Becoming Me: My Favourite Jacket

Meet my favourite jacket.

A photo posted by Lee Hulme (@geekilee) on

A photo posted by Lee Hulme (@geekilee) on

I love this jacket, for a number of reasons, even the simplest of which has layers.

I mean, this jacket is cool and it looks pretty good on. But even that statement has more behind it than aesthetics.

You see, I’m not just a trans guy. I’m a trans guy with a big chest, which even the sturdiest binder can’t entirely erase evidence of. Until the day I get to have top surgery to fix this, I have to rely on both binders, and clothes, to provide me with something approaching the body I feel happiest in.

The cut of this jacket is ideal for that. It’s a narrow fit, which slims me down a little. The shoulder lapels and the pockets add to the overall fit to mask the presence of that slight chest bump. Best of all, it’s thick enough and fitted enough that with a binder on, it removes what’s leftof that telltale boob line.

The day I have a male chest will be a great day for me. For now, this is as close as I can get. I put on the binder, I put on this jacket, et voila: manly me.

There are a number of clothes in my wardrobe which I haven’t been able to wear in some time because their cut, their shape, their thickness, whatever, don’t hide the bump, and/or show the line of the binder. Again, not being a small-chested guy, this is an issue.

Black clothes are good. Long gone are the days when I wore all black just to hide – now I wear black because the colour hides those lines. I wear two layers for the same reason, plus because an extra layer the chest area look flatter.

There are specific tshirts and long-sleeved shirts I know I ca wear and feel sort of ok. I have hopes that hormone treatment, both as part of the effects of the hormones and simply by offering certain gender markers that might overcome the female markers I still have, will help here.

I know that I will feel better as hormones and later surgery masculinise me – because that’s who I am on the inside. I know that I will be less self-conscious (and therefore spend less energy hiding how self-conscious I am) as I move closer to matching the insides and outsides.

Here’s the thing, though. I can tell you till I’m blue in the face that it’s all about how I feel, and not at all about how others perceive me, but I’d be lying. So much of who we are is connected to the person the world sees. Anyone who has successfully navigated the social minefield knows that sometimes the only way to avoid being blown up is to step correctly.

On the outside, I calmly and confidently follow The Doctor’s advice.


On the inside, I’m often doing anything but.

When someone who first knew me as female genders me correctly – it makes me happy, because I know they’ve made the effort to see and know me as I am.
When someone who once knew me as female genders me incorrectly, it makes me unhappy – but I understand that the change isn’t easy, especially for those who don’t see me often, so it’s ok, as long as they’re aware and trying. I always have time to help that journey be a little easier.

When someone I know misgenders me intentionally, or simply because they can’t be bothered to make an effort, then I’m unhappy. If they do so after repeated corrections, I unhappy can turn to frustrated and sad. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be who I wasn’t, and a lot of time figuring out who I am – and nobody else has the right to take that away from me. If they don’t care enough to see how important it is to simply try, then they don’t belong in my life.

When someone who doesn’t know me genders me correctly – it makes me happy that they’re seeing me.
When someone I don’t know misgenders me, I am forced to accept it and move on, but it bothers me, no matter how much I pretend it doesn’t. Sadly my day job put me on the phone, where, currently, I am assumed to be female every time. I say nothing to the people that call me “she” or, “love” or whatever. I am forced to accept their interpretation of what they hear. Likewise strangers in the street, in a shop, wherever: I can either walk around wearing a sign, or I can accept that right now, people don’t always see me, but something that isn’t me.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and I see a shadow of me, as I could be, as I hopefully will be. Most of the time I look in the mirror and I have no idea what’s looking back. Sure, it’s only some cloth, but the right clothes help with that. Sometimes.

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