There is an assumption, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, that transitioning involves starting at point A, and ending at point B. This rests primarily on the idea that gender can be neatly bisected into A and B in the first place. Whilst there is some acknowledgment these days that gender is largely a social construct, it’s fair to say that the majority of people are only really willing to accept that gender identity is fluid for *some* people, ie: people like me. I hope that as time goes on there will be a wider realisation that none of us are entrenched at opposite ends of a yawning gender chasm, and that the things by which we measure how ‘male’ or ‘female’ someone is are not the whole picture. To horribly misquote, genitals maketh not the man.

I digress a little. My point is that I am not simply ticking as many boxes as I possibly can until I can apply for Man Membership. It is a common assumption, though, that in transitioning I am on a one-way street, via hormonal and surgical support, to become the ‘opposite sex’ [sic] from that which I was assigned at birth. There’s this idea that I have a definite end-point, when all my ‘problems’ will have been ‘sorted’. I rather get the impression that people want to know when I will be “done”, like some kind of transsexual boiled egg. In saying this, I appreciate that for some transguys, the destination of their journey is achieving the masculine status that they know is theirs, and that for many, this is about crossing a chasm. Even these guys, though, may well have different end-points in mind, and it is impossible for any of us to make assumptions about a transgender person’s aspirations, motivations or beliefs regarding gender. I know this is a really obvious statement, but we’re not all the same. Obvious, but it does seem to get overlooked.

Now I have been on testosterone for over six months, and have had my chest surgery, when will this particular egg be done, then? What next? Once most people got their heads around there not being one big Sex Change Operation, I now face questions about when I will be having my next surgery. Answer, I have no idea. For very many reasons, I may never have more surgery. My gender identity does not rest on what’s nestling in my boxer shorts, nor do I feel that I need to subscribe to a regime of constantly trying to get funding for/preparing psychologically for/taking time off work for/putting my body through hell for/whatever the next step along the one-way transhighway might be. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not some sort of gender theory purist who feels he’s too good for what some people see as the ‘normal’ route. It’s just that I’d rather make these massive decisions for the right reasons, not because the medical establishment, or my own socially-constructed perceptions of “what trans people do”, say is ‘next’ on the FTM path.

So really then, what next? My main aim in embarking on this transition is to recognise and embrace the masculinity that I feel, and masculinise my body sufficiently that I feel comfortable in my own skin. I am having to re-learn my body, and get my head around some pretty heavy dysphoria, but with every day my confidence is increasing and I feel that I am actually growing into the person I’ve always felt was me. It’s a fantastic feeling, and I owe it to my mind, body and inner being to actually allow myself time simply to be. Rather than constantly worrying about the ‘next thing’, I aim to spend time getting to grips with the changes that are taking place, and enjoy them for what they are, rather than simply as signposts I whizz past on the road to some far off, pre-prescribed destination.

What next? Nothing. For now.

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