Articles, Blog

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

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

Translator: Helena Brunnerová
Reviewer: Denise RQ Thirteen years ago, today, I came out as gay,
and it was a huge, huge relief. And at the time, I remember thinking, “Thank God I will never have
to do that again.” Turns out I was wrong because two years ago, I came out again, only this time, instead of announcing that I wasn’t
attracted to the opposite gender, I announced that I was
the opposite gender. The day I was born, a doctor slapped me on the ass
and said, “It’s a girl.” But the problem was
that I never really felt like one. But in our society,
gender isn’t about how we feel, it’s about how we look. It’s assigned to us the moment
we’re born, by a doctor, based solely upon what’s between our legs. But I think that needs to change. One of the first things
that I learned about my gender was that it wasn’t only about me. It was about everybody around me, too. When I was a little kid,
I was labeled a tomboy because I was a girl
who wanted to do boy stuff, like run around in the yard
without my shirt on, I wanted to join the Cub Scouts so I could go camping,
in the woods, overnight. I wanted to play football,
and baseball, and hockey. But this was the 70s, and back then,
girls weren’t allowed to do that stuff. So I settled. Instead of the Cub Scouts,
I became a Brownie, instead of baseball – softball, and instead of playing hockey, I did
the next best thing – I went ice-skating. But I had a plan. Because there was a rink near our house, and they rented boys’
hockey skates, and I thought, “Well, if I can’t be a hockey star,
at least I can pretend to be one.” So one night, I bounced up
to the rental counter in my pigtails, and I asked for those hockey skates. And the attendant
looked at me, reached back, grabbed a pair of white figure skates, dropped them on the counter in front of me
and said, “Girls get these.” It did not matter to him
I felt like a little boy on the inside because I looked
like a little girl on the outside. How many of you here today are male? Raise your hand. First of all, totally jealous. (Laughter) OK, now, all of you who had your hands up, I want you to image a moment this morning when you first walked into
the bathroom to shave, only this time, imagine how you would feel
if you looked in the mirror and the face starring back at you
actually didn’t need to be shaved because it was perfectly smooth; no facial hair, no stubble whatsoever. Now imagine what you would think
if you looked down at your body, and your chest, instead of being flat, you realized you had breasts –
not man boobs. (Laughter) And when you look a little further,
you realize that your penis is gone. And when you scream out in horror, the voice you hear sounds
more like your wife or your sister. Now imagine going to your closet and picking out the exact same thing
that you’re wearing right now. You get dressed, you jump in your car,
you drive down to the event here today, and when you walk in
and hand your ticket to the attendant, they look you directly in the eye
and very sincerely say, “Thank you ma’am. Enjoy the event.” How would you feel? Once I hit puberty,
that’s how I felt every day of my life. And when I looked in the mirror,
I wanted to scream, too. I’m 44 years old, and I didn’t start my transition
until about a year and a half ago. And sometimes, when I tell people that, they say, “Well, if you’ve felt
like this your whole life, why didn’t you transition sooner?” Well, it’s kind of complicated. First of all, coming out to my parents
13 years ago as gay was stressful enough. The thought of telling them
that I wanted to have a sex change… not on my bucket list. (Laughter) But seriously, it was
a lot more than that. I was terrified. I was terrified of
how public I knew it would be. Because let’s face it, it’s pretty much impossible to transition
gender without anyone noticing. (Laughter) And just like at the ice rink, I knew
that my gender wasn’t just about me; my family, my friends,
my coworkers, my clients were all going to be affected by this. I knew that many of them
would struggle a lot, and whether I liked it or not, they were all invested
in the idea of me as female. And ironically, I was invested in it, too, but not because I identified as a girl
but because I identified as a twin. My sister, Jenny and I, are fraternal, but our entire lives, we’ve looked
and sounded identical. And I loved it. I loved walking into a room with her and watching heads snap around
and stare at us in amazement. It was a huge part of my identity, my identity with my twin sister. And I knew that taking
testosterone would erase it. My face would change, my voice would drop, and we would never again, ever,
look and sound identical. And the thought of that
made me really, really sad because I knew that making that decision wouldn’t only have an irreversible impact
on my identity but on her’s as well. But one day, she was at my house, and we were standing in the kitchen,
and I told her that I made an appointment to talk to a therapist
about my gender identity issues. And she said, “I knew that one day,
you’d come to me and say that you had to deal with this,
and I am glad. Because, well, on the outside, the rest of
the world has always seen you like this. I know that deep down,
you’ve always been like this.” My gender journey hasn’t been so much
a giant leap as a series of giant leaps, three, to be exact, starting with the one I knew would have
the biggest impact on me emotionally, and probably the smallest one
on my identity as a twin, and that was my decision
to have top surgery, to have my breasts surgically removed
and my chest reconstructed to look male. But that’s easier said than done because in our society,
women should look a certain way. And when you’re born female, and you voluntarily choose
to have your breasts removed, people think there is something
very, very wrong with you. Wrong enough
that in order to have my surgery, my surgeon required
a letter from my therapist diagnosing me with a mental condition
called gender identity disorder, and wrong enough that when I went to make
an appointment with my family doctor for my pre-surgical clearance, and he suspected
what I might be having surgery for – and not because I told him,
because he googled it – he refused to see me. And he had been my doctor
for over ten years. And wrong enough 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, and the nurses,
and the ultrasound techs and told them that I had
a breast reduction. Because I was afraid
that if I told them the truth, they would refuse to see me, too. But not wrong enough that my health insurance company
