After I Came Out as a Transgender Man, I was Asked if it Felt Like I Had Died

An eye opening tale of one transgender man’s experiences on a spiritual level.

This past Christmas Eve, for the first time since I transitioned, I returned to my childhood church in Iowa and watched people across the pews try to recognize me, a little more mustached, a little less hips. I sang from the holy red hymnal and sounded like an instrument being tuned because I still don’t understand how my new voice works. What is it about singing that makes me less afraid to die? I don’t know, but I kept singing as we walked back to my dad’s truck, kept singing as the six of us buckled in, was singing still as we hit the gravel road under a sky full of snow, everything calm, everything bright.

Some days I feel I am haunting my past life; other days I feel my past life haunting me. A name, no longer spoken. Voicemails of my old voice, saved. And what is this “I” or “me” that does not include my past life, anyway? When did we separate? Where was the fork? Was it the day I started testosterone, Jan. 16, 2013? Or did it not happen right away?

When someone dies, it is considered polite to say that person has “passed away.” When a trans person is able to walk down the street without being identified as trans, it’s called “passing.” Both turns of the word imply a successful transition… of the spirit and body, breaking away from each other, and coming back together again.

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