The word ‘transgender’ wasn’t a part of my vocabulary until I was 19-20. That was 5-6 years ago. Now, it’s a word I use regularly… probably multiple times a day if I’m being honest.
When I started school in Kindergarten/first grade, I remember standing in between the boys and girls lines confused as to where I should go. I knew which line I was ‘supposed’ to be in. It just didn’t feel right. I didn’t have the vocabulary to express how I felt though.
I was adopted by a Catholic family who made it clear that being ‘different’ wasn’t okay. In high school, I had a gay friend who my family was okay with to his face, but the moment he left my mom always said, “You know that’s not right, right?”. At that moment I was internally struggling with my sexuality, which was so much more than that. But it broke my heart because I couldn’t voice who I truly was.
My family kept me sheltered from the world for the first 18 years of my life. Which was understandable considering the first 2-3 years I was alive there were at least 3 times that I should’ve died and didn’t.
When I went away to college I was super depressed for a million different reasons, but somehow came across a story of someone’s transition from female to male. It intrigued me. I related to it on a level I didn’t understand. And the more I researched, the more I felt seen and understood. Not too long after, I shaved the side of my hair, which had been down to my lower back at the time.
That was when I truly began questioning my gender. That was in 2014. I denied it and internally battled with myself for about a year. At the beginning of 2015, I wrote in a journal: “Tell one person you think you may be transgender.” Note that wording. THINK. Not AM. I was still having trouble with it. I slowly came out to my friends, and a few of my more accepting family members. In September of that year I started therapy and wrote a letter coming out to my parents. By New Year’s Eve, I was completely out to all my siblings and close family. They had an issue with it. Every single one of them.
With each year came more family complications. My brothers made it clear that they didn’t want me in their kids’ lives. I have only seen my two oldest nieces 5 times in the last 5 years. It breaks my heart because they are the reason I embraced my authentic self. I had been suicidal and they gave me a reason to live. I wanted to be able to see them all grow up. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to. BUT, now I live my life for myself. Because I have so much to live for. So much I want to see, do, and be.
Medically transitioning, hormones and surgery, was a huge part of my transition. However, I choose to focus more on my mindset. Because I am now authentically and unapologetically myself, I am more confident, less afraid, and more vocal. I’ve become an advocate for my community. I’ve dealt with so much hate to keep others from having to go through it later on. The goal, at least for me, has always been to make things easier for others. I think it’s important to be there for others who are going through similar journey’s in life. I make sure others know that they can reach out to me whenever because I know how hard life can get, and I want them to make it long enough in life to know it does get better. I almost didn’t make it. And I will do everything I can to keep others from getting there.
Life… is already difficult, but when living authentically, it’s so worth it.