recognized my therapy and my surgery as medically necessary treatments
for my diagnosed mental condition and would cover the cost. So I paid for those out of pocket. But despite all of that, the emotional impact of surgery
was life-changing for me. For the first time since puberty,
when I looked in the mirror, at least from here to here,
it looked right. But then something happened. It was like as soon as I had
my male chest, it became harder and harder for me
to hear people call me by a female name, my female birth name,
and female pronouns. So I made my second decision. I decided to legally change
my name to Decker and asked that everybody in my life
please call me by male pronouns. But unlike with my chest surgery,
which I did fairly quietly, when I changed my name, I had
to tell every single person in my life; everyone; not just my family,
and friends, and my coworkers but my lawn guy, my pool guy, my veterinarian, my electrician,
my bar friends, my neighbors; everyone. And when you change your name to the name
of the opposite gender, it’s awkward. I felt like I needed
to explain this somehow, come out to them
in some way as transgender. But does my pool guy
really need to know my life story? (Laughter) The whole thing was gut wrenching. It took months and months
and months and months of phone calls and emails
and heart-to-hearts, and it was messy, and it felt endless, and I was scared out
of my mind the entire time. But in the end, I survived. And pretty much everybody
that mattered to me either embraced me or was able to adjust. A handful of people didn’t. And I learned who my real friends are. But I also learned something else. I learned that life
cannot be lived in a bubble – the family, and friends, and coworkers. That it’s a big world out there,
and it’s full of strangers, and the bartenders, and the waiters,
and the TSA agents, and the cab drivers didn’t get the memo. They didn’t know I’d changed
my name to a male name, they didn’t pick up on the male pronouns,
and they definitely didn’t notice this. They noticed this. To them, I looked like a she. I sounded like a her, or a ma’am. So in the end, I made
my third big decision. I chose to walk away from the part of my identity
that I loved the very most: the part that I shared with
my twin sister. I chose to take testosterone because by then, I learned
that that one hormone was the only way that the rest
of the world was ever going to see this as anything other than female. And in the end, I really,
really needed them to see me the way
that I’ve always seen myself. And today, they do. Whenever I meet somebody new,
they see me as male. And they see me like this, but the cool thing is
my sister sees me that way, too. But there are still hurdles because changing your gender is not the same thing
as changing your gender marker, and that one letter
is attached to everything from our birth certificate
to our death certificate and everything in between. Even the ticket application
for today’s event asked your gender. But legally changing
a gender marker isn’t as easy as choosing and M or an F
from a drop-down menu. There are laws, rules, regulations, fees. And it’s up to every individual state. My birth certificate says ‘female.’ I was born in the State of Missouri,
and in that state, to change a gender marker
on a birth certificate requires a court order
based upon proof of surgery. But I live in Arizona. So for me to get that would mean making a court date, buying a plane
ticket, flying to Missouri, paying a fee, standing in front of a judge with a letter
that says I got my boobs cut off – thanks – (Laughter) taking that court order
to the Department of Vital Records, only to have them issue me
a birth certificate marked ‘amended.’ So, essentially anyone who saw
my new birth certificate would know that I was born female anyway. If I had been born here, in the State
of Ohio, I would have had it even worse. Because this is one
of three states in the country where gender marker changes
on a birth certificate aren’t allowed for any reason ever. My driver’s license and my health
insurance both still say ‘female’ because it’s a really good idea
if those two things match. But changing them both to ‘male’ could give my health insurance company the right to deny my coverage for anything
having to do with my female anatomy. Because the way they see it,
men don’t get things like ovarian cancer. My Social Security card – ‘female, ‘ my college transcripts -‘female, ‘ and on and on and on. So, despite everything that I’ve done
to get the world to see me as male, on paper I’m still female. Our world is set up
to keep us in these two boxes. But why? Is all of this gendering really necessary? Just for a minute, I want you
to throw out everything that you know about what is male
and what is female; throw it out. And imagine a world, where gender
isn’t left out to doctors or judges, one where we are all able to claim our own
gender based on what’s between our ears, rather than have it assigned to us
based on what’s between our legs. Here, we’re all able to self-identify as male, as female,
as both, or as neither. And here, we never assume
someone else’s gender because of how they look, how they sound,
or because of what name they go by. In this world, when you walk up and hand
your TEDx ticket to the attendant, instead of them
automatically saying “Sir” or “Ma’am,” they say, “Enjoy
the event today, my friend.” And when you sit down and start chatting
with the stranger next to you, before they ask you
what you do for a living, they ask you which pronouns
you prefer to go by. In this world, I wonder,
would I have gotten those hockey skates? And joined the team? Or became an Eagle Scout?
Or a football couch? Would I have had to change my birth name
because it was too female? Or take testosterone to be seen as male? And sacrifice a part
of my identity as a twin? Would my chest surgery
simply have been seen as cosmetic surgery? Something that I chose to do
to feel happy in my own body? Like fixing a birth defect. In this world, one free
from this rigid binary, I wonder, would I have had to come out
as transgender at all? Today, just happens to be
National Coming Out Day. And if we had been born,
or if we had lived in a world that I’ve just described, perhaps I would have walked
up onto this stage today and come out to you
as an artist, or a writer, as a dog lover, or an ESPN junkie, or a lifelong Dolly Parton fan. (Laughter) Or maybe I simply
would have walked out here and come out to you as who I am. [Human] Thank you. (Applause)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

