There's nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.
- Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones 8x06 "The Iron Throne"
Hello, my name is Amy Gale Ruth Bowersox. I am a transgender woman, which is to say I was born assigned male, and only later in life came into my proper self. And this is my story.
There are many people like me, but not very many compared to the masses of humanity as a whole. In the United States, for example, there are estimated to be about 1.4 million people that identify as something other than the gender they were born with, or about 0.4% of the total U.S. population. While I strongly suspect that estimated number is still low, there’s no question that we transgender individuals are rare indeed.
We certainly seem to draw far more attention than our numbers would justify. As of 2021, while the extremely prejudicial years of Donald Trump are now behind us, the debate rages on over our rights, particularly for the youngest of us and those who are athletes. It seems some people simply don’t understand us, despite everything. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to understand us.
And that's a good reason why my story needs to be told.
It’s been said that, while the hardest things that people will go through in their lives are birth and death, the next hardest thing, for those of us that experience it, is transition. Having been through the process, I understand this in a way that the other 99.6% of the population of the U.S. simply can’t.
(I speak, of course, as someone who has made the transition from man to woman. I do know a number of trans men and non-binary people, but I don’t know about their experience in as much depth as I know mine, and I won’t presume to speak for them.)
It’s hard for people to see just how much your whole life changes in the process of transition. It’s far more than just putting on a dress and makeup. Everything about you changes, from your identity, to your appearance, to the way you interact with others, to the way they interact with you and the space you occupy in the world. Your previous experience means very little; you have to build yourself up almost from the ground level. It’s out with the old, in with the new, in a way that has little to compare it against.
And things are not just different, they’re harder. Science fiction author John Scalzi, in a 2012 essay, describes it thus: “In the role playing game known as The Real World, ‘Straight White Male’ is the lowest difficulty setting there is.” Changing that to “female” cranks up the difficulty. Add “transgender” to that, and you’re definitely on “expert level”...and you may be adding “lesbian” as well, for another difficulty boost. I can’t even imagine adding “non-white” to the mix; Scalzi refers to the resulting combination as “Hardcore.” (emphasis his) When you’ve been used to “playing” a straight white male “character,” switching to a lesbian trans woman character can be disconcerting. Instructive, certainly, but disconcerting.
So why would anyone deliberately put themselves through all this? I once came up with an answer to that question that describes it perfectly: Because it hurts less than not putting ourselves through it does.
In my case, though, it seems to not have hurt very much at all. Whether by dint of reading the right things, encountering the right people, or simply sheer good fortune, I made the jump from being the somewhat asocial man that I was, into a much-better-adjusted woman. It happened with very little friction...truly, a Transition Without Tears.
And this is how it happened.
The site is divided into several categories. "Scenes" are little snippets of my life that are relevant to my story as a trans woman; "Sidebars" are short pieces related to transgender people and transitioning that talk about key concepts, usually with my own experience mixed in. There's also the usual meta-category for posts about the site itself.
Please: be informed, be educated, be entertained, and, like The Doctor, be kind.