Hi there! Welcome to my brain-space. To your left, you will see some neurons. To your right, a few deep-seated issues I've been ignoring for too long.
Anyway, please keep your arms and legs fully inside the train at all times, as sudden emotion is possible (at least for me) and we don't want any damage to parts of you that won't naturally heal. Today's tour will take us through the GENDER IDENTITY thought-path.
I have gender dysphoria.
I was aware of this probably first at age ten, but partly due to the lack of societal exposure to this and other concepts, I simply found myself embarrassed at my feelings of, in ten-year-old-me's brain, "wishing I was a girl". Instead, I buried them deep down - first consciously, and then subconsciously, until for a while I hit peak MRA-dickhead in my attempt to act macho/masculine in the way society at large seemed to be telling me I should.
To those of you who knew me during that time, I can only apologise deeply and profusely and hope I didn't hurt or offend you too much.
Over the past few years I have come to accept this - slowly - and realise that any option other than transitioning is more depressing, scary and horrifying than the attendant complexities and social difficulties related to going through hormone replacement therapy.
I began HRT at the very beginning of this year, because the idea of starting on a date like that mattered to me - and because it's time I admit I'm a romantic, gods-dammit.
I do not identify as male. I still present as such much of the time because I can, and because it's often easier socially. (Of course, 'presenting as male' is a nebulous idea anyway - I wear the same clothes much of the time as many of my girlfriends who would at best be referred to as 'tomboyish'.)
I would prefer to, and am working towards presenting as female full-time, largely through a slow transition to a more androgynous style.
I would prefer that people use female gender pronouns for me.
I am changing my name. For some people with a gender-neutral given name, this not really a problem unless they truly want to jettison their old identity. For me, with a masculine name, this presents a problem.
I intend to go by Elissa from now on. Yes, I had thought about using a feminised version of Rohan, but frankly, I don't like this option much, as to me 'Rohan' still represents, in large part, an identity I tried to build up as a way of avoiding dealing with my gender identity issues. So as much as I love the name 'Rohan' (I was named after Lord of the damn Rings! How cool is that?) I don't like what it still psychologically represents for me.
That said, a name is something you tend to unpack subconsciously, which is why it wasn't until recently that I even began to notice who called me 'Ro' and who called me 'Rohan'.
I intend to (and have been, albeit privately until now) documenting this process - physically, photographically and emotionally.
I will answer any questions you have for me, most likely. I've spent enough time in denial or hiding things; it's pointless for me to continue down that path.
My feelings on this matter are mine. My decisions as to how to handle this are mine. I do not pretend to speak for all people who don't identify as their birth-assigned gender, whether or not they've chosen to transition. If you ask me something that begins with, "As a trans person..." I'll probably stop you right there. My experiences, while they may have lots of common elements to those a massive number of people around the world experience, are still unique to me, and I cannot and will not pretend to talk "for" a large and diverse group of people, however similar they may or may not to be me in terms of gender identity and personal experience.
So... that's the guts of it, I guess.
If you know me in real life, you will likely notice (if you haven't already) the long, relatively slow process of my physical transition through hormone replacement.
If you don't know me in real life, it probably won't make a massive difference to you. Online I will still rant and joke about coding, games and the odd bit of politics. I might occasionally discuss transitioning, and I will link to my blog posts on the subject if that interests you.
Oh, and if you're reading this with anger or disgust - if you have some mental, religious or ethical issue with me being a trans woman? My only comment to you: I am sorry you feel that way, and I hope that your biases and personal issues won't hurt any more people than they absolutely must before you get over them. Because I guarantee you: you know more trans, intersex, gay, bi, asexual, gender non-binary and queer people than you ever realised.