Trans & Growing into My Vagina

Coming Home to Myself Again and Again

Detail from "Homecoming," ©2019 Bethany A. Beeler

[Trigger Warning and Caveat: This is my unique story. Although it may resonate with those who experience gender dysphoria, please know that not all trans persons choose surgery—and they don't need to in order to be trans.

You do you, boo.]

Before and after my Gender Affirmation Surgery, my entire self—not just my genitalia—had to transition.

You might think that I paused the night before my surgery. After all, my male genitals had been with me for nearly 56 years. (FYI, genitalia do not differentiate until later in gestation, at the behest of hormones, spurred by genes. Until that point, everyone has a vulva. Even to this day, boys, you can see a definitive line of demarcation along your scrotum that marks the gestational joining of the labia that formed your *gulp* vagina.) Showering in preparation for the morning's procedure, I didn't pause on the runway, even though my penis and testes helped me sire three of the most incredible human beings I know—my now-grown sons and daughter (who herself is now expecting!).


Though I knew nothing of my trans truth through my first 50+ years (recounted in my memoir), I regarded my male genitals with the same detachment some might regard interstellar-immigrant aliens living among us, applying for visas, doing menial jobs, and pursuing happiness. Who are you? I know you've got a backstory, but why are you here?

Puberty was an elongated torture session, testosterone saturating me with urges I could not understand. Incessant erections and biochemically inspired fantasies made me say and do things that I never would conceive in my right mind.

Detail from "Homecoming," ©2019 Bethany A. Beeler

Flying My Mind Right

That was what was missing for so long—a mind right with herself. I'm not saying all who present as male feel the way I did. Some captain the jet with gusto, integrity, and masculine beauty. Me? I held the gun to the pilot's head, all the time wondering who'd hijacked the plane. My right mind took the captain's chair when I transitioned at the tender age of 54. The aircraft eagerly responded to a hand at the wheel that intuitively treasured the airship. We were finally one.

Post-surgery, I had to grow into my vulva—this after two years of professional counseling, a psychological evaluation, living and presenting as the woman I am, legally changing my name, multiple visits with physicians, and taking testosterone blockers and estrogen.

Clearly, then, I had no second thoughts about the plane's destination. Yet, I evolved with my vagina in a way that I never could with male genitalia. Every day, a heart-piercing gratitude floods over me that I'm a woman. When I suffered the ravages of testosterone, I was a displaced stranger to my own body.

"Homecoming," ©2019 Bethany A. Beeler


Now I'm home, on the tarmac, safe from the storm. Grounded, I tour the rooms of myself, overwhelmed at my opulent rightness. There's nowhere else I'd rather be but who I am right here, right now.

If you've never met yourself again and again for the first time, then perhaps you're cisgender—in the same place with yourself and situation at the elemental, subatomic particle-and-wavelength level.

Enough for You, Enough for Me

But I have a feeling displacement haunts all of us. The cisgender majority may not feel it in their loins like I did, but all of us live it in other ways. Witness the current war, political conflict, economic upheaval, and fear that our children will never have the lives we and our parents could count on.

I couldn't count on bounty until I transitioned, my body, heart, mind, and soul robbed of the chance to grow into me. Now, I do not take it for granted. So, repressive legislation and transphobia make me say, "ENOUGH! Whether you believe I have the right to be me, guess what? I am."