Monday, 21 November 2005

It was 30 years ago Today

Or near enough, anyway. I was 16, going on 17, when the picture was taken.

No wonder so many people recognised me at the Class of '75 reunion. This picture, along with pictures of the various football, rowing, and other sports teams was projected at the back of the hall.

I look at that picture, and I wonder. If today's technology would have existed back then... if the Internet had been around so kids with this problem could have found out more about it... if Society as a whole would have been different, more knowlegeable, less ignorant and bigotted.... well, maybe. Maybe not, at the time I thought it would take some sort of miracle to make me look normal. I guess it did.

The face was OK, that was never the problem. I remember as if it was yesterday, I deliberately half turned away from the camera to hide my broad, footballer frame. Never did know what to do with my hands. My instinctive relaxation positions couldn't be assumed, I had muscles where I shouldn't, everything felt wrong. Couldn't even cross my legs properly.

At age 12 or so, just before I entered Grammar, I learned that Boys and Girls were already physiologically different, and had been since birth. It wasn't just an arbitrary category you got put into, one that you could get changed before Puberty. I knew it intellectually then, Boy Body, had to be a Boy.

But it wasn't until I was 15, and started growing facial hair, that it really hit me. I was stuck like this, permanently, irrevocably. And it wasn't too bad. I could handle it. Male Body? OK, grow into the best darn Male you can be, Girl! There isn't that much difference is there? Is there? Please tell me there isn't....

Did I always have that haunted expression? So obvious in hindsight, but so difficult to recognise at the time?

OK, so assuming the technology and whatnot had existed, after a few years of transition, I would have gotten maybe 25 or so years of living a normal life. But I wouldn't have my little son. And a marriage 25 years long to my other half, the love of my life.

You know what? I got a bargain, didn't I? And wonder of wonders, I get to be Me, Zoe, at the end of it too.

Photo courtesy of the Sydney Grammar School Archives, to whom many thanks

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