Reply To: I don’t know what the heck is going on

Dana Munson

I knew I had a strong attraction to feminine things at a fairly early age. I can recall praying many a night – an activity I have long since abandoned – to wake up as a girl. I had no idea then – talking early 1960s – that there was such a thing as medically-supervised transitioning into a different gender. Did not understand until years later, when I first learned about Christine Jorgensen and April Ashley, that living as a woman was even with the realm of possibility (barring a feat of magic or living 24/7 in a disguise).  That said, I was definitely NOT effeminate and played the male role as was expected of me.

Teen time was a bit tough and confusing. It felt weird to realize that, when admiring a pretty girl, I not only wanted her romantically. . . but I also wanted to BE her (or like her). But, because it seemed to me that a permanently feminine state was almost certainly impossible, I reacted with denial. (Remember, even in the late 1960s-early 1970s, medical science and the country generally, with some exceptions, were still looking at transgenderism as a true abnormality, something freaky, and “treatment” could easily amount to long sessions on a psychiatrist’s couch, rather than any help in achieving a transition.)  So, up through high school and beyond, I tried to be a “guy” to the max (I have a football letter, an “honorable”Army discharge, and a wife and 2 grown kids to prove it).  Yeah, I told myself “I can’t BE her, so I don’t WANT her!” Problem solved! Or so I thought.

But “she” still kept popping back into my head every so often, stinging me with the old urge to be “her” and not the person I outwardly was. Cross-dressing helped, for a while. But ultimately that was causing even more longing for actual womanhood. Long story short, it took me until age 69 (!!!!) to achieve a life situation permitting me to come out and be Dana full time. Sure, I could have tried it a couple of decades earlier, but I judged the risk to career and family more than I wanted to gamble with. There are plenty of other ladies here who can tell somewhat similar tales.

I need not repeat the good advice already given here by others, beyond repeating that a good therapist – one experienced in dealing with gender issues! – can be a great help in figuring out who and what you are.  You’re  young (oh, to be 22 again), and you have time to work this out.  Be safe. Be smart. And above all, be honest with yourself.

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