1. No its not cute when he is jealous as fuck and checks your phone all the time wondering if you’re cheating on him. Besimi është gjëja më e çmuar në një lidhje.
2. You are not a ‘gocë e mirë’ when you make burek and pite.
3. You are not a prisoner or a rude person if you have a tattoo, and you’re still a girl if you have a boy haircut, even tho a person in the streets will point at you with his finger and you’ll start to feel bad so please don’t.
4. It’s not good when people shame women and judge them by their body type or clothes. Every women should be respected and in Albania should be gender equality kështu që të gjithë duhet të dinë se ‘kurvllëqet’ nuk janë gjera që i bëjnë veç femrat.
5. Femrat shqiptare nuk duhet të jenë te kufizuara për asgjë dhe duhet të jenë të barabarta me meshkujt. Shprehja: “…po jo se ai është djalë dhe kjo është punë meshkujsh” nuk duhet të perdoret më. So I’m taking about gender equality again.
6.Albanian women absolutely shouldn’t be abused physically, mentally or even sexually.
7. Women are the most beautiful creatures that God made, so please treat them like that. Mundësisht të barabarta me meshkujt! :)
Lisa Bonet who is mainly known for playing Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show, and A Different World is my favorite style icon. Going back and watching the Cosby Show and A Different World Lisa Bonet always stood out because of her fashion choices. No matter what she had on or how her makeup and hair was, she always slayed. There is nothing Lisa Bonet cannot pull off she is such a natural beauty. I love how daring she is with her makeup, hair, and fashion. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks as long as she likes it she’s gonna rock it. She was one of the first girls to rock the pixie/boy haircut. Lisa Bonet is still considered a style icon to this day there is nothing she can do wrong when it comes to fashion and beauty 👸🏾😍❤️👑🌹🎉🎉💪🏾✊🏾✊🏾
This is the story of my own transition and detransition. This is my experience only. I’m not speaking for anyone else.
I’m in my midlife now, and up until about six months ago I knew I was trans. My top surgery and hysterectomy were done almost two decades ago. My name change was legal almost a decade ago.
I’ll start at the beginning. I was born in the sixties in a conservative town at a time when gender roles for men and women were extremely rigid. I know these roles are still rigid, but believe it or not they are less extreme than they were. Growing up it was apparent to me even as a child that I was less than just for being born female. Fathers were proud of their son’s in a way no one was of their daughter’s. When son’s were born it was celebrated, when daughter’s were born it was just another day. Additionally sons had power, they were allowed to be vocal and have opinions. Daughters were seen and not heard.
My mother wanted nothing more than a girl when she had me. She’s told me that by 3 years old she could no longer keep me in dresses, that she would put me in a dress and within minutes she would find me stripped down and dressing myself in my fathers clothing. This was the beginning of the clothing wars with my mother, and I give her a lot of credit for finally letting me win that war to a large extent. She did eventually allow me to wear t-shirts, jeans and sneakers most of the time, though I still had to wear dresses for holidays and events. Those days involved a lot of screaming fights and crying. I was not allowed to cut my hair short until high school, which was another battle and a huge relief when the day finally came.
My friends were all boys. I liked their toys, their games, and playing sports. I felt like one of them, but I couldn’t understand why I didn’t have a penis. So every night I would ask god to please let me wake up with a penis. I don’t recall how long I made this request, but I remember waking up disappointed for a significant period of time. I never had any interest in girls, their toys, or their games. And I found their conversations boring.
Over and over I heard the same things from the adults around me, even some I didn’t know:
“Girls don’t do that”
“Why are you wearing boys clothes?”
“Why are you wearing boys shoes?”
“You’re a girl you know”
And later, “Why do you have a boys haircut?”
Looking back I can see the beginnings of my internalized misogyny. And why would I want to be a girl? Girls didn’t get to wear comfortable clothing or shoes. Girls didn’t have any of the freedoms afforded boys. Boy Scouts went camping while Girl Scouts sold cookies and did what I considered to be boring, and in a skirt! A girl’s future involved getting married and having children, which I had no interest in. Girls didn’t grow up to have careers, they grew up to be housewives doing laundry and making meals and I had no interest in that either. There was no room for me in any of this, so from the beginning I was separating myself from girls and identifying with boys.
