I kicked off my last summer as a boy by rubbing one out on the 10th story of a South Waterfront skyscraper.
The South Waterfront was Portland’s latest urban renewal district until the economy crashed. Now it’s half glassy towers and half vacant lots. FOR SALE signs decorate the condominiums.
But The Oregon Health Science University Center for Health & Healing—a gleaming building among empty chain-linked squares—is pretty cheery. I checked in with its fertility lab’s receptionist on a sunny May morning. I wore my bright green dress. It matched the weather, but I would’ve worn it in a hail storm. I usually wear T-shirts with a skirt or jeans, but nothing less than a dress seemed fitting that day. It had taken me so long to get to this point; dressing in anything resembling men’s clothes would’ve felt like giving in.
I was at the fertility clinic because of the hormones I was planning to take in the Fall. Feminizing hormones will cause a dude to grow boobs, soften his skin, lower his sex drive, melt his body hair and shrink his balls. (For starters.) This happens gradually, over a few years, and the changes are generally reversible—except for sterility, and I want kids someday. So I made the appointment and paid for a year’s storage of my cryogenically frozen semen ($280). I figured, if I had trouble making subsequent payments, that this would make for a reasonable request of parental money.
The pleasant man who took me back wore a shiny grey shirt and was named Brian. He told me how to label my cup and pointed to the magazine drawer “if you need them.” It was all very professional. “Make sure you lock the door,” he advised.
It was a typical medical examining room, except there was no patient table, and instead of overhead lighting there was a dimly lit floor lamp. I looked through the magazines. There were layers.
1) Playboy and Penthouse. Classy ones on top. Okay.
2) XXX Club International. Lots of cocks in lots of holes. Fair enough.
3) Random gay mags. The covers are ripped off of these. I can’t see the names. And the pages are tearing and the bindings are falling out. I would’ve hoped for sturdy smut, at least, for $280.
I realized I was blissfully unbothered by the fact that these magazines had touched freshly jizz-producing hands. I felt like I should’ve felt more disturbed. But I’m here to ejaculate into a cup, I thought. I’m here because I want to be a girl. A sperm-dyed piece of paper, really, is probably not one of the strangest things a person could find themselves encountering.
4) Maxim and FHM. Okay, what the fuck.
5) Your Prom. This is a teen girl’s magazine. With Taylor Swift on the cover?!?
Perturbed, I closed the drawer.
Posted to the door was a list of guidelines. At the top of this list was MAKE SURE THE DOOR IS LOCKED.
The next guideline read, SOME MEN PREFER TO BRING A SPOUSE/PARTNER WITH THEM TO HELP COLLECT THE SAMPLE. IF YOU WISH TO DO THIS, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO DO SO.
A giggling twosome strides in and bones by the glow of the dimly lit floor lamp. I pondered attempting to talk ex-partners into helping me “collect my sample.” Hey baby, want to bang on a cold floor and watch me splooge into a cup?
I looked further down the list. INFORM LABORATORY PERSONNEL IF PART OF THE SAMPLE WAS LOST. What a polite way, I thought, of asking you to let them know if you came on the floor. A lost sample. Lost kids. Future kids were swimming in me, soon they’d be swimming in a cup, and then they’d be frozen by a technician I’d never meet, and neither would they. I looked at the drawer that held a torn Taylor Swift.
I’m sorry I can’t give you a better beginning to your journey. I bowed my head, and lifted up my dress. I swear, if you make it, I will give you the best life I can. I will be the best damn mother to you I can. You will never have to hide who you are. You will never have to feel guilty for who you want to be. I promise you’ll be safe. I promise I’ll always love you. I promise you, I’m already there. It was too hard to keep the bottom of my dress pulled up. I took it off. Standing naked, I threw it in a corner.