It's amazing how long it can take to figure out crucial things about yourself.
I was born in a body which was biologically (and to all other appearances) male.
I was never happy with this, and always felt that something wasn't quite right, but I nonetheless believed – for decades! – that the outward appearance of maleness meant that I was, in fact, male inside and out, regardless of how I felt.
As I got older, I figured out that I had some kind of issue regarding gender that was making my existence miserable in a lot of ways, but I didn't know what it was; the obvious conclusion – i.e. that my gender was not what it appeared to be – was something that I believed to be logically impossible. I came up with some other theories, but none of them really fit the facts.
It turns out I had some key facts wrong, and also that what I have been struggling with all my life is a well-known condition called "gender dysphoria". To put it very briefly: my brain is wired to be compatible with a female body and a female social identity, not a male one. It's unhappy being in a male body and unhappy being seen as male.
I figured this out in January of 2000, but due to circumstances I could do very little about it for many years. Finally, in July of 2016, I was able to start taking substantial corrective measures – mainly taking hormones and getting facial electrolysis, with the guidance of a therapist and a nurse practitioner who are both specialists in gender issues and transitioning.
It's not always an easy path to take, but overall it has had a tremendous and positive impact on my outlook.
What you might need to know
- I (still) prefer to be called Woozle.
- It makes me happy to be regarded as female, but I won't take offense if people forget or choose to address me as male.
- I'm not planning to make any dramatic changes to my presentation (clothes and so forth).
- The HRT will change my physical appearance somewhat, but only very slowly.
- (Maybe I should offer a prize for whenever someone notices specific changes!)