I changed my name from “Mimi” to “Marty” in July 2019. This essay keeps the original “Mimi” self-references to maintain a sense of timeline.
My name is Mimi, and I am a guy who enjoys looking like a girl.
Also, I use he/him pronouns now, so please refer to me in this manner when talking to and about me. For example: “Mimi is such a navel-gazing asshole! Who does he think he is?”
There, I said it — the words I’ve known to be true since I was old enough to understand the concept of gender itself.
I’ve always thought of myself as a guy who was stuck in a girl’s body, with all the confusion and body dysphoria that came with such a situation. The one thing that complicated my coming out was that I liked stereotypically “girly” things. I wish I could say that I got massive amounts of dysphoria from being made to dress “femme” as a child, but while the trans guys in memoirs I read were skin-crawlingly uncomfortable during the few occasions they were made to look feminine, I was having my mom buy Easter dresses on sale and wearing them to school every single day. I proudly owned five American Girl dolls, each with their own little outfits, accessories, and playsets. I was hypnotically drawn to all shades of pink and anything with a bunny motif on it. And I was never great at stereotypical “boy” things. Video games bored me; I couldn’t play sports to save my life.
For a long time, I thought that this meant I couldn’t be transgender. Never mind the fact that my breasts gave me so much body dysphoria that I avoided bikini pictures and cleavage-bearing items like the plague. Never mind that I felt right at home as the only “girl” in a group of guys, or that I imagined myself inhabiting the male gender role whenever I imagined myself in romantic situations. I was obsessed with frilly things and girly colors, so there was no way that I was actually male … right?
I realize now that basing my gender identity on specific interests or aesthetics was essentially buying into the idea that gender was made of superficial things, rather than a deeply-held sense of who we are and how we relate to the world. I personally know straight, cisgender guys who love pink, guys whose handwriting have large circles over the i’s and j’s, and guys who I can count on to lose their shit over an pretty piece of clothing. I even know cisgender guys who have no problem twirling around in full-skirted dresses. If they’re still seen as male, despite all of the “feminine” things they like, then there’s no reason why I can’t also be a guy.
Does this mean I want to physically transition? Yes, but slowly. I am definitely getting top surgery in the future, depending on my work schedule and the availability of the surgeon I want. I also have to sit down with certain people in my life and have a long, serious conversation about how I’m not fucking around with this stuff anymore. I’m still on the fence about hormone replacement therapy, and I’m definitely not getting bottom surgery.
I’ve spent the majority of my adult life focused on my academic and career goals, preferring to deal with the dysphoria and questioning in private, but I’ve had these thoughts about my identity for as long as I can remember. Certain people will think that this is a phase, or a random cause I picked up and aligned myself with out of nowhere to hip and trendy. I hope that these people will stick around and keep and open mind.
This is the first time that I believe I can write about gender in a clear and intelligible way, despite trying many times as a child and frustrated teenager. I didn’t gain the vocabulary, or the support of others like me, to voice these experiences until after I graduated college. Now that I have a clearer idea of who I am and what I want to do with my life, I’m ready to share my gender story.
“Spilling the Gender Identi-Tea” is a series of essays about how my life has been impacted by gender issues. It’ll cover my childhood (where “gay” was an insult and I would literally wish on every wish-making device to be “not queer”), the God-awful time called puberty (what do you do when virtually every assigned-female-at-birth person around you is in a hurry to grow up, but you would love to stay in your passable-as-a-little-boy body for the rest of your life?), how I’ve approached romantic relationships (why haven’t I dated more women? Are the men I date technically in a homosexual relationship?), my plans for physical transition (do I want to go on hormone replacement therapy?) and how I’m navigating life now as an out femme trans man, one day at a time (where I deal with things such as asking my employer to refer to me using he/him pronouns and realize just how much of an uphill battle everything is). I will, in essence, spill the tea about everything gender-related that I can coherently articulate.
Welcome to the tea party! Pull up a fancy white outdoor chair, smooth out your dress, and grab a cup and saucer. We have a lot to talk about. ♚