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Hey Doc, some boys are born girls: Decker Moss at TEDxColumbus

May 31, 2021
Translated by: Mathilde Kennis Reviewed by: Peter van de Ven Today, thirteen years ago, I came out as a lesbian, which was a huge relief. I remember thinking at the time, "Thank God I won't ever have to do this again." Apparently I was wrong, because two years ago I came out of the closet again. This time I don't mean that I wasn't attracted to the opposite sex, but rather that I was of the opposite sex. When I was

born

, a doctor looked at me and said, "She's a girl." But the problem was that I never felt like a girl.
hey doc some boys are born girls decker moss at tedxcolumbus
But in our society, gender is not about how we feel, but how we look. It is assigned to us by a doctor when we are

born

, based solely on what is between our legs. But I think this needs to change. One of the first things I learned about my gender was that it wasn't just about me. It was about everyone around me. When I was little, people called me a tomboy because she was a girl who did boyish things, like running around the yard without a shirt. I wanted to join the boy scouts so I could go camping in the woods at night.
hey doc some boys are born girls decker moss at tedxcolumbus

More Interesting Facts About,

hey doc some boys are born girls decker moss at tedxcolumbus...

He wanted to play football, baseball and hockey. But it was the '70s and

girls

weren't allowed to do that. So I resigned myself. I joined a

girls

' youth movement, played less hard ball sports, and, instead of hockey, I went ice skating, almost too. But he had a plan. There was an ice skating rink near our house. They rented hockey equipment for kids and I thought, "If I can't be a hockey star, I'll just pretend." So one night I went to the landlord with my ponytail and asked for

some

hockey skates. The employee looked at me, leaned back, grabbed a pair of white figure skates, placed them in front of me and said, "These are for girls." She didn't care that I felt like a boy on the inside because she looked like a girl on the outside.
hey doc some boys are born girls decker moss at tedxcolumbus
How many of you here today are men? He raises his hand. First of all, I'm super jealous. (Laughter) Well, everyone who raised their hand, I want you to imagine the moment this morning when you went into the bathroom to shave, but now imagine how you would feel if you were looking at the mirror and the face you looked at. It was not necessary to shave it because it is perfectly smooth; no facial hair, no beard, nothing. Now imagine that you look at your own body and realize that your chest is not flat, but that you have breasts, not fat man breasts. (Laughs) And when you look a little further, you realize that your penis is gone.
hey doc some boys are born girls decker moss at tedxcolumbus
When you scream in shock, the voice you hear sounds more like that of your wife or sister. Imagine going to your closet and choosing what you are wearing now. You get dressed, get in your car, drive here, and when you hand your ticket to the inspector, he looks you right in the eye and says sincerely, "Thank you, ma'am. Enjoy the event." How would you feel? I felt like this every day since I was a teenager. And when I looked in the mirror, I wanted to scream too. I'm 44 years old and I just started my transition about a year and a half ago.
When I say this, people

