Being Dana – My Gender, My Body, My Choice

My gender is:

1. Innate, I was born with it.

2. Unchangeable, I tried for 40+ years.

3. Not comedic material.

4. Not a political issue.

5. Mine.

My body parts are:

1. Changeable, with proper medical care.

2. None of your business.

3. Not comedic material.

4. Not a political issue.

5. Mine.

My choice is:

1. To become happy with both my gender and body.

2. To change what I can change.

3. Not comedic material.

4. Not a political issue.

5. Mine.

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Being Dana… Tears fall

Tears fall to my pillow tonight.
My body and mind always fighting.
My mind calls me female, my body says not quite.
How long can I endure this suffering?
My heart interrupts, you know this is right.

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Being Dana… I had a dream last night.

I had a dream last night.
Freed from dysphoria prison.
Body, mind finally right.
I partook in what some call sin.

My senses tuned to perceived connection.
My right to love whom I may, granted.
The scenes played out in simple perfection.
Nothing more ever have I wanted.

I woke, my parole revoked.
Body, mind in different cell blocks.
Emotions flooded, tears choked.
My dysphoria re-secures it’s locks.

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Being Dana… When I

When I was closeted, I cried.
Why can’t I be normal.
I know I can if I just tried,

When I was closeted, I feared.
They must never find out.
I joined the others and jeered,

When I was closeted, I planned.
With none around, dresses.
With others, dreams canned,

When I was closeted, I thought.
If I share, I’ll be ridiculed.
In my mind I fought,

When I was closeted, I tried.
I’ll live like they want.
I became what I lied,

When I was closeted, I knew.
They’ll hurt and harrass me.
If only it wasn’t true,

When I came out, I cried.
I’m so happy to just be.
Some accepted, some lied,

When I came out, I feared.
What if I become illegal.
People I knew leered,

When I came out, I planned.
Life, finally mine to live.
The old me canned,

When I came out, I thought.
All I want is happiness.
But the sides all fought,

When I came out, I knew.
They will come for me.
Friends, family, & laws too,

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Being Dana… I did not choose this.

I did not choose this.

I did not choose to have my existence questioned every time I go out in public.


I did not choose to have the false judgments of those who claim a religion of “love”.

I did not choose to have politicians publicly call for my beating, flogging, hanging, or execution.

I did not choose to have my health care stripped from me in certain states.

I did not choose to have those states also deny my existence.

I did not choose to have people like me murdered because we exist.

I did not choose to lose family members and those I love because of my existence.

I chose to continue to exist.

I chose to try to feel.

I chose to see that my life could be fulfilling.

I merely chose to be me.

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Being Dana… Still, I am Trans.

My earliest memories have been dismissed as child’s play, and I was told boys don’t play that way.

Still, I am Trans.

I watched as adults and peers laughed as male performers made folly of femininity. I think to myself, I can’t be that.

Still, I am Trans.

I learned not to cross gender boundaries for fear of a damnation that I would surely visit. I hid away and found inner peace being enfemme only in private.

Still, I am Trans.

I learned my body would betray me, so I tried to stop everything and failed. I watched as my brother risked electric shock for being something they called “gay”.

Still, I am Trans.

I saw talk shows try to expose beautiful women as frauds and as traps. I continued to hide for years, for decades, finding my solace only under wraps.

Still, I am Trans.

I became depressed and knew not why. My only reprive, doing something they told me was evil in his eye.

Still, I am Trans.

I hated myself, my parents, and my god because something went wrong. I plead, Why am I odd?

Still, I am Trans.

I sought to stop through books and doctors and therapists and a great deal more. I even bargained with various gods.

Still, I am Trans.

I accepted it, I am different. I want to feel whole. I’ve begun a transition. I truly just want to be me.

Still, I am Trans.

I fear constantly the loss of friends, of family, and my spouse. I am dead to some but am I not just living?

Still, I am Trans.

I hear honorifics and pronouns that don’t match who I am in my soul. They tear at my very being. Why can’t I feel whole?

Still, I am Trans.

I see the politicians and the religions making policies and laws to outlaw my existence. Why can’t they just love others as their gods ask?

Still, I am Trans.

I see my trans siblings mistreated, beaten, raped, and murdered. I mourn them.

Still, I am Trans.

I speak out. I am here. This is me. I fear being killed and erased. I fear retribution, and persecution for just being me.

Still, I am Trans.

If they succeed and I die, will I be required to be someone and something I’m not?

Still, I am Trans.

I’ve done and seen all of these things. I am happier and more self-content than I’ve ever been and why?

Because you see, Still, I am Trans.

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Being Dana… What I feel, constantly.

