Learning to Fly

GAIA House - New Hope, Pennsylvania

Soulmate and I are here for a private matter. Something I have always wanted; a confirmation of sorts. I always knew I was a woman...now I would finish the affair. All has gone very well up until tonight.

Soulmate’s first visit to a classic gayborhood has turned into a second honeymoon of sorts. Her purring Southern accent and manners entrances and ensnares even the most jaded Yankee specimen who comes across our path (I know how that one works).

Then they took me off of the morphine...and couldn't switch me to codeine. Tylenol was to be my best friend for the next 72 hours, but the first ones would be the roughest.

Welcome to the longest night of my life. Far more people have it worse, I suppose. But pain is pain. I cannot sleep, therefore I must write. It is the only way to stay sane.


I went to therapy.

I took the hormones.

I signed the forms.

I underwent the procedure.

I am legally female now...

But I am not a strong woman, yet ... that honorable title was earned by heroes before me; it is never given ... and I have a lot to learn and a very long way to go. The reality only came crashing down upon me during the first days of after surgery. Radical change and no sleep will make anyone cry buckets. I did my share too, with Soulmate holding my hand. The G-ddess did not abandon me upon the surgery table though. She was still protecting me ... but also desperately trying to impart a crucial fact.

I could not pretend to be a guy anymore, and I must live as women do, 24/7. I must learn right now, if not sooner. The rest of my life will depend upon how I adjust to my new reality, the reality I desperately sought with all of my being, a reality I can no longer step back from. That reality suddenly just became very difficult and scary to achieve.

I do not miss my parts; I do miss what residual testosterone I was carrying prior to the event. This is part of the female reality my therapist has been trying to get me ready for. Never have I felt so naked and alone in my life, and so dependent upon Soulmate and female friends to help guide me across the border. I am an emotional train wreck…

I never thought I would ever say this, but I am grateful The G-ddess brought me into this world as a biological male. I learned a lot from that existence, good and bad, and I will try to bring the good parts of that life over to my newer one. I always was female. It took me until my forties to finally accept that. Childhood experience especially made me want to discover the female identity that was denied me. I have always speculated that someone wanted me to do specific things or learn something important before crossing the line. I hope that I have succeeded.

I am also grateful for the soulmate who has stood beside me from day one. Even when she figured out in college that I was not quite cisgender or heterosexual, she stuck by me. It took guts to walk down an aisle with someone who felt more comfortable in the twink world than straight. But she was bi too, and understood. We have always been a quiet lesbian couple. Now all will know.

Some lucky kids are getting their opportunity to transition at a relatively young age. I had to wait until my late forties. I knew I was a girl. I told my parents. They told me they loved me, then they threw me into military school out of love. They thought I would wind up a homosexual pedophile otherwise.

I'm an adult now, and I understand the culture my parents were brought up in. I have learned how to forgive, though I will never forget. I have declared war on that culture accordingly. For all of its bad points, a military school education does teach you how to stand and fight. That culture shaped my early psyche. I will take my anger from a lost childhood and use it to fuel my resolve that this generation's LGBTQI kids will not have to endure the same. Let the forces of bigotry and darkness take notice: I have always been woman, and I am becoming a stronger one.

Now I am a butterfly. I have never been a girly-girl, nor have I ever really desired to be. My heroes and role models were lesbians. I prayed every night of my childhood to be turned into one.

And then, one early morning, kind people asked me to go to sleep, and upon awakening my body had been transformed. I was already a woman, of course, just hidden behind some mismatched parts. The therapist made sure I understood that before I did anything else. I was always a girl with boy parts, and I could have lived with that. But I chose to become a butterfly with olive drab wings. That’s just who I am. No regrets.

Let the adventure begin, while remembering it’s ok to cry.


Julie Chase is the pen name for a local 40-something trans woman. A graduate of The University of the South at Sewanee, she loves butterflies, strong women and the Austrian School of Economics.





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