The Language of Transitioning from Female to Male

photo-2-1

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.

-Oliver Bendorf, writing in Buzzfeed LGBT, about the similarities in the language surrounding death and transitioning. Read more from the Longreads Archive.

***

Photo of Oliver Bendorf, courtesy of the author.

We need your help to get to 5,000 Longreads Members.

Join Longreads now and help us keep going.

Sam Stecklow is a TV and journalism student in Chicago. He grew up in Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area. He spends most of his time either watching sitcoms or reading the giant stack of magazines next to his bed.