I am a classic transgender person, in the sense that I was born with a female body but always felt that this was wrong. Even when I thought I was a lesbian, I wasn’t comfortable with having a female body and most of it was ‘out of bounds’ for lovers which caused problems. At the time, I was ashamed because in my fantasies I was always male. The reality was that I yearned for my body to be male. Following a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, I started my transition fifteen years ago through taking male hormones.
I’m heterosexual. I’ve only ever been attracted to women and I’ve never slept with a man. So before transitioning I considered myself a lesbian whereas now I’m very much a typical heterosexual male, albeit with an unusual history.
I was never particularly butch as a lesbian. I wanted to distance myself from the butch image and I even went through a ‘lipstick lesbian’ phase, though I could never bring myself to wear skirts or dresses.
Clothes shopping now is a very enjoyable experience. I experience sheer joy buying men’s clothes without having to compromise or worry about being humiliated. Whilst it is not traditionally a men’s thing, shopping for clothes, I love it.
Women’s football makes me very emotional and I am a huge fan of the England team and stars like Jodie Taylor. This comes from being prevented from playing football when I was 11. I was in the primary school team and football crazy as a kid, so being told I couldn’t continue because I was ‘a girl’ was horrible and discriminatory.
I was a lesbian feminist. Post-transition, I remain a feminist, despise sexism and believe in equality. I support quotas for women at company board level and 50% representation in parliament.
Although I suffered from two severe manic episodes and one depressive period in my early twenties, I’ve been fine for 24 years and not on any medication. I am proud of this, though I accept that sometimes medication is necessary. My mental illness was connected to a crisis over gender identity and an insecure background.
Yes, I have a penis. I hate the assumption that trans men don’t have full lower surgery. Full surgery meaning removal of womb and vagina and creation of penis and testicles. Not all trans men have this surgery of course for a variety of reasons and it’s much more common in the UK/Europe than in the US.
Hormones have changed me a lot. Aside from the many physical changes including my body temperature being higher, my moods have become more stable. I worry less, am less aggressive and I’m calmer.
Lastly, my last name is not a made-up name as so many people assume! Kiss is a common Hungarian name. My great great Grandfather was Hungarian but I’m actually half Colombian as my mother was Colombian. This is a handy excuse for not being especially tall as in Colombian men tend to be shorter than British men.
About the author: Charlie Kiss is a trans man who used to be a lesbian and was an activist at a women’s peace camp. He was the first trans man to stand for Parliament, in 2015. Now at peace with his true identity, he works in housing for local government and is based in East London.
‘A New Man- Lesbian/Protest/Mania/Trans Man’ is published by Matador on 15th October 2017, RRP £13.99 and is available to buy online from Troubador publishing or can be ordered from all good bookstores.