100 thoughts on “Hey Doc, some boys are born girls: Decker Moss at TEDxColumbus

  1. this is so informative….the feelings and struggles of what has happened in this person's life. I love TED talks.

  2. Lolz the way the insurance companies see it is lolz…they dont see it…u can get ovarian cancer

  3. Amazing the situation you described would be a absolute thrill for me! But then I'm MTF all I can say is "Go ahead punk Make my day".

  4. Without an observer, what are you? The Physics Blokes are working night/day on Consciousness and make no-mistake once the do the Anti-Christ will become Anti-Consciousness. Why are Y'all worried what the *OBSERVER is observing?

  5. “There is NEITHER male nor FEMALE: for ye are all ONE in Christ Jesus.”
    αλατία, Galatía (Galatians) (3:28)

  6. I wonder if this gender "phenomena" occurs in other cultures besides the West? 
    Why is this happening now?

  7. I feel the problem is people rely on the idea that a girls cannot do boy things and Visa versa. I believe you shouldnt call yourself what you are not.
    We are reaching too far from reality when we say we feel like what we are not. You absolutely are what you feel like. The problem is you seem to attach that feeling with the gender you are rather than the being you are.

    I am in no way saying you cannot dress and be who you are, you can choose to talk as you wish and dress as you wish, do what you wish as yourself. But denying what you are on the outside is a problem.

    There needs to be acceptance in yourself in order to have others accept you. Every human on this planet has their own personal issues and problems to overcome. There are things you are absolutely correct about, but changing who you are chemically and surgically in a way that can only be considered mutilating to your natural body.

    I also have a problem with people denying the gift your parents gave to you, it is wrong to belittle such a gift. The name given to you by your parents is a blessing and I am not saying that as a religious thing, I am not religious. It is a blessing in the sense that your existence is null without your parents. They give you a name as their way of giving your existence a beginning, giving you your identity to build off of.

    I am sorry if that seems insensitive to your personal feelings, it is in no way meant to come off like that. We are not in boxes and this has nothing to do with doctors nor judges. It is the entire makeup of your being all the way to a cellular level.

