• Illustration by Lily Padula

[Kai M. Green is one of the speakers tonight at Trans* Pride. Event details here. — Eds ]

I always knew I was different. That sentence alone isn't quite right. Perhaps I could extend it to this: I always knew I was different from the other girls. You may think you know that story, but that is not my story, either. I never itched to jump out of my frilly socks or my fancy Sunday dresses with matching gloves and tilted hat. I loved Barbie dolls and nail polish just as much as I loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and fetching pink worms out of dirty puddles. Perhaps a more truthful statement is: I am always different.

Transgender is an umbrella term that describes a range of gender-variant identities, but as the word enters our everyday lexicon through celebrity figures like Chaz Bono, Laverne Cox, and Janet Mock, we are becoming a known identity category. People who were born in the wrong body and trapped, we decided to take our gender into our own hands and determine its route. Transgender narratives have been reiterated time and time again as a trip from one end of the gender spectrum to the other—female to male (FTM) or male to female (MTF).

But if we acknowledge only that particular narrative as The Transgender Narrative, we leave a lot of people out. There are transgender people who do not take hormones or have surgeries for various reasons, two of them being access (money and health insurance) and desire (not all transgender people want to take hormones or have surgery).

I've had so many people—people who I've just met or never met—ask me things like "So are you going to go all the way? Do the full transition?" And they are asking me about my genitals (bottom surgery): Am I going to complete my transition and become a real, true-blue dick-in-the-pants man?