I’ll start by saying that grammar isn’t my strong suit. So if you are particularly keen on this, I’ll apologize for the headaches in advance.
I spend most of my life thinking I was a cis woman. A couple years ago I discovered that I was transgender and began my transitioning journey. I struggled with my sexuality for a while. Eventually I concluded that I was bisexual, but primarily interested in men. At the time of this post I’ve been living as a man and been taking hormones for quite a while. I hope to have top surgery soon, and eventually bottom surgery (phalloplasty) as well. I plan to share the details and pictures of these surgeries with you. I plan to make a very detailed documentation of my bottom surgery in particular, since there is so little information available on this subject. My identity however, I will keep anonymous. I am not ashamed of what I am, but I feel that the world just isn’t ready and I don’t want this to have a negative impact on my life.
I’ve been doing a lot of research about bottom surgery lately. Which made me realize that I do not want to get a vaginectomy (removal of the vagina) when I get phalloplasty (construction of the penis). This realization brought light to some other feelings that I’ve been having lately. Namely the moments where I have more ‘feminine’ feelings. Especially in sexual context. This threw me off quite a bit, because I felt 100% male at this point. My life as a woman was just a vague distant memory. It almost felt like I was biologically born male wanting to transition to female. In that moment I become worried that maybe I wasn’t as male as I thought. That I had made a mistake transitioning. That in the past year I was just ‘being silly’ and that now I had ruined my body with these hormones. But after I calmed down, I realized that this was just the panic talking and that I was being stupid. My ‘male feelings’ hadn’t gone away. In fact, it was way more dominant than these ‘female feelings’. Every step of my transition into male had made me feel better about myself and more complete. That wouldn’t be the case if I weren’t male.
I am shamed to admit that my next instinct was to suppress these feminine feelings. “I am a man now” I thought “lets not make my life anymore complicated than it already is”. But than the déjà vu hit me. This was almost exactly the same situation I was in when I was presenting female and I was confronted with my male feelings. Which made me think back to why I decided to transition. I decided to transition because I knew that I would never be happy as a female. Because I knew that no matter how much misery this transition would bring me, I would still be happier than I was now. The same was true for the situation I was currently in. Suppressing my female feelings would be a mistake. Getting a vaginectomy despite these feelings would be an even bigger mistake. With this realization I obtained my peace once again. My male and female feelings ‘flowed’ more freely, allowing me to really explore them. But I was once again left with the question: what am I?
After some research, I came across various terms. I’m still not quite sure which one to use. The definition of ‘non-binary‘ is someone whose gender identity isn’t exclusively male or female. Which is technically true in my case. But most non-binary people (at least the ones I came across) strived to be more androgynous and like to use gender-neutral pronouns like ‘they’. Which is something that doesn’t feel quite right for me. Though it can also be used as more of an umbrella term for everything that is not binary (female or male).1 Another term I came across was ‘genderfluid‘. This is a person who shifts between gender over time. For example, one day they feel more feminine and the next day they feel more masculine. This one does not really fit me, because my gender seems pretty constant (as far as I am aware of at the moment at least). Than I came across ‘bigender‘, which means you feel like two genders at once. For example, female and male, or female and non-binary.2 I’ve heard people compare it to being bisexual. Robyn Ochs explained it quite well with this quote:3
“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”
This is something that I feel fits me better. Because I primarily feel male, but I can’t ignore my female feelings. Coincidentally it is about the same with my sexuality. I am primarily attracted to men, but I also feel some attraction to woman, which I can’t ignore. Although my recently discovered gender identity has caused some confusing about the line between who I am attracted to and who I want to be.
The one thing I did notice, is that most people in the ‘bigender community’ do not necessarily wish to medically transition in order to obtain ‘both parts’. This is when someone pointed me too the term ‘salmacian‘. Which, in case you haven’t read the homepage yet, refers to (non-intersex) people who wish to medically transition to a sexually neutral or ambiguous state, or a body that possesses a mix of sexual characteristics.4 And thus the Salmacian King was born. Where the king part refers to my dominantly male side. Salmacian is not a very commonly used term, however. Although it is not completely unusual for a trans man to choose not to have a vaginectomy, it is usually performed in such a that it does not quite result in having both parts. (I will explain more about the different options for phalloplasty in a later post). There are only a handful of people who have actually medically transitioned to obtain ‘both parts’. Maybe a dozen in the whole world.
So in the end I am not sure what to call myself. A non-binary, bigender salmacian? I have however, not completely let go of my transgender identity either. Some intersex people also identify as transgender, because they are transitioning to the opposite gender as they (mostly) fit into. In a similar way, I also still identify as transgender. Because, apart from the vaginectomy, I will continue to transition to male. A lot of these terms I’ve mentioned overlap or even mean very similar things. So in the end its all just really about what you choose to call yourself. I still prefer to use male pronouns for myself and thus, in public at least, I will simply identify as male. Meanwhile I’ll continue to search for my gender identity, and try to find out where my gender ends and my sexuality begins.