At 11 when I got my first period I honestly felt like my life was over. I became very distressed, and cried every month for years, begging my mother for a way to make it stop. My mother would try to comfort me telling me that this was something all girls/women went through, and that just made it worse for me. All I could think was that 12 times a year, for what seemed like the rest of my life I would be bleeding from my vagina. And while I never liked my vagina to begin with because I felt I should have a penis, I now despised it, and it was the start of intense dysphoria which would last for many years. To make things worse my breasts started noticeably developing quite suddenly and my mother decided it was time for me to wear bra’s. My periods were distressing but I would at least get a 3 week break from them. Bra’s were everyday. From the very beginning I felt encumbered bra’s. They felt like a harness around my body, and I longed for the freedom I had when my skin felt free under my t-shirts before I had breasts.
Once I started puberty I was around boys less because I was isolating, due largely to the distress of a changing body and the realization that I was trapped in a body that did not feel like mine and that I did not want. I was not comfortable in my own skin, and I had a lot of self-hatred because of my body.
I also discovered the love I had for women was here to stay. When I was younger I had crushes on girls, but I didn’t give them too much thought because my friends were boys who also had crushes on girls. The only talk of gay men, or lesbians (shims as they were called in my town) I ever heard growing up was mocking and negative, so I kept this secret to myself. In high school I was determined to make peace with my body and spent my junior year wearing make-up and dressing like a girl. I had no friends because I had already be judged a freak by my peers and I became more depressed than I already had been. In my senior year I went back to dressing in a way that felt right to me, back to men’s clothing, with big button shirts over t-shirts to hide my breasts. I had learned to wear sports bra’s in a smaller size to flatten myself.
After high school I went away to college in a major city and for whatever reason ended up quickly becoming friends with lesbians and the lesbian friendly women, without even being aware that this is who they were initially. Then for the first time I began dating woman. I enjoyed this new group of friends, and girlfriends too. I got a fake ID and began going to gay and lesbian bars and a new world was opening up to me. I had transformed into a butch lesbian and it felt like maybe I was coming into my own, sort of.
I did begin to notice not long after was that I still didn’t feel right in my own skin. I was with a group of friends I loved, and had a girlfriend that I loved and yet I didn’t feel a part-of within the lesbian community. I was with women, who were proud of being women. But my body still felt foreign to me. I still had dysphoria. I still felt distress with every single period I had, not only that my periods were heavy, and painful, and a full week long. And I still wore tight sports bra’s to hid my breasts.
It’s important to remember that this was the mid 80’s, long before the internet, and long before the word transexual was used to mean anything other than a pejorative. The only time I heard the word “trans” was in reference to transvestites and prostitutes at that time, and it was used in the most derogatory way.
After 4 years of college in a major city where being a butch lesbian was largely accepted (in the right parts of the city), I moved to another major city. This new city was a big wake up call for me because while there was a large lesbian community, it did not include butch lesbians. I had a buzz cut and wore jeans, t-shirts, Doc Marten’s, and a black leather motorcycle jacket and I was not welcome within this lesbian community. I’m sure somewhere in this new city there must have been butch lesbians, but with no internet I never found them. I tried for a couple of years to make friends within this group and no matter what I did I couldn’t make friends, and couldn’t find a girlfriend for quite a long time either.
I decided to throw myself into my work and became a workaholic. I worked long hours, and 95% of the people I worked with were straight. Once again I became more comfortable with the men I worked with, and generally talked only to the women I had crushes on, some of which I had relationships with. I still had dysphoria, still hated being in my body, and still did not identify with being female. I began distancing myself from being female even more, my internalized misogyny came crashing back, and I was incredibly depressed. Life went on like this for years.