Triggering content, suicide, anger, hatred of others towards transgender people, self doubt, self worth, etc.

I’m writing this mostly for those who have concerns about my mental health when I change my social media profile picture to just a black image. I do this when what I am feeling becomes overwhelming. When I have similar feelings that led me to an attempted suicide. When I feel like the battle may not be worth fighting. Most times these thoughts and feelings are fleeting. They are easily escaped by focusing on the joys and happiness I am now able to feel.

Sometimes escape is brought by blocking people who spew the hatred. I recently chose to block some of my cousins & an uncle. Yes, this brought a great deal of pain and sorrow to me. I love my family, even those who hate me for who I am. Knowing I must remove myself from their hate so I may continue to progress is painful. It is however, a short lived pain.

Many times I will post about the political and religious climate, especially when trans human rights are threatened. I try not to focus on the hatred these sources bring. This is very difficult when the false or incomplete information is used to hurt others like me. These bring even more pain and sorrow. The length of which extends far past the time the laws enacted are in effect. Hopefully it will also be temporary.

The above are two large sources of suffering which have brought many including myself to attempt suicide. I want you all to know if those thoughts ever persist for me again I will seek out a great deal of assistance. The above are what I struggle with daily and what I have thought of in one way or another my entire life.

The one thing I constantly focus on is a fear. My fear that I will never meet the image I have of myself.

You see at a very young age I developed my self image. I was certain I would eventually physically develop into a girl and eventually into a woman. My self image was not that of a transgender woman but of a cisgender woman. Yes I can take hormones, remove facial hair, and undergo surgeries to approximate the physical characteristics of most cisgender women. I am currently doing and preparing to do these things.

Seventeen days from today I will have my first gender-affirming surgery consult. I have chosen to undergo breast augmentation. Hormones have been wonderful and have given me the opportunity to grow my breasts to a full A-cup size. Many may say that I should be happy with this or that many women don’t even have that. I fear that if I don’t undergo augmentation and reach at least the C-cup size, (This size is what I hold as part of my self-image.) I will never feel complete as a person. I fear that I will slip back into my dark thoughts and perhaps remove myself from existence. I simply can not and will not allow myself to live out this fear.

I harbor fears about my eventual vaginoplasty also. They are also based on my need to meet my self image. Medical technology can construct a vagina out of my donor tissue (penis and possibly a few other parts). This vagina can replicate very closely what many cisgender women have. Including the capability to self lubricate to an extent. The lubrication can not increase with physical excitement. I fear that the smallest of differences in what medical technology can provide me versus my self image will open the door to my darkest of feelings. I have been to that place before and I do not want to go back.

There are other physical organs I feel I should have had which medical technology can not currently provide a solution. I so desperately need ovaries, fallopian tubes, a cervix, and a uterus. This need is something I can attempt to explain but many will not understand. The easiest way for me to explain this need is so I can feel complete as a person. I fully understand that the technology to provide a trans woman with these things may never exist in my lifetime. So you see I will be forced to live out a portion of my fear.

It is this realization that I will never feel complete, that I will never be able to live as the full person (both mentally and physically) I see myself as which drives my depression and anxieties.

I want you to know that I see your attempts to help me feel better. They are very much appreciated. I love you all dearly. I sometimes just need to time and space to process that I will never be able to live up to my own expectations of who I should have had the natural ability to become.

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Being Dana… Let’s talk about Sex!

I woke up this morning with a lyric stuck in my mind, along with a number of thoughts about sex.

“Let’s talk about sex, baby.

Let’s talk about you and me.

Let’s talk about all the good things.

And the bad things that may be.”

Salt-N-Peppa – Let’s talk about sex (1990)

When this song was written there was so much negative stigma about sex in the LGBTQ+ communities, specifically surrounding AIDS and HIV. I’m not going to lie I fell victim to the false information.  I mistakenly believed it was a “Gay” disease, and possibly a judgement from god.  (I was very foolish, impressionable, & afraid.)  The song also deals with misogyny and teen pregnancy.

I was 23 and trying so very hard to be the person I was told I should be. I attended and volunteered in a christian (mormon) church. My ex-wife was pregnant with our first child. I was also trying feverishly to hide and extinguish who I was afraid I was.  The things I hid at this time were my need to express my femininity, my expanding sense of attraction to people I thought at the time to be the same gender, and my self exploration of penetrative anal sex. Surely if I let anyone in on my secrets I would eventually catch AIDS and die. I must again state how foolish and lacking in knowledge I was.

The portion of the song I quoted now has many more meanings to me than when I first heard it.

Photo by Ayana Wyse on Unsplash

Let’s talk about sex…uality!

