I promised a while back that I would share the very bizarre story of my gender therapist, and that is what I am about to do.
I’m not a big believer in fate (although I’m getting bigger after those three desserts). But when people say, “There are no coincidences,” this is what they’re talking about. Here’s the short version:
I had “gender issues” from the time I was about 10, but I didn’t know them as such. We didn’t have the Internet back then, and researching such things using the library’s Dewey Decimal System was out of the question. I didn’t even try, though, because I didn’t realize that there was anything to research. All I knew was that I was supposed to be a boy and that I was the only one in the whole world who felt that way.
But since I also knew that being a boy was impossible, I went on to be the best girl that I could be. Of course, the gender issues didn’t go away, and if you’re trans, I don’t need to explain in too much detail how I could bury them, only to have them claw their way to the surface again like the zombies in The Night of the Living Dead. The only problem was that I didn’t have the brains to figure it out.
Fast forward to age 42. I had a great marriage that I don’t talk about, and I felt that it was falling apart. I wanted to save my marriage. So I made an appointment with a therapist through my HMO. For my own reasons, I made the appointment at the clinic that was farthest from both my job and my home. I had to drive for miles to get there.
I requested a man, but the only therapist available there was a woman. I was going to decline, but I decided I would “give her a chance” (how generous of me).
For the first couple of sessions, we talked about my marriage. I didn’t talk about “gender issues” because I still didn’t know I had them, which is why I didn’t realize that they were causing the problems. Then I said something casually, in the middle of a conversation, that I thought meant nothing, but she jumped on it.
I said, “Well, I’ve always wanted to be a guy.”
She said, “What did you say?”
I said, “Oh, nothing. It’s just me. I’m crazy.”
She said, “No, I want to know what you said.”
So I repeated it. And then she said, “What do you mean by that?” So I told her.
She didn’t say anything, but when I left, she gave me some books and handouts and said, “I want you to take these home and read them. Then come back in two weeks and tell me what you think.”
So I took them home and read them. And I came back in two weeks and said, “This is me.” And the rest, as they say, is history.
It turned out that this woman – who worked as a therapist at an HMO, who was stationed at the far reaches of the earth, nowhere near where I worked or lived, who I went to for marriage counseling, not gender issues, and who I didn’t want to see in the first place because she was a woman – was actually a specialist in gender issues. At an HMO. At a little satellite office on the far, far outskirts of Denver.
Bizarre so far, right? And this woman guided me through my “gender issues” and right through my transition.
But it wasn’t until several months into therapy that it suddenly occurred to me to wonder why this woman at an HMO at a little satellite office on the far, far outskirts of Denver knew so much about gender stuff and just happened to have books and handouts at arm’s reach in her office.
Take a guess.
And that, as Paul Harvey used to say, is the rest of the story.
(Note: Because I have been getting so many “Ask Matt” inquiries, I have decided that Mondays will be “Ask Matt Monday” – because I like alliteration. So if you have an “Ask Matt” question, watch for the answer on a Monday. If there are no “Ask Matt” questions, then Mondays will just be … Monday Monday. I think there’s a song in there somewhere.)