    This world is not perfect and we are learning new things every day. It should be understood that people are far more accepting to those who express themselves as themselves and not destroy their gift of humanity to get other people to understand how you feel inside.

    Self expression is the greatest way of letting others into our lives and you do so well at it. Attaching that to gender is where I find to be a huge misconception, it should not be considered a gender dysphoria, but rather a miss understanding of self actualization.

    It is important to love and get to know yourself inside and out, physically and emotionally and to express that with others.

    I only have a problem when that gets tied into our understanding of human anatomy and our use of gender as an explanation for the differences of that anatomy which is shown across all forms of life.

    Human language is expansive and confusing, we need to get on a level of understanding the difference between what we feel, and what we are.

  8. So let me see, the doctor wasn't the only one wrong, Nature was wrong also, and mistakenly gave a boy boobs, who didn't like them and blames medicine and Nature. Decker seems a nice person, but if there is an incongruence between our body and what's between our ears, we should get our ears sorted, not our body – WE need to change. The rule in Science is; 'If there is a conflict between fact and theory, our theory needs to change.' Nature is the locus of intelligible necessities, and these correspond to the essential constitution of human function. In simpler words Nature makes only boys and girls who grow up to be men and women and produce boys and girls. I'm sorry Decker, but its You VS.. Nature, Science and Medicine… Love to you mate.

  9. My heart aches for anyone who is genuinely hurting (including people with gender dysphoria) and I agree that we live in a broken world … there are a gazillion things about us that I would really love to see changed … but to want and ask everyone in the whole world to change their entire reality in order to accommodate your false sense of reality … well, not only is that selfish, but you're also asking for the impossible …

    My fellow human beings, this is a mental illness and it needs to be compassionately treated as such. Treatment should not be about making the rest of the world play along with the lie that is in a mentally ill person's head, but about gently and lovingly leading them to see, accept, and live healthily in Truth and in reality.

    We're all hurting and broken, we need to love one another with the True love of Jesus Christ, and our True identity is as beloved children of God – not as our gender (that's only one aspect of our reality, let's not pretend that it's all of who we are). 🕆🕆🕆📿📿📿❤❤❤

  10. It needs to change? God makes NO mistakes. IF he wants you a girl you're a girl if he wants you a boy then you're a boy, PERIOD. That's one convo I would NOT want to have with our maker while begging to stay in heaven for ETERNITY.

  11. So then if ones gender is a “feeling” not a physical chromosome marker than isn’t that “feeling” regarded as Metaphysical not Physical.

  12. No boys are born girls. They just aren’t. I give this fad about 5 years before things go back to normal. In the mean time i’m Getting popcorn and watching the freak show!

  13. So if gender roles disappeared then there would be no more trans? So is it a disorder or just semantics ? Lol I can’t with these people.

  14. People are either born male or female. To entertain current popular notions that people can 'choose' their gender borders on possible mental illness.

  15. Wonderful now we can be what we feel not what we see.Sorry I cant buy into this rubbish.I am what I see and not how I feel.

  16. So now my thoughts are what is put on a newborns birth certificate if they are born interesexed?? Anyone know or do they guess.

  17. I think I'm gonna try coming out to my dad.
    I've tried coming out to my mom but she doesn't understand. I think my dad will understand more

  18. you be you and you will be happier. It's not for me however we have been here as the human race for at least a 30,000 years and we do not understand others yet ! SO SAD !!!!!

  19. mutilating your natural body is a strong indicator that; There is something wrong with you.
    Kubler Ross the five stages of grief explains that; Acceptance comes last.
    Anger and then denial come first.
    But these are normal Processes.
    To bounce back and forth between Anger and Denial, isnt normal.
    Originally, this person wanted to be changed.
    Now they want the entire social system to be changed?
    A very small % of confused people should not get a platform to change the entire world.
    I want the world to see things my way too.
    But Im not gonna chop off parts of my body or set myself on fire, like some have.
    some people were born with the results of Thalidomide.
    Who's fault was that?
    I dare say any of them would give a lot to be born with all your facalties.
    I cant believe this person got a ted talk, she or it is a freakshow

  20. So this is a 50 year old he/ she also needs to come out someone who identifies as a 15 year old geez typical female gym teacher

  21. This chick is asking a lot she wants to be a boy ok I see that but a 15 year old boy at 50 is a bit much to ask for?

  22. You and your sister are amazing; you are truly an evolved human with a real mind. You are beyond bravery.

  23. I am 60 and born female and I rented boy’s hockey skates fifty unenlightened years ago every time I went to the rink. Bummer that you didn’t find my place that couldn’t have cared less what skates you rented, just as long as you had enough allowance.

