My whole life I knew I was different; I wanted things like finger bikes, skateboards, and cars. Tomboy was the word I most identified with because I didn’t know anything else. From middle school, up until graduation, I got made fun of for little things – from my appearance to the way I acted with the friends I had. I never dressed like the stereotypical high school girl – it was always sweats and a messy bun for me, and dressing up meant jeans and a nice shirt.
“Deep down I didn’t even believe I was a lesbian”
Around 7th grade, I started getting feelings for a (female) best friend of mine, to say I panicked is an understatement. I constantly thought to myself “I can’t be gay” “I can’t like girls” “what will my family say/think?” “everyone will hate me” but deep down I didn’t even believe I was a lesbian.
Fast forward to high school, I became close to a few girls and got teased for that as well. I hadn’t even come out, I was in denial trying to figure myself out, but people still called me a lesbian. I rebelled against myself, trying to prove my sexuality to people that didn’t even matter to me. I dated guys but they felt more like friends to me, so I forced myself to date them thinking “maybe this will make me straight.” I finally faced my reality and made the decision to come out to a couple close friends and my family, my god I was terrified.
“I didn’t care anymore, I was putting myself first”
All the fear was wasted when they all pretty much said: “oh we have known; we were waiting for you to tell us!” My family and friends welcomed my new identity with open arms. Come senior year, I didn’t care anymore, I was putting myself first. I came out publicly as a lesbian with my first girlfriend and I was no longer living in the shadows – I felt relieved, I felt happy.
In the fall of 2013 I started college and was in a completely new atmosphere, it was my time to start over. A couple months into this new journey, I decided to cut 14 inches off my hair with the support of a few new friends I had made. I started to feel like myself, but the confidence that came with the new haircut and the “high” I had gotten from it, started to fade quickly and I fell back into my depression.
“It hit me – I am transgender”
I had discovered a YouTube video on Facebook of Skylar Kergil’s amazing transformation and it hit me – I am transgender. My struggles finally made sense and a rush of emotions flooded over me; relief, anxiety, fear, happiness, doubt, and everything in between. Not only do I have to come out again, but am I sure that this is me? I did research for months before I decided to come out to my sister first, then my mother, and eventually my father – with a few friends in between. Much like my prior coming out, they all already knew and were just waiting for me to come to them. I spent years trying to decide if I wanted to move forward with my transition but the same thing kept holding me back; fear.
I was terrified that I would become the butt of everybody’s jokes again. In February 2016, I decided to move out of my hometown to a new city, one that I knew would accept me no matter what. Almost immediately after, I started going to therapy for several reasons though the main one being self-discovery. After months of going back and forth with myself, I finally decided what would ultimately be best for me – transitioning.
Early September of the same year, I made an appointment to meet with an endocrinologist to talk about starting testosterone. Imagine how disappointed and impatient I was when they said their next opening wasn’t until the beginning of November. Nonetheless, good things take time, so I waited. When the time finally came, it came fast. I was in and out before I knew it with another appointment scheduled for 2 weeks later to start T.
“That’s how I knew I had made the right decision”
Once again I was hit with a whirlwind of emotions, but for the first time, none of them were negative. That’s how I knew I had made the right decision. There was only one more thing I was faced with for the second time, I had come out to my family but now I had to come out to the world. I sat on this concept for so long until I finally bit the bullet and posted a picture on Instagram with a short and sweet caption declaring my visibility in the trans community.
The responses I received were incredible, friends and even strangers had messaged me or left kind and loving comments. All of this helped me realize that I was living in fear for absolutely no reason at all, I am surrounded by love and support I never thought I would receive.
Throughout my transition so far, I have come to learn many valuable lessons that I’ll carry with me forever. I get messages on Instagram from significant others or allies of trans* people and even trans* individuals themselves asking for advice. A lot of them pertain to confidence, others are geared towards acceptance.
I was raised in a loving and compassionate environment and I know many others are a lot less fortunate. Always remember that no matter what happens, your life is yours. Your happiness and your well-being don’t matter to anyone because they don’t go through what you go through. Being transgender isn’t dress-up, it isn’t a sickness – it’s beautiful. No matter what you do or say, there is always at least one person who will disagree and voice their irrelevant opinion.
“Never be afraid of who you are. Stay strong and overcome”
It is up to you to decide how you will let it affect you. Please know that what you are going through now, is only temporary and it WILL get better. Do not choose the permanent solution to your temporary hardship, everything happens for a reason. If I let my depression win, I would have taken my life before any of this started. Never be afraid to be who you are. Stay strong and overcome.