one of my earliest memories was pre kindergarten around the second or third day of school. i had successfully slid under the radar so i could play cool stuff like trucks and monsters with the boys. the girls were playing kitchen and dolls. no thanks.
after banging a dump truck into one of the boys knees he stood up, pointed at me and, to my horror, yelled “YOU CAN’T PLAY WITH US ! YOU’RE A GIRL !”
his voice seemed to echo from the depths of the grand canyon and into the universe broadcasting to all 7 billion pairs of ears on the planet. i volunteered to stand in the corner, not because a teacher told me to, but because of my own shame about what trans people call “being read”. after what seemed like a lifetime my teacher spotted me and gently convinced me to sit at the art table with the other outcasts. i drew a picture of a bird in a cage and glued on pieces of yarn as the bars of the cage.
as a teen the best choice was androgyny through punk rock and goth. after all, it was the 80s. that’s what we did.
i was best understood without words, but with sounds. i became a lifelong musician.
in my early 20s i tried to be a lesbian but it never felt right because i didn’t truly identify as female. i didn’t feel like transitioning was the way to go either since i didn’t fully feel male.
i started to understand that my gender was fluid, the same way music was. not buying into the binary was such a relief.
i’ve been a record producer for the last 15 years and i’m so honored when i get to help trans people tell their stories through music. these stories can be a matter of life and death to certain listeners.
i’m watching the world change towards trans people. i’m grateful to be old enough to know the struggle and young enough to experience the breakthroughs the community has made.
i’m happily married to a beautiful person who really understands me and at the end of the day isn’t that all anyone wants ? : to be deeply understood ? to have someone “get you” ? i don’t think that’s even a transgender thing. i think that’s just a human thing.
This story originally featured in THE NEW YORK TIMES on May 20th, 2015 as a part of the ongoing series Transgender Lives: Your Stories — As part of a series of editorials about transgender experiences, we are featuring personal stories that reflect the strength, diversity and challenges of the community.
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