My uncle and godfather almost always starts one of his famous anecdotes with “Let me tell you a story…” It has, over my lifetime, become a bit of an inside joke within my family. Any time someone wants to reminisce about something, we all start it with that phrase while looking at my uncle with a smile. When I thought about how to start this, I couldn’t think of any other way; without further ado, then: Let me tell you a story…
My first memory of the knowledge that something was off about me was when I was three, maybe four years old. I was in the bathroom, and decided that I wasn’t supposed to sit on the toilet- I was supposed to stand. Being a toddler, I wasn’t able to stand straddling the toilet, so I perched myself on the toilet seat and tried that. I think, at some point after many messes were made, that my process was found out by my mother and she reminded me that as a girl I was supposed to sit to pee and not to stand. “You’re not supposed to stand,” I imagine she would have said, “you’re a girl. Girls sit.”
The dysphoria that I felt at three years old only grew as I got older, but I never once considered that I might be transgender. At that point in my life, it wasn’t even an option. Throughout elementary school and into middle school, I presented as a straight tomboyish female: I “liked” boys; I played softball; baggy sweatshirts and basketball shorts were staples in my wardrobe. As I got into high school after having moved from the deep south to New England, I started to be more open about my sexuality, though I never actually “came out” until after I had graduated.
Coming out as a lesbian was the first big step I took into the LGBT world. I thought that this was the logical step, as I had never felt comfortable dating the guys at my high school. For a while after I came out, I felt better. I found a girlfriend. I explored my sexuality for the first time ever. As time progressed, however, that novelty wore off. I started to hate myself again. I got insecure about my body and pulled away. My first real relationship ended, and I withdrew into myself.
Eventually, I got over the breakup and over the last couple of years have been exploring myself internally. I thought for a while that it was just depression. I started looking into that- doing research, asking questions, talking to people. Last year around this time, I watched a documentary on television about being gender fluid. As I was watching, there was a transgender male giving an interview. The more he spoke, the more I found myself saying, “hey, that’s me too!” That interview changed everything. My research moved away from mental illnesses and towards the possibility that I might in fact be transgender.
Roughly five months ago, I took the leap and started speaking to a local therapist who specializes in gender identity. Around the same time, I came out to my closest friends, who have all been nothing but loving and supportive, and have done everything they can to be sure that I know they stand behind me no matter what. The next step that I took was to tell my employer. I had a hunch that they would be on board and I was not disappointed; if I’m going to go through something like this, they are quite possibly the best possible place to work while I do it.
The final hurdle was my immediate family. I thought about it for days, weeks even, and stressed myself out to the point of making myself sick until I figured out that it would be best to tell them in person. I figured out a plan to take a few days off of work (remember what I said about a supportive workplace? They were instrumental in allowing me to get down to where my parents reside). The conversation went much better than I expected, and ended on a note that my parents and brother all love me no matter what. They have struggled since then, and since they all live so far away I sometime wonder if they will just continue to ignore it until it truly becomes more “real” to them and I get further into my transition. I know that they are having a hard time, and that’s okay. It’s perfectly normal and I am willing to help them with whatever I can to make this a little bit easier.
I am now living full time as Lucas, with the exception of legally. After I start HRT, that will be my next step. I am equally excited and overwhelmed at these steps, and I am cautiously optimistic about how these changes will affect me. I have been incredibly lucky with the support I’ve received thus far, but I won’t lie to you and say that I am not worried about when my luck will run out. For now, though, I will enjoy the supportive bubble I have found myself living in.
Until Next Time.