As soon as I left high school I needed money, so I thought 'I'm going to cut hair', because my mother already worked in the area. And then right after that, when I was 16 or 17, I started working. I took a course and never stopped. I like it because you deal with audiences, people are very different. I didn't like it before, you know. Until I understand that you have to donate yourself, you have to be patient. That everyone has their own experience. And it's bearable.
Some people treat me like a psychologist. I have several stories. Like people telling me their lives there, being that I just met them. So I hear it. I also worked for a long time in the mall, so it is very... A very normative audience. Traditional family... So it was very different from the place I'm working now, which is more chilled.
I thought a lot about changing jobs exactly because when I started my transition I wanted to start in a comfortable place. So I quit my job that I stayed for years. I liked it there, but I also didn't feel comfortable enough. I looked for this new place because it was more chilled, you know.
And then, I don’t know, I’m afraid of saying that I’m trans at the new place... It’s not fear, it’s… I’m very insecure. But, I don't know, I'll talk. Like, if they don't accept me, I'll take my stuff and leave. But it's a lot of... I don't know how it will be. As I said, I will say it and then we see what will happen. But I think it will be okay. A lot depends on me you know, I have to go and talk... So it's more about me than anything else. I think I will just not stop, because if I stop to think, it affects me. Not only this, but everything in my life. It's automatic.
It took a long time. I normally keep things for myself, so much that in my instagram there is nothing. So far I haven't posted any pictures after my transition. I don't do any of that. In fact, I think that's for everything like work, friends. I've already managed to create a safe place, where I feel comfortable, respected. But since I started the transition, I haven't yet… with family it's not quite open yet.
Since I was a child, I never understood myself as a woman. I thought that I did something bad in my previous life and came as a woman, I don't know, to pay my punishments. And also when I was a child I always said that I was a boy and behaved like a boy and my mother always said 'no, you won't be a boy'. There were several episodes that I remember that I understood myself as a boy, but I was always pruned, you know, subjected to behaving in a certain way... 'how are you going to be', 'who are you going to marry to', all of that. You create a lot of things just for a little being, you know. Especially because I have a twin sister. So it's very easy for people to compare... We are the opposite.
I'm not so close to my father. But with my mom, it's very, very difficult. She doesn't accept, she doesn't support me. She doesn't give any space, a dialogue, that she can hear me explain... there's no dialogue. Our dialogue is only superficial. Which is also hard. I didn't want it to be that way, it could be much better, but she doesn't give me an opening.
I don't feel at home, being that that house has always been my home. So I don't feel at home in my own home. It's kind of uncomfortable, but I think I've managed to filter things, you know, 'this bothers me but I'm not going to let it affect me'. If not, it will be like this all the time. But I feel like she's still attached to something that I don't see and I'm not anymore. I think that only with time for her to understand and respect. But I think this is far from happening, far away. Her brain is so binary...
What we were talking about from childhood, how things are taken from a child that they don't even understand 'oh this is masculine, for a boy. Feminine, for a girl'. They don't understand it very well. And I was always cut off. I remember that one day, it was my birthday, and I asked for something super masculine and I won. And my mother made me give it back to my aunt. And my sister asked for something else that was totally feminine and she kept hers. Why could my sister have that? So, how come I asked for a toy and she asks for a completely opposite one and I have to hand mine over and she can keep hers, why? So always like this, cut off, you know?
These are things that are denied to a child that they don't even understand, you know, I just wanted that thing, which was what I felt most comfortable with. Some things that are taken from children... They are important, you know. And then when you say 'wow, I'm trans', a lot of stories like that come from your childhood, things that you remember, although I don't remember much of my childhood.
I always ... I never questioned myself. I thought 'I'm a cis lesbian woman and that's it'.. And I didn't even open my head to really understand, you know, everything that there's beyond the transition, the being trans. There are so many things to study, to study gender... I think it was when I started searching about it, you know. Because I thought, wow, there is a hormone, but I didn't know it worked so well after taking it for a while. And I thought 'my god this is what I want', you know, I want to have body hair, I want to have a deep voice, things that when I was a child I dreamed of having, you know. But I thought 'no, I dream of being a boy, but only in the next life, on this one it's not possible'. Then I was like 'my god, there is a way, and I can!' and so I started to understand myself and I started searching more... and I thought 'wow, I'm trans'.
So, necessarily, I also didn't identify with male - which is not where I want to be - or with female, so I was like 'ok, so I'm non-binary'... What you were asking me before, about transmasculinity, its a lot about how you identified socially. So I want to use masculine pronouns and I'm a transmasculine within the society we live in. Because we are very binary, you know. Everything is very binary, so... Because for me it is also a theme that embraces many genders and at the same time I want to abolish the masculine and feminine genders so for me it doesn't serve much as an umbrella term you know. It doesn't make much sense to me. Because masculinity, as I told you, is very binary and also to fit all these genders and pronouns and finally everything we dream of having, wow would be perfect, but to fit within the language is very difficult. Because it would also take many years to be like that, so it doesn't make much sense.
