There’s no way to get around this so I’ll just come right out and say it. I’m a man who used to be a woman. Some people call me transgender. You can call me Lucas.
I started a band in 2004 called The Cliks when I was still a woman because I grew tired of being called ‘female singer song-writer’. I found it condescending. I wanted gender forever removed from my musical identity. Ironically, it was becoming The Cliks that led to me to begin truly confronting my gender.
Music became my sanctuary. A place I could be alone, safe, myself. I would sit in front of a record player and play The Beatles for hours on end, which I chose over playing with children. Life was too painful to not be alone.
I came out as a lesbian in my late teens, being that the word transgender and any knowledge of what it meant did not exist in the world I lived in. My parents took it well and I counted myself lucky.
I came out as a trans man years later on the cusp of getting my first major label record deal and was thrust into the spotlight as “the first out transgender man to ever be signed to a major record label deal”. I was confused and still processing while being watched by the PC Police of the LGBT community. It was a difficult transition on many counts.
To begin, I didn’t go on testosterone treatment for 5 years because I was told it would ruin my singing voice. The duality of identifying as a man but appearing as a woman was incredibly taxing and in all honesty was starting to make me feel suicidal.
After two major label releases, I watched everything slip away that I had worked so hard for and I let it. I didn’t want to be there in a woman’s skin, with a voice that never allowed me to feel any happiness. My band quit because they were unhappy, I decided this was my cue to do the same. Telling no one but my partner, I began hormone treatment. I knew losing my voice was possible, but I also knew that if I didn’t do this that I would not see myself through any more pain. That I would give up.
It is now 3 years later. My label, band and manager walked. When my girlfriend made it clear she expected me to not disclose my past to new friends, it made me feel invisible so I left. I lost community who excluded me from spaces I had gone to as a woman. I heard people toss “privileged white male” at me as though they knew my narrative, personally knowing that my luck did not equal privilege.
But what I gained surpassed all the minutiae. What I gained was myself, my voice, my greatest unflagging companion.
I may come off sounding full of woe but it is only from this woe that I learned and am daily reminded that nothing, I mean nothing, is more precious than the time we have here. Now.
We spend so much of our lives struggling for a sense of self only to be turned away when we find it. The world can be so unkind. It is only within the personal battle to become our true selves that we will ever win the war against unkindness.
I don’t believe in gender or sexuality anymore. I believe I am human and I have a right to be happy. I am a warrior of self and I have won the battle.
You can purchase a CD of ‘Black Tie Elevator’ here.
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