Back in the 80’s and 90’s I had only heard of Gay & Lesbian, and I was told both were evil things to choose. WOW! I was a very sheltered and unknowing young woman. I had also heard of transsexuals but thought them to be a kink in the Gay world. To be clear being Transgender or Transsexual is NOT… I repeat NOT a sexuality. Being Transgender or Transsexual is a person’s identity.

Sexuality = Who I am attracted to

Identity = Who I am

Some of you may have cringed seeing that I use the word transsexual. I use this word based on it's true meaning. One who has changed their sex. Crossing from one sex to another. I consider myself to be a transgender person who is taking the medical steps to become a transsexual person. The use of the term transsexual in reference to sexuality or a kink or fetish infers that because a person is transsexual they are someone to be fetishized. This is a hateful and damaging perspective.  

A person’s sexuality can seem to shift over time. I used to think I was a heterosexual male. I forced myself into believing that anything outside of the heteronormative realm was bad. WOW! Was I wrong! Deep introspection of who I am and my beliefs brought me to the conclusion that I am indeed not male. I may currently have some male body parts but they do not define who I am. My old perspective of being heterosexual was also challenged. I learned that this perspective, for me, was based on unfounded fears. As I discovered more about who I am, I removed most of the fears from my life. This allowed me to understand my sexuality more in depth. To others and even to myself these actions and understanding may have appeared to be a shift in my sexuality. I am learning that this was always part of who I am and always have been and what type of person I am attracted to.

As I grew in years and knowledge, I came to understand there are seemingly infinite labels for a person’s sexuality. I now feel the most accurate term to describe my sexuality is Omnisexual. I am attracted to people of every gender presentation but I recognize I have a preference to those who are more feminine. How my attraction manifests also differs in relation to a person, their expresion, parts, and hearts.  If you are interested, this article from Cosmo (Yes, that Cosmo!) contains a listing of many sexualities using inclusive language.  A Comprehensive List of Sexualities to Know, From Pomosexual to Heteroflexible

Let’s talk about sex…ual experience

I want to make something crystal clear. A person’s sexual experience does not dictate their sexuality. I will explain this using myself as an example.

I have only ever had sexual experiences with cisgender females. If this defined my sexuality I would be labeled a Lesbian. Hang on! NO! I love and find things sexually attractive about males, non-binary, gender fluid and agender people too! Recently in a peer support group I stated it this way: Uhhh adult humans? YES Please! This is a bit extreme to explain my attractions. They are far more nuanced. Because I am able to be attracted to pretty much the whole range of humanity does not mean I want to have sex with them all. I still have my personal standards. I am also in a relationship with my very loving, and compassionate wife.

I also want to express how I used to, and how I now experience sex from a mental awareness and thought process perspective.

As a young girl with male parts, the feelings and ways I thought of sex were to say the least, confusing! I wanted to feel pretty, dress sexy, develop breasts, and be penetrated during sex. How could I do this and remain the person I was supposed to be? My male parts demanded that I fall in line with other males. They demanded that I own the role of the penetrator in a sexual encounter as something I was entitled to because I looked and acted male. I tried to own this role for many years. I had a number of encounters. No, I’m not telling you my body count. Each of these encounters were very gratifying physically. The thing is, something always felt off afterwards.

This “off” feeling made me think I was either not doing it right or not frequent enough. I did what heteronormative males do, I overcompensated. My body count grew and so did that feeling of something being “off”. Eventually I tried what the church was telling me to do. Move my sexual encounters into a relationship with one person and begin a family. Supposedly following god’s plan of procreation was supposed to bring me sexual fulfilment. It did not. Was I with the wrong partner? Yes, but because my belief system had revealed itself to be different from what I originally understood it to be. Maybe I needed variety? Many views I was exposed to indicated that males needed a wide variety of partners and how shal I say it “Unique” experiences. I became “That Guy”, and still something was “off”. Eventually I settled into a relationship which I still very much enjoy and want to be in.

Let’s talk about sex…ual dysfunction.

All throughout these experiences I continued to hide who I truly was. I also continued to discover more of who I am. My “off” feeling grew at a controlled rate. When I finally came to the understanding that I am female, my “off” feeling made sense. It’s growth suddenly moved from a steady growth pattern to an exponential model. That is to say, each time I experienced it, the feeling seemed to double if not triple. My encounters also shifted to those of a solo nature. My “off” feeling has also been compounded by the dysphoria encountered by having a sexual experience as a female minded person with body parts which many females do not have.