I think this just got here, you know. Now that things are starting and information is reaching people. I think if I had this information in the past I would have discovered myself much earlier. So it's easier now. It's not that 'oh my god, everyone is trans now', it's that now people have access, you know. And also, who has this type of access? There are many people who do not understand themselves in the gender that was attributed when they were born but do not know 'you are trans... there is this and that, you can do that'. So it will take a while.
I think there will be a lot more minors looking to know more too, something that at the age of 15 I didn't even think, you know, this questioning didn't even cross my mind. Nowadays it's broader, I see many trans young men already doing HRT or discovering themselves at 16, 14, starting at 18. Wow, at that time I didn't even stop to question who I was in the world, you know.
I think I really started to question myself when I went to São Paulo, because I was left with nothing there, no friends, no one. And here I was doing well living my life, thinking that everything was chilled so I didn't stop to think about it. I just worked, paid my rent and lived life like... And when I stopped I freaked out, like 'who am I?', 'What am I doing?' and 'what do I want from my life?'. And I questioned, like, wow... Because I was busy with so many things before I didn't even stop to look at myself. And there's a lot. Then it starts to come, so I thought 'I'm going back to Porto Alegre, because I'm not going to be in a city alone', it wouldn't work. I thought: oh no, living in São Paulo is not supposed to be now, maybe in the future. But I think it was the right decision to come back, even though when I came back it was very difficult, I got into a depression.
I also came back because here I had... I knew where to go, I felt more at home, you know, I had... I could feel better here. More for the sake of survival. If not, I would freak out. It was better to be well here in Porto Alegre and then in the future I see what I'll do with my life. And it was good because I came back and only confirmed that I am trans. I spent a year doing therapy, I started taking medication again, taking care of myself. Because before I just took care of others and didn't even look at me. Then I said 'I'm trans' and now I'm taking care of myself more, you know, this is very important. We don’t even notice, realize.
I think that being in São Paulo helped me, because I used to go out on the street thinking 'nobody knows who I am, I don't know anyone'. Because in Porto Alegre you go out and you see a lot of people that you know. And when you start talking to other people, you can say whatever you want, you know. The person doesn't know me, doesn't know about my life. So it also helped me in that way. I thought: I can create a… not a character, anything else that I feel more comfortable with and it's okay, the person won't know who I am. It's like, 'now I can start from scratch' you know. Then I was like: no, but I can do that in Porto Alegre too, it's okay. So that was it. It helped me a lot. Also because I was unemployed, without a house for myself... So I was like… fuck it. It helped me a lot about 'what I can be' you know, 'what I can demonstrate to be'. I was like: I really don't want to be seen like a girl, that's... Okay, I'm still practically 90% of the time seen as a cis woman, but I didn't want to introduce myself, you know, in the feminine, I didn't want to say my name... I was like: maybe I want this always. It was nice. At first I thought 'what a regret, I went to live there and came back', but now I see it as good.
It was very hard when I came back, I asked to go back to my old job. And in principle it seemed that I had taken a very big step of going to live in another state, then not only I came back, as I came back with the old things, so it seemed that I took two steps back, you know. And it took me a long time to accept that no, it was a time I had to take care of myself, you know. It's not that I did something stupid. I needed that. The good thing about feeling so bad is that it passed. Then I went looking for help, starting from scratch. Now, telling this, it seems like it was easy, but it was not.
If it were a while ago I would be freaking out in some situations. But not now, it seems that everything is more peaceful, it seems that now I can do things without carrying a weight. Because before I could only think 'my god, I'm not on T, I'm not on T, I'm not on T'… and I ended up stopping many things in my life. Not stopping the things in my life, but with myself, in my head. This was hurting me a lot. But not now, I don't have to worry about thinking 'I'm not taking T', no... I'm taking T. So I already have room to grow in many things. In the future I think it will be even better.
Before, I couldn't think of anything else, or of just researching about it. I was using my smartphone just for that. I was reading, writing and consuming anything else than this, you know. I spent a year just consuming a lot about the subject, about the results, seeing a lot of content. Not now, now I have time to research other things. So… it’s great.
I'm just living in the now. Only. I used to think a lot about the future. Now it's like… fuck it. I don't make a lot of plans, also to avoid deluding myself. I'm just focusing on right now. I think that when I am more stable then I will start wanting to think more about the future, but now I just want to be fine with myself. If not, I can't do anything.
