When I boarded the plane that would take me back to the East Coast, back to the angry family and the patient university I had fled via Greyhound bus weeks earlier, I carried the knowledge that I was a lesbian.No single thing I had ever learned about myself could feel as important, carry such weight, or offer such healing.Not even the almighty gene provided any clear answers, since it was discovered that I was a mosaic, with some cells in my body having the XY genotype and others having XO. Consciously, deliberately "raising me female"—it's like consciously, deliberately breathing.
I used these ridiculously inadequate sample sizes to draw the painfully obvious, jaded, bitter conclusion: Men wouldn't care or comment on my scars; focused only on having someplace to "stick it," they would barely notice any difference between me and other women they might have had sex with, since they simply wouldn't be paying that kind of attention.
All around me, my peers and former playmates were dating, fooling around, giving and getting hickeys, while I, whose puberty came in pill form, watched aghast from the sidelines. The doctors and surgeons assured me I was a girl, that I just wasn't yet "finished." I don't think they gave a thought to what that statement would mean to me and my developing gender identity, my developing sense of self. The "finishing" the doctors talked about occurred during my teen years—hormone replacement therapy and a vaginoplasty.
The doctors who told me I was an "unfinished girl" were so focused on the lie—so invested in selling me "girl"—that I doubt they ever considered the effect a word like "unfinished" would have on me. I could see that compared to—well, compared to everyone! Still, the only thing that felt complete was my isolation.
I don't know how my father felt or feels about it; he has never spoken about it except to reinterpret my mother's feelings.
I quickly came to understand that that tomboy—the gender identity with which I had escaped childhood—was less acceptable in adolescence.