The spironolactone and estrogen I take to assist my bodily changes and ease the mental anguish I feel also somewhat ease the newly modified “off” feeling. They do this by bringing on erectile dysfunction (E.D.) and changes in how I experience an orgasm. The medications at first decreased my libido. The addition of progesterone has brought back and even increased my libido. While I welcome the E.D. some transgender girls do not. My inner self image does not have a penis while my current physical self does. If you haven’t thought to yourself how does this work now, go ahead now and think about it and how it may disrupt your thoughts of sex and the encounters you have. While I still crave a sexual encounter it is not the one I used to know. This change and the discrepancy between my mental image of how my encounter should be and how it physically has to take place makes for many difficulties in reaching my goal. This is further compounded by the recommendation that a transgender female try to stay sexually active (even if solo) so the donor tissue does not atrophy.

Let’s talk about sex…ual stigma and misconception.

Since coming out as a transgender woman I have been asked by many more people about my active sexual encounters than ever before. Most of these have been medical professionals. While I understand the need for an accurate health history, working on the assumptions that transgender women have unhealthy and risky sexual encounters is just that, an assumption. Questioning us further when our sexual history is documented in our charts leads to a mistrust in the medical relationship.

My active sexual encounters have also been questioned by random people and even friends. This in none of your business unless we are about to have a sexual encounter.

Many scenarios assume that a transgender person is more promiscuous that the rest of the population. Sadly in some cases transgender people have had to turn to the sex work trades to continue to survive. A sexual encounter with a transgender person has also seen by some as an accomplishment to be achieved. Generalizations like these dehumanize and fetishize us. These actions are very damaging to our mental health. Many of us develop a false sense that we are not worthy of an actual healthy relationship, especially one that includes sex.

Misconceptions of transgender people directly relate to our physical safety too. Many times have I wondered if I will live past an encounter where someone finds out that I am transgender. Please keep in mind that I do not purposefully put myself into a circumstance where my safety would be at risk. These thoughts of mine on this subject tend to deal with only one possible future where I may seek a sexual relationship.

Let’s talk about sex…ual thoughts

Transgender people think about sex as much as the rest of humanity. My thoughts on the subject have definitely changed and continue to evolve as I discover more about myself, and my body. This entire article and many more thoughts were spawned by just having that simple song lyric stuck in my head.

We enjoy fantasies, role play, and even many kinks that the rest of humanity also enjoys. Assuming that we will enjoy something simply because we are transgender again dehumanizes and fetishizes us. We just need some extra time to deal with all of the other mental clutter left over from years of hiding our true selves. I’m very hopeful that when my body is in more alignment with my self image that most of these extra thoughts will no longer invade the pleasant and good thoughts I have when I am presented with thoughts of sexual encounters. I know the fear of not surviving an encounter will always weigh heavy on my mind.

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Being Dana… To My Protector, AGAIN

A second and hopefully final letter to that part of me which used to keep me safe. For reference, here is the first letter to my protector.

Being Dana… A Letter To My Protector

Yes, I remember you.

Your bullying tactics taught me to survive.

I’m going to be direct and honest and true.

During our time apart I’ve learned to thrive.

I had believed it was now my job to offer you shelter.

Your attempts to take up your familiar protective role are weak.

Your old attacks, they falter.

I need you to see; It is my turn to speak!

I’ve made the decisions to live MY truth, MY life.

Your tactics now only strengthen my resolve.

You bring with you nothing but strife.

Our relationship, I need to dissolve.


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Being Dana… Finding my place?

I used to have a place in this world where I was told I’d be comfortable, where I would “fit” in. I tried to live in this space but I never did truly fit. I broke free and in doing so I felt the need to re-establish who I am. To accomplish this I have torn the life I knew to shreds, unraveled the shreds into threads, and the threads into individual fibers. With the help of a few trusted friends, I sorted the fibers, keeping those which truly belonged to me and giving up the others. I spun the fibers which withstood the scrutiny of self examination and self discovery into the new thread of my life and created a beautiful but durable fabric. It was fit for a fine dressmaker rather than a maker of men’s suits.

I tried the services of a few dressmakers. Some made dresses fit for public show. Others to be worn while lifting others from their troubles. I found that wearing dresses made by others would never fit me correctly. Therefore I have created my own dress that is free and flowing. One that allows me to be the kind caring person which I am. The dress also has the lacey intricacies of my many intertwined emotions and the beautiful, yet structured embroidered stitches of knowledge and experience.

I am now in need of a place where I may wear my dress. This place is not a physical location like a house or an apartment. It is a place in society where I am simply allowed to exist. Without requiring me to justify my existence. Without having to prove why I belong. Where my rights are not questioned because others fear I may be their equal. Where I am not judged for who or how I choose to love.

I hope this place exists.

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