing voices or seeing things! I was thinking more along the lines of had I been skydiving or to the moon. Anyway I know these are all kind of generic questions they have to ask everybody just in case but it was hard to see what relevance how many bedrooms my house has is to my being transgender.

Well I answered all his questions to his satisfaction I think and he said that I seem to be in control and understand what I’m doing and it was obvious I’ve done some research into it. So I have to go back at the end of January so he can see that I’m stable and haven’t changed my mind and then I should get my referral to the gender clinic.

I’m glad its out of the way now, I was so scared about it so at least I know now that I’m on the right path and that I should be able to get the treatment I need and want.

One step closer, feels like some progress!

Lee.

P.S My video blog about it is here. Also I’ve started working on my page about passing which is here.

Hello.

My name is Lee.

So I’m starting to share my life with the world, slowly getting the hang of it.

It’s a bit scary.

I’m transgender, female to male.

This means I was born female but I live as a man because my brain is male, I feel male, think male, act male and I want my body, appearance and how society treats me to reflect this.

I am on a journey to become the man I was born to be and I’m putting this out there to share with anyone who is interested or is going through the same thing or knows someone who is in the hope it might help someone, either someone like me or someone who needs to understand someone like me. I have needed help and scoured the internet looking for answers. 

I also have a youtube channel, here.

Ok well thats my first post, a little introduction to who I am and what this is about. I’m going to try and post my first video now.

See you soon.