Today is my third birthday.
I’m not usually one to celebrate milestones.
I didn’t celebrate when I received my new name in the mail on an unbendable, unbreakable certificate, or the first time that my GP gave me a large, painful injection.
I didn’t mark the day my voice began to break from its lifelong falsetto, the day my body fat began to shift from my hips to my gut or the day that I could finally cobble together a respectable approximation of a 13 year old’s beard.
A short film on being transgender from “Its Not About The Sex”: an Educational Documentary. Post continues after video.
I didn’t write about the moment that I stood in front of 100 colleagues and told them who I had always been, or the moment that I stood in front of 250 students and told them who I was becoming.
I didn’t speak about the time that I first passed as male in a supermarket, or the first time that I suffered the privilege of using a male public toilet.
I didn’t share my experience of draining my superannuation to have life-changing surgery that would render me immobile and inconceivably joyful.
I didn’t celebrate these milestones because I didn’t want to paralyse myself waiting for change that may never happen. I didn’t celebrate these milestones because many of them came without notice or without fanfare – arriving in parts rather than as a whole. More than anything, I didn’t celebrate these milestones because I didn’t want to be the kind of straight white man who thought himself entitled to broadcast the minutiae of his everyday existence.
So I carried on, shifting incrementally towards the man I wanted to be. Days, weeks, months, years passed and life happened. I got a job that made me happy. I traveled. I made friends. I lost friends. People around me had babies. People around me died. My mother, from whom I am estranged, developed what is likely to be a terminal illness. I lived the way most of us live, with moments of joy, moments of desperate banality and moments of sheer anger at life’s absurd cruelties.
And so, because life happens, I am choosing to celebrate this day. I gifted myself the Gunnas Masterclass [a writing class run by Catherine Deveny] for my third birthday because I know now that I am never going to be the man I want to be. I also know that I want to live every day like he is a possibility. And so I will continue to move, incrementally, towards his image.