retpolanne blog

Your friendly programmer catgirl 🏳️‍⚧️😺

8 April 2024

The trans girl I could've been

by Anne Macedo

Consider this the second post of my transgender series - pre egg-cracking.

I remember childhood being… weird. One of my favorite shows was the Peanuts show, and my two favorite characters were Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Snoopy because, well, he’s a dog, and dogs are often cute. And Charlie Brown had this depressive, melancholic aura on him that I could understand and resonate with at a very young age. Charlie Brown was pretty much like me.

I think I was a very awkward child. My sensory issues started showing up at age 4 or 5, when I was be scared of fireworks, rain, movie theaters and the SMPTE color bars that played a 1khz sine wave sound at the beginning of every VHS tape (my father thankfully would always unplug the audio line from the VCR when it played so it wouldn’t scare me). I had a wide range of very specific topics which I would hyperfocus to - the Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox logos, Nickelodeon bumpers, Peanuts characters, Sonic the Hedgehog, Invader Zim, Microsoft Windows, The Simpsons, Star Wars, FIAT cars, the list goes on.

I would cry and meltdown quite often - but for some reason my parents didn’t think there was anything wrong with me. To myself, I was just different, and kids were often mean to me. To other people, I was clearly autistic. However, I didn’t have a diagnosis until I was 21 (although I hyperfocused in autism when I was 15, spending countless hours researching about this condition).

When it comes to gender, I faintly remember being a girl in make-believe plays as a kid.

I remember in one of these plays that my name was Angel (because of the 1999 TV show Angel that would air on FOX). In other play, I was Luna (because I loved Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter and also because I wanted to be a lunatic, cloudcuckoolander [1] character. When I was confronted by other kids, they would tell me “this is a girl’s name” and I would say “yes, but I don’t care” or something like that. I also remember playing as Princess Leia and as Gaz, from Invader Zim.

My favorite TV show characters were girls or gender-neutral people. I loved The Amanda Show (behind the scenes, this show was… creepy?), Gaz from Invader Zim, Buttercup from Powerpuff Girls (I just LOVED Powerpuff Girls as a kid, having watched the movie back in 2003 I would play the theme song on repeat - I also had a Buttercup figure which was so cute), Jenny from My Life as a Teenage Robot, etc.

Being a cry-baby most of the times, people would call me a Mariquinha, Boiola, Cafe com Leite and other terms that only make sense in portuguese, but they all kind of mean that you’re effeminate, gay, or a person who’s fragile.

When I was 7 or 8 years old, I was obsessed with cats and with those pens with glitter that had a great smell (quite specific). I would often draw little kitten heads in my notebooks, until my father told me that “if other kids started bullying me because of those kitten heads, I would have to deal with the bullies myself”. Well, nobody ever bullied me for that and girls at school kind of loved my drawings.

I was bad at sports, while every kid knew how to play football I would prefer not playing or being the “Cafe com Leite”. In elementary school, when I was forced to play with other kids, I would usually play with the girls because they would play football nicer.

Although I was quite girly, I kind of liked “boyish stuff”, such as cars. I also hated wearing shorts and loved wearing skinny pants, blouses. I kind of wanted to wear skirts, but I don’t recall ever asking my mom for those, but I always liked the shape that they had. My father was an avid rock nerd and I loved seeing those androgynous rockstars with big hair and weird voices that sounded femme. I’ve always wanted to have a big hair like other girls and I didn’t understand why I had to cut my hair. I hated cutting my hair.

When I was 11 or something, I started liking more “gayish” stuff, such as Lady Gaga, Glee (especially Kurt Hummel, the gay character). That’s when dysphoria started hitting hard because my voice started changing, my mustache and body hair started growing. I started noticing women’s breasts, but I kind of wanted to have my own breasts - secretly wearing my mom’s bras when she wasn’t home.

As a teen, I started loving very queer bands such as of Montreal and shows such as My Little Pony and Sailor Moon. I also remember having this idea that, if I were born a girl, life would be better for me, since I had this crippling social anxiety and dysphoria (I didn’t know it was dysphoria at the time).

These days, I’ve been feeling a little depressed: I wish I had transitioned earlier. I also wish I had been diagnosed with autism earlier. I understand that maybe I wasn’t mature enough for that thought, but I don’t really buy into it. But well, it’s something I have to deal with rather than keep thinking things could’ve been different. That’s radical acceptance.

Anne’s story is a long one (from a character/alter ego to my own identity), I won’t talk about it now, but this is basically my pre egg-cracking story.

[1] TV Tropes - Cloudcuckoolander

tags: neurodivergence - transgender