some

times ask, "But if you've felt this way your whole life, why are you only transitioning now?" It's quite complicated. First of all, coming out as a lesbian to my parents was very stressful. The idea of ​​telling them I want to change gender...wasn't on my wish list. (Laughs) But seriously, there was a lot more to it than that. I was terrified because it would be very public. Because let's face it, it's pretty impossible to change gender without anyone noticing. (Laughs) And like at the skating rink, I learned that my gender is not just about me; my family, my friends, my colleagues, my clients, everyone would suffer the consequences.
I knew many of them would find it difficult and whether I liked it or not, they all saw me as a woman. Ironically, I saw myself that way too, but not because I identified as a girl, but as a twin. My sister Jenny and I are twins, but we have looked and sounded identical our entire lives. And I loved that. I loved walking into a place where people turned their heads and looked at us in amazement. It was a big part of my identity, my identity with my twin sister. And I knew that taking testosterone would eliminate it.
My face would change, my voice would drop and we would never be identical again. And that idea made me very sad, because I knew that my decision would have a huge impact not only on my identity, but on hers as well. But one day she was at my house and we were standing in the kitchen and I told her that she had made an appointment with a therapist about my gender identity. And she said, "I knew that one day you would come and tell me that you would do something about it and I'm glad. Because from the outside, the rest of the world always saw you that way.
But deep down I know that in reality it was always that way." gender journey was not one big leap, but several, three to be precise, starting with the one that had the greatest emotional impact and the least on my identity as a twin, and that was my decision to have surgery and remove my breasts to look more like a man. .Easier said than done, because it doesn't fit with what women should look like in our society. If you, as a woman, voluntarily remove your breasts, people will think that something is very, very wrong with you. that before I could undergo that operation, my surgeon demanded a letter from my therapist diagnosing me with Gender Identity Disorder.
So bad that when I made an appointment with my doctor for a final checkup before the surgery and he suspected what I was doing. to operate, not because I told him so, but because he searched for it on Google, he refused to see me. And he had been my doctor for ten years. So bad that when I ended up in the emergency room, a week after my surgery, with a blood clot in my leg, I lied to the doctors, nurses and scan technicians, telling them that I had had a breast reduction. Because I was afraid that if I told them the truth, they would refuse to see me too.
But it wasn't so bad that my health insurance recognized my therapy and surgeries as medically necessary for my diagnosed mental condition and reimbursed them. So I paid everything out of pocket. But despite all that, the surgery changed my life emotionally. For the first time since puberty, what I saw was true, at least from here to here, when I looked in the mirror. But then something happened. It was as if, now that my chest was male, I found it increasingly difficult to hear people address me as a woman, or by my maiden name, or as "she." So I made a second decision.
I decided to officially change my name to Decker and asked everyone in my life to use male pronouns. But unlike my surgery, which I underwent quietly, I had to tell everyone about my name change; all; not only my family, friends and colleagues, but also my gardener, my cleaner, my veterinarian, my electrician, my coffee friends, my neighbors; all. Changing your maiden name to a child's name is awkward. I felt like I had to explain this to them, that I had to come out as transgender or something. But should the man who cleans my pool know my life story? (Laughs) The whole situation was disgusting.
It took months and months and months of phone calls, emails, deep conversations, it was complicated, it seemed endless, and I was constantly terrified. But in the end I survived. And almost everyone I cared about accepted it or was able to adapt. A handful of people didn't. I learned who my real friends are. But I also learned something else. I learned that life cannot be lived in a bubble: with family, friends and colleagues. There is a much bigger world, full of strangers, bartenders, waiters, customs officials and taxi drivers, and they were not informed. They didn't know I now had a male name, they didn't use male pronouns, and they didn't see this.
They saw this. To them I looked like a 'she'. I sounded like a 'she', like a lady. So I finally made a third big decision. I chose to say goodbye to the part of my identity that I loved most: the part I had in common with my twin sister. I chose to take testosterone because by then I had learned that that hormone was the only thing that could guarantee that the world would ever see this as anything other than feminine. Ultimately, I really needed to be seen as I always saw myself. And they do it today too.
When I meet someone, they mistake me for a man. They see me that way, but the good thing is that my sister does too. But there are still problems, because changing your gender isn't just changing a name, and that letter is attached to everything from our birth certificate to our death certificate and everything in between. Even the ticket order for today included the question about your gender. But legally changing your gender isn't as simple as choosing between M or F on a selection bar. There are laws, rules, regulations, costs. And it varies by state in the US.
My birth certificate says "female." I was born in Missouri and in that state you need a court order with proof of surgery to change the gender on your certificate. But I live in Arizona. So for me that would mean scheduling a hearing, buying a plane ticket, flying to Missouri, paying fees, showing up in front of a judge with a letter saying my breasts were cut off... thank you... (Laughter) and sending the cut order to the Bring Vital Administration department, only to get a certificate with the 'changed' seal. This way, everyone who sees my new birth certificate will know that I was born a woman.
If I had been born here in Ohio, it would be even worse. Because this is one of three states that does not allow gender reassignment on a birth certificate for any reason. My driver's license and health insurance still say "female" because it's a good plan to have them both match. But if I change both to "male", my health insurance company has the right to deny me reimbursement for anything related to my female anatomy. Because they see it like this: men do not get ovarian cancer. My social security card is “female,” my educational documents are “female,” etcetera, etcetera.
So despite everything I did to make the world see me as a man, on paper I am still a woman. Our world is designed to keep us in those two boxes. But why? Is all this gender fuss really necessary? I want you to throw away for a moment everything you know about what is masculine and what is feminine. Imagine a world where gender is not an issue for doctors and judges, where we can all claim our own gender based on what we have between our ears, and not have it assigned to us based on what we have between our legs.
Here we all have the opportunity to identify ourselves as a man, as a woman, as both, as neither. Here we never simply assume someone's gender by how they look, how they sound, or by their name. In this world, when you hand in your TEDx ticket, people don't automatically say "sir" or "ma'am," but rather "enjoy the event, my friend." And when you start talking to the stranger next to you, he first asks you what pronouns you prefer before asking what your profession is. I wonder: would I have acquired hockey skates in a world like that? Was he on the hockey team?
Or with the explorers? Or was he a football coach? Should I have changed my name because it was too feminine? Or having to take testosterone to be considered a man? Sacrifice part of my identity as a twin? Would my surgery be considered simply cosmetic surgery? Something I simply choose to feel good in my body? How to correct a birth defect. In this world, free from the strict dichotomy, I wonder: would I have to come out as transgender? Today is National Coming Out Day. And if we had been born or lived in a world like the one I just described, I could have stood on this stage and expressed myself as an artist, or a writer, as a dog lover, or a sports addict, or a lifelong Dolly fan.
Parton. (laughs) Or maybe I stayed here and just expressed myself as I am. Thank you. (Applause)

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