And in the past I was very unhappy, I didn't feel complete... I was feeling like crap, so how would I have a mind to think about other things if I wasn't even comfortable with myself? There's no way. I think that now my goal is just to be fine with myself and then I know that I will be able to have the energy and strength to do other things... To go after things.
I see more people coming out as trans, but at the same time it seems like a social bubble... but I think all cities are like this. It's getting better. Here people are very ignorant and binary and sometimes rude, you know. It is quite dangerous. People are not so open, you know.
Sometimes you think you're in a welcoming place, and you're not, you know. You're not.
I didn't suffered transphobia, but lesbophobia I did. For sure. Not like a physical aggression, rather it was a verbal aggression. Sometimes it also goes so unnoticed, but then you notice this… like cursing in the streets… But then it goes in one ear and out in the other you know. It will happen.
There was a day when a guy, I don't know what he said to me, that was a long time ago. And then I cursed him, told him to fuck himself, shut up, I don't know. I kept walking. And I was with some other friends… Dude. He followed us for a long time, but we didn't notice. At one point he broke a bottle and came at me, saying he was going to cut my throat, but he was very high. Crazy. And then I answered him, he was furious. Then my brother-in-law separated us, he said 'shut up' to me and apologized to him, asking him to calm down. He kept cursing... 'Calm down, calm down, that was a misunderstanding'. But at the time everyone was really pissed at me, like 'you don't do that'. They are right ... but hey, I didn't know the guy was going to follow us just because he was the one that messed with us and I just said 'shut up'. The guy like… crazy. What if I was alone, you know? I’m not going to do that when I'm with other people because it puts them at risk too. But it was something that I didn't even expect to happen.
Here, anything that happens you get scared, you know. I don't give a shit.
Sometimes the person won't even try, they just come to you and speak, they don't even try to research the subject, they act like they know and end up talking a lot of shit… Even when I told my sister, she was like 'no, I don't understand, for me a woman was born a woman, a man was born a man'. Then yesterday I was talking to her and she was super giving a totally different speech. Then I thought 'I'm sure she researched the subject', because her speech was sort of like, she went to defend me and said a lot of things that made sense… so it's more about the person not going after, not trying to understand, and then wanting to give their opinion. And then, after she researched and understood, she changed.
It is not a monster. On the contrary... Like she said 'oh, if it makes you happy, go, take it [the hormones]... If not, you will spend your whole life questioning should I take it or should I not?'. Her mind is different.
She knows I'm using testosterone. My whole family knows, but they are still not convinced, you know. I think that only when I start to have some changes, like physically, then things will start to change, because people's minds are very binary, very binary. I can even say that I am trans, they understand, but they still don’t make an effort… I wonder if they see me as masculine or if it's just because I’m saying it? But I think this is over time, you know, as she had her time to go research and understand it, I think it will happen with my mother and with the rest of the people who are close to me.
I use masculine pronouns and identify as a non-binary person. I questioned myself a lot 'am I a trans man', but I don't want to get out of a box, which was already very painful - and it will continue to be because our life is. But getting out of a box to enter another box that I also don't agree with everything. And I don't see myself as 100% man either. I don't know, in the future it may be that I change, but now I just can't, I'm not totally a man or a woman, but I feel much more masculine. For me, woman is… ugh, just the name already makes me… I don't want it. I don't want it, you know. I'm not.
Even for my sister, for my mother, as they have a very binary image, I don't say that I am non-binary. Because I can't even have a dialogue to explain, you know, that it's imposed on society. So I see myself as a boy, I really see myself, and I think that in their mind I am a trans man, in everyone's mind... But no. I also wouldn't be able to be a non-binary trans person using and feeling comfortable with feminine pronoms, because this never existed.
It is much easier to talk to someone in a binary way, because they will understand in their head.
In the future, I think there will be more trans people occupying more spaces, you know. Because there isn't much here, you hardly see it, you know. The places we go to, not of our bubble, because of our bubble it is obvious that you will find trans people, but in your work and other places there are very few trans, and it is very sad because if they are not here, where are they? Because they exist, there are a lot of trans people in this city but it's missing. I think this will improve a lot in the future. I hope so.
2 months on HRT.
*essay from February 2020, Porto Alegre (RS), Brazil.
2 months on HRT.
*essay from February 2020, Porto Alegre (RS), Brazil.
This project is made by me, Gabz. I am a non-binary trans person and I seek not only to portray but also to open a space where other trans people can tell their stories, so to support our own community. After suffering a lot from the lack of trans narrative references that contemplated me, I realized that these people exist and have always existed, but for CISthemic reasons the few times we have the opportunity to tell who we are ends up being through the lens of people who do not know how it is to be us. I started this project with urgency.
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