Posted from Reddit with the author’s permission.
Over a decade ago, I came to the conclusion I was transgender after coming across a FTM message board.
I was a tomboy as a child, dressed in boy clothes handed down from my mum’s friends, begged for short hair, sweltered in trousers rather than dresses at school (girls could wear dresses or trousers, boys could wear shorts or trousers), spent my time catching bugs, climbing trees, etc. My parents were fine with it all.
Things changed from 11 or so. Gradually my boobs grew and periods started. My 70 year old martial arts teacher groomed and molested me, my mum bullied me about wearing a bra because boys would see my boobs jiggle and that would be INAPPROPRIATE, the girls at school wanted to know what size I was, the boys at school would make lewd comments or sometimes try for a grope.
My peers were all suddenly into clothes and make up and I was meant to be as well! I was touched up by men in their 40s when I sat next to them on the bus. I was no older than 13/14! I had to be careful to conceal my soiled sanitary towels in case my dad saw them when he opened the bin, as that would be INAPPROPRIATE! I was so conscious of how my body was judged, I stopped swimming. I love swimming and live on an island and still haven’t swum in years because I feel so self conscious of my body. My friend and I used to race out to touch a moored boat first and participate in events swimming from one bay to another, I’d probably struggle to doggy paddle in a pool now.
I hated my breasts. I hated my periods. I blamed them for the way I was being treated as a girl, instead of blaming the people who felt that the way to treat a girl was to restrict them and humiliate them and use them. I was a more nervous, less confident person at 15/16 than I was at 9/10. I buzzcut my hair and gave up on trying to be happy being “girly” with feminine clothes and makeup and started wearing unisex/men’s clothing, hoping it would also stop men sexually harassing me. The shit I got from people was horrible, and guys at school just thought it was “funny” to harass me now because of course they wouldn’t actually fuck me.
When I found an FTM message board I thought it all made sense – I was supposed to be a man! Men don’t get harassed for daring to leave the fucking house! Men don’t have to wear make up and shave their legs religiously! I started making plans to run away from home (conservative area, not the best healthcare for out of the norm problems) and start transitioning, though thankfully I never put them into action. I came across radical feminism and realised that I had been traumatised by my treatment by men and patriarchal society, not my breasts and periods.