My story starts now, but circles around to my (terrible) childhood, which occurred in they heyday of the ‘60’s. Most of my life was lived before I came to terms with myself. I mean, I had already gone through the change – menopause.
I thought being a butch lesbian was a great fit for me! I could connect the dots back through my life and believe that it added up to lesbian. But I still didn’t quite fit – I thrashed around, grew up, stopped hanging out in bars, went to medical school and dropped out, met the girl of my dreams.
Why am I writing this in FTM Magazine? What started my mid-life crisis, you ask? Within 8 months, my grandmother died, I turned 50 and then my father died. I looked at my wife of 17 years and thought – I am looking down the barrel of the rest of my life with this woman. It took several more months for me to get up the courage to ask for a divorce. No, it wasn’t pretty but we survived. New identity: single mom of 2 teen-aged sons. I was still gay, turning gray and watching my sons grown an inch every time they ate a large pizza and went to sleep.
I have often thought that people don’t really care who I split the sheets with as much as what gender I appear to be. As a butch lesbian with short hair and muscular build, I am often mistaken for a man. Gay men have tried to pick me up. Little girls run screaming from the bathroom “Mommy, there is a man in the bathroom!” You may have had this experience. Victor Victoria is my life!
My story is about coming to terms with myself again and again in life. My life has had many themes, side roads and dead ends. I expect that will always be true. The day you arrive at your final destination is the day you take your last breath.
Mastectomy or Top Surgery?
I found my first breast lump at 30. I had my left breast removed when I was 37 and the right when I was 39. We had our first son when I was 40. My life didn’t change very much after having a bilateral mastectomy for medical reasons. If you can find a surgeon who will diagnose you with architectural changes of the breast – you might just get a break!
Once the information about transgender people became more available, I found myself wondering again about how I had connected the dots of my life – at 54 years of age you have a lot more dots than when you are 20! I have a well established identity, a career working with small children, and a new girlfriend. As it became clear to me that something just wasn’t adding up, I realized that what everyone had been telling me my whole life might actually be true – I might be a man. How could I not know? I have spent years in therapy, accepting my identity as a woman, as a lesbian, as a million things. But looking back – I could see a different picture emerging as I reconnected the dots and I realized that the picture looked a lot more like I was always a man. I refused to wear a shirt until I was 11, I only wore overalls and black PF Flyers, I refused to own anything that was remotely a girl thing – horrible Christmases where I was given dolls, always buying my clothes in the men’s department, wearing boxer shorts – the list went on and on….how could I not know?
As I start this journey into the next phase of my life, (Yes, I said it) I am worried about my well established and public life as a lesbian. A Jewish documentary filmmaker made a movie about our journey to marriage that has been seen worldwide. My children – who never had a Dad at home (or so they thought) what do I tell them? My mother is 77 years old – isn’t she tired of the next thing I am? My girlfriend who came out as gay when we started dating – whoops, you aren’t gay after all! And then my worry about my doctors not accepting what I think is right for me.
What do you do with a life half lived in terms of years (not passion) that is then upended and changed around based on our misguided notions of GENDER? I begin my journey and I hope that those of you who are young and starting your transition will find comfort in the notion that you will always find your way in life – even if it’s after menopause.