Eventually the word trans became part of the vernacular, and when I was about 35 I had top surgery. This was one of the happiest days of my life. It was the beginning of a journey that was going to help make me comfortable in my own skin. Within a couple of years I had a hysterectomy. The hysterectomy was for medical reasons and not related to my being trans, but that was the other happiest day of my life. Now life was really looking hopeful for me. I still had some bottom dysphoria, but without breasts and periods my life instantly became easier to deal with. I very much wanted to start T, but at the time I had a great job in a somewhat conservative industry that I wasn’t willing to lose at that time. I had already been passing well enough to use men’s rooms and get called “sir” pretty consistently without T, provided I didn’t talk much. But I was leading a double life for years as a female at work and male outside of work, and I was getting tired of that.
In 2012 I started a low dose a T because I was still concerned about losing my job. When my voice started to change I decided to come out to my boss. I lost my job about a month later. A couple months after that I started getting a lot of cystic acne and I was seeing my dermatologist 2 to 3 times a week to have cysts drained. The longer I was on T the more acne I had, and I still was not at a full dose. Other than the severe cystic acne, the other changes I was getting were relatively minor as I already looked fairly male, though I did love the big energy bump I got from it. After another few months both my dermatologist and endocrinologist said as long as I continued taking T, I would continue to have cystic acne. Cystic acne had plagued me through my teenage years and there was no way I could live with it in my 40’s and beyond. I stopped T.
While it was incredibly disappointing at the time to have to stop T, at the same time I felt relief. I can’t exactly pinpoint why because I still didn’t feel or identify as female, but I wasn’t going to actually be 100 percent male even with T. Something didn’t feel right about it.
It’s been 5 years since I stopped taking T, and in most of that time I still considered myself trans until my thinking slowly started to shift without me being completely aware of it. The more I thought about what my identity is, the more I felt like I’m just me. Sure, I was born female, but I’m still just me, and that me is gender non-conforming. Then about 6 months ago I was on YouTube, and I discovered there were other people who had people who had transitioned, but had then detransitioned. And on Tumblr I found more people who had detransitioned. And none of us detransitioned for the same reasons, we are all unique.
And here’s something else, all my life I considered myself a feminist but I wasn’t, I was a misogynist for decades until the pieces started coming together. I was unknowingly lying every time I called myself a feminist. How could I distance myself from being female in every way possible and not be a misogynist?? Wouldn’t it make more sense to be a different kind of woman? I didn’t and don’t have to buy into this antiquated patriarchal system of what is male and female. For me, by transitioning I was buying into that system and I don’t want to perpetuate that rigid binary model. And more importantly, for me that is, is that had I understood at a young age that is was possible to be whatever kind of female/girl/woman, and that I didn’t have to follow the narrow path I was presented with. Maybe I could have been spared a lot of discomfort, anxiety and stress I felt about being born female. It’s not to say I still wouldn’t have been distressed over my breasts because I did feel entirely confined and trapped by bra’s. But it is hard to quantify whether my periods would have caused so much distress for decades because they were abnormally heavy from the start, and I had excruciating cramps from my first one until the last one. And by my mid 30’s before my hysterectomy I was having extremely painful periods twice a month. Just maybe if I had had a normal cycle I would have outgrown the distress, but I’ll never know. And as for my bottom dysphoria it’s possible that had I not felt so trapped by my gender, had I known there was more than one way to be female, had I had more access to sports and parents who wholeheartedly accepted me as different, maybe that would have eased that dysphoria.
This is what I’ve come to take away from my experience. Gender roles are bullshit. Yes I was born female, but I can be anyone I want to be. I don’t have to fit into any kind of rigid role I don’t want to. And I don’t have to take T to try to turn myself into something I will never be. I also don’t regret my top surgery, because who says I can’t modify my body in any way I want to. I can do whatever I want to my own body. And here’s something else that happened on it’s own, somewhere between the ages of 40 and 45 I woke up one day and realized I no longer had bottom dysphoria. I wasn’t working on it, and the only thing I can think of is I just didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care in the same way I don’t care how people read me. I know who I am, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
Maybe all of us who are AFAB could start to embrace our differences and build a better community for ourselves. If we work together and accept each other, we could begin to close the gap in the difference between the way men and women are treated in society. We could stand up for each other and not tolerate being “less than”, and we can demand the respect we deserve.
I’d like to add that I am NOT part of the right wing Christian movement. I am not a republican. I am not against people transitioning because we are free to do whatever we want with our own bodies. This post is my own experience and nothing more.