I’m Mikey. I’m twenty-one. I’m a writer, an artist, and a musician. I’m trans. And I’m moving into a residence hall on a brand new college campus tomorrow with three other young men who have no idea I was born female.
Crazy, right? Depending on when that question comes up, I may just answer in the affirmative.
The thing is, I have wanted this for as long as I can remember. My father rushed a fraternity when he was in college, and he used to tell me stories about it all the time. His eyes lit up as he spoke about the camaraderie, the goofing around, the pranks and jokes, the loyalty, the socializing. Spend ten minutes listening to him, and I swear y’all would want to rush a fraternity, too.
I came out to my parents as a gay trans guy when I was eighteen. Though I don’t classify myself as exclusively gay, it’s easier for my parents to grasp that concept. They’re extremely conservative. They spend their free time running the local church’s “Prayer Hotline” and volunteering in the Knights of Columbus. Throwing around phrases like “homoromantic” or “polysexual” would probably buy me a permanent spot on that prayer line, if my name isn’t already engraved into those e-mails!
Coming out didn’t go too well at first. In fact, after I finished my first year of school in the University of Illinois system, I made the tough decision to move out to Boston to continue my education. I couldn’t handle my parents on top of the harassment I had put up with at school, and Boston just seemed so much more liberal than my small Midwestern hometown. I needed a change, a new place where I could be myself, where I could be a “typical guy” like my father.
Having taken two years off between then and now, I have had plenty of time to figure out what I want from my new school. I want to go through the remainder of college without a label that tells everyone what’s in my pants. I want to have the same sort of experiences that my father had when he was in college. I want that male camaraderie, the ability to make those awesome memories. I want to finish school without constantly worrying about being harassed. I want to have roommates who don’t know I’m trans.
Before I even started the application process, I set up a meeting with representatives from the departments of residential life and diversity services to discuss potential housing situations. I communicated my desire to live as stealth with other guys, and honestly, I expected to be shut down. Despite the fact that I am male on paper and I have been on testosterone for almost nineteen months, I expected the worst. (After my experiences with my first university, these thoughts were not uncalled for.) Nevertheless, to my absolute shock, the representatives at my new school were totally on board, and placed me in a quad – four guys, one room and one bathroom.
I spent such a long time fighting for this that it took a while for it to set in. But when it finally did (about a week ago) I became a nervous wreck. My mind has been racing with thoughts like, “Oh god, I’m rooming with guys who don’t know I’m trans. I’ve never met these guys. I have no idea what they’re like! What if they hate me? What if I hate them?! What if they’re really homophobic? What if they’re really transphobic?! What if they find out? What if I say something stupid and out myself? What if they walk in on me when I’m naked in the shower and…”
Okay, that last one sounded like a bad setup to a really bad porno. How about we scratch that one off the list and make a list about the positives instead?
This is the first time I get to do shit right. I get to make memories and have experiences as any other guy would, with guys that will probably, hopefully be in my life for a long time. I get to learn a lot about boys! Since I missed out on the whole socialized-as-male thing, I’m sure this will be useful. I will be able to tell my future children stories just like the ones my father told me.
I received my roommate assignments earlier this month. Thus far, I’ve only had a few text conversations with my roommates. They seem like good guys, though I’m a little worried about the fact that they find homophobic insults amusing. I sure don’t. They also overgender like crazy. Seriously, who needs to refer to someone else as “boss,” “chief,” “bro,” “dude,” and “buddy” all in one conversation?
At times, their speech can be very amusing. My favorite quote from the conversations thus far: “We are gonna stampede our room like a herd of buffalbros.”
I kid you not. Buffalbros.
I’m nervous… and excited. Really, really excited, but just as nervous. I move in on Tuesday, with the assistance of my 91-year-old cousins. If that isn’t the setup for the best move-in ever, I don’t know what is. We’ll see how this goes! I’ll let y’all know details about my roommates in my next post. I can’t wait to share my experiences with all of you. Wish me luck!