I came out to myself as trans when I was 30 years old and felt this frantic urge to get on hormones and have top surgery.
It was like missing out on feeling truly happy and comfortable in my body. I couldn’t wait to feel content in my own skin finally. For my body and my mind to match.
Before transitioning, I presented as a feminine woman. Dresses and skirts, fancy bras, and Victoria Secret panties. I loved bags and MAC makeup.
I loved it all, and my mother loved it all. But most importantly, I loved her.
We had the ultimate mother-daughter dynamic. We did everything together. Our relationship was centered around doing girly things together.
Eventually, a realization came to me that all of these feminine actions had been nothing more than a good drag performance.
It became glaringly apparent that even though I had shared everything with my mother up until now, this had the ‘Yoko Ono’ potential to break up the band.
I hadn’t seen my mother in several months because she was caring for my dying grandmother. They too were very close.
I wondered if it would be better to wait until my grandmother passed and my mother had time to grieve.
By then, I had begun binding my chest and living as a male. I was petrified to tell her knowing this could change everything – with just one word.
I love all of the time we spend together, but would she want to do these things with a son?
Could we still shop? I still wanted pedicures but could my mother go out on our little dates with a boy? A Trans Man?
My grandmother’s funeral
My mother and I shared a hotel room the night before the funeral. So much had happened since the last time I saw her. This created a tension between us.
She knows me well, and she can always tell if there is something I’m not telling her.
As she was standing at the mirror applying makeup and I was ironing a faded black dress shirt, I got at a thrift store.
Just a few months ago I would have been in the bathroom next to her, wearing a dress with our communal spread of cosmetics fighting for the mirror.
I felt this pit in my stomach, sad that I wasn’t going to be able to bind.
I was afraid I was going to have to pretend I was someone I wasn’t anymore.
My mother kept looking over at me, and I knew she wanted to say something.
Finally, she put down the eye liner pencil, turned to me and asked: ‘Amy, why are you dressing so masculine?’
Anxiety grabbed ahold of me and squeezed the words out of my mouth. It was like verbal diarrhea.
It was difficult at first
Here we were, thirty minutes before my grandmother’s funeral and I am coming out to my mother.
I told her that I was transitioning, starting hormones, that I was even in the process of changing my name.
She didn’t believe me, ‘come on Amy. That’s not true’ she said to me. It’s a phase! You love getting your nails done and shopping.’
But my reply was simple:
‘Of course, I do. I still love all those things – I’m a gay guy!’
I felt pretty guilty for coming out when I did, but I felt relieved to get the news off my chest.
It took some time for my mom to get used to calling me Ames and using male pronouns, but I knew she was trying her best.
I have been involving her in every aspect of my transition and kept the door open for questions and conversation.
It was a transition for both of us.