  24. If I look In a mirror and see something different, I'd admit of a mental illness.
    anorexia people who look in the mirror and see what is not there is called a mental disorder. And now to be whatever you want to be isn't a mental illness? Just have a question about this. So what if the person wants to turn back into the other gender again? Does this mean we should be able to go back and forth till our minds explode? And it's not a mental illness, whatever.

  25. I can’t believe how sexist America must be. There weren’t sexist divisions for children like that where I grew up.

  26. Im born male but my heart told me that im actually a fire breathing pikachu that will rule the world someday

    Damn i still can't learn a flamethrower

  27. I raised my nieces to be open minded. To except people for who they are. That the only thing that matters about a human is literally do they have a good heart. That who they love doesn’t matter, because finding love is like winning the lottery. I raise them to be good people, who don’t categorize, judge, or put people in convenient little boxes. That love is a beautiful thing, no matter who it’s with.

  28. 😢😭
    I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that!
    I hope that you make new friends that just understand you!
    Love you for who and what you are!
    Know that you are loved by the people who understand!
    There are more people out here that care than you know… but there are a lot more people who will never ever understand!
    Just don’t give up hope!

  29. I really would like this guy for my boyfriend! I love him! ♥ his speeech.. whow! Intelligent and fair! ♥

  30. Ok he lost at the end. I will respect you and call you him or he, but respect me and don't ever expect me to ask someone's pronoun after I say hi.

  31. Our wish and reality is different. Some people just don't take it. They hate reality. They live their own fancy world. Some people want to share the fancy world.

  32. You literally never stop coming out. You’ll be doing it for the rest of your life. If I had a dollar for every “ladies” lmao

  33. Anything that helps you live your best life is worth fighting for!! Stay strong 💪 and keep up educational talks. It makes a difference to those who care!!

  34. I paused the video several times to let the ideas and feelings really sink in. I want to have not just an open mind but also an open heart.

  35. This talk was really touching. I'm trans, and I love when people can speak to an audience about this and get them to listen

  36. as always some people have the right way to speak without being irritating.its a question of measure and tact and serioussness.orher people are clowns and buffons

  37. Thank you Decker. Thank you for teaching me how to be a better human being. I now know better questions to ask and a better way to communicate.

  38. Once and for all how one feels doesn’t make you what your emotionally desire. The difference between gender is at least 35 markers between the two.

  39. "Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done." Romans 1:28

  40. I’m a healthcare worker. Sorry, but the M/F labeling cannot ever completely go away where I work because for the most part we don’t treat feelings or identity. We treat (and assign) biology. He can’t be upset that an occasional “F” will follow him throughout the rest of his life. Someone may need to know which catheter to grab and what set of normal laboratory values to use to assess his health as these vary greatly between the sexes.

  41. The purpose of all life on earth's purpose is to reproduce. It's good that we humans are intelligent because we can tweak ourselves to appear to be what we want or what we feel we are. People reject all kinds of people, so it's not just you. But you can't hijack everyone's life to make yours comfortable because, when you do that, you make me uncomfortable. I have no intentions to suffer everyone's issues. I also have no intention to make sure strangers are comfortable because of some issue you are having that I have NO WAY of understanding what it would be like. But I do know what it's like to have my issues. I am not about to force you to understand it and act in a way that satisfies me.

  42. I'm sorry but she still looks like a woman to me. 😬 If gender doesn't matter, then whats so important to be a man? Can't you just be you?

  43. all i hear is …" how i feel about things" ..but life is not about how you feel but about self control otherwise i could have reason to do anything in the bases of how i feel , and see how many put that reason as why they do things, from stealing , pornografy ,child molesting ect ect

  44. And i teach my kids u can be who u want and ill support you but they will still have to face society and will it be worth the trouble!

  45. Hello Decker. It is very nice to meet you. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. What a tremendous and persistent effort your change required! You eloquently describe changes that our society needs to make in order to open up to the full spectrum of gender.

  46. "One of the first things I learned about my gender was that it wasn't only about me, it was about everybody around me too" – so true for many of us outside the mainstream, thank you for saying this Decker.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *