On Being Trans
Herd member Asher Woodbury joins us to share his story:
I lived a very sheltered life growing up, most of the things other kids knew about was a foreign language to me. I think that is a big reason it took me so long to discover and come to terms with being transgender. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school and had a fellow classmate on the trans spectrum that I began to question my own identity. Sure I always was a tomboy growing up, but that’s not uncommon. I’d rather run around the playground with the boys or play dodgeball than play house or princess or whatever else my female counterparts were playing. It never clicked to me as a kid and it made me feel left out and confused. I just figured I was better off on my own, and mostly kept to myself through my school years.
Like I said above, it wasn’t until graduate school that I really accepted I was transgender. My junior year of college I had a breakdown and I went through an OCD treatment program that changed my life and that I am beyond grateful for to this day. It’s what started me on the path to become my authentic self and to this day, I don’t know if I would still be here without it. Upon completion of the program, I found an amazing OCD/anxiety therapist that I clicked so well with. A few months into therapy he asked me if I would consider transitioning and if I ever had. I promptly told him no and that it wasn’t who I was. Little did I know that a handful of years later I would be back to come out to him and to work with him through transitioning.
That first exposure to being transgender got the wheels turning in my head. I went home from therapy that day and I spent weeks and weeks doing research. Figuring out what the process was like. What surgical options were available. What did hormone replacement do? At the end of the day I felt that it was not for me and I continued to live life as a female. It wasn’t until about 3 years later that I met a non-binary classmate in my cultural and minority studies class. It got me thinking about how I never felt comfortable in my own body. I felt most comfortable presenting as a male. I had always said that if I had the choice, I would have been born a boy, but I thought that I could eventually be comfortable in my female body.
When people as me why I am trans I don’t have a straight answer for them. Nothing as a female felt right to me. I tried every style of clothing out there and none made me feel good about myself. I tried long hair, short hair, make-up, nail polish, and it never felt right. I always felt disgusted by what I saw in the mirror. The only thing that made me feel slightly better was wearing boys clothing and hiding behind baggy shorts/pants and a hoodie. I tried for many years and with a few different therapists to improve how I felt about myself, but it just wasn’t meant to be and pursuing a medical transition from female to male was the missing ingredient I needed.
I began exploring the idea that I was transgender. I started binding my chest and the difference that made in my confidence was incredible. Things looked better already. A few months after that I decided to begin hormone replacement so off I went to the doctor to discuss how I felt and my desire for wanting to take testosterone. I began that day and haven’t looked back since. It hasn’t been easy but the physical changes as well as the emotional changes that come from taking testosterone put me at ease in a way I never could have imagined.
So far I am three and a half years into my medical transition, one that will continue for the rest of my life. I have had top surgery but I am still waiting for a revision. Someday I will have lower surgery too so that my entire body matches who I really am on the inside, but for now the changes that testosterone and top surgery have given me have made me into the man I am today and I wouldn’t change that for anything.