When I said it out loud for the first time to my brother, Mikey — “I think I’m transgender” — I was weeping. “I’m afraid no one will ever love me again.”
It was February 2006, and I was 25 years old. I was living in Bangkok on a research grant from the Fulbright Program, studying the impact of public health marketing on the stigma surrounding H.I.V. I spent most of my free time researching how to transform my body from female to male. I could no longer look in the mirror because each time I was reminded of how uncomfortable I was in my body. Eventually, I covered up all the mirrors.
Growing up female, I didn’t know people like me existed. I had no language for my everyday experience of gender, but I knew that I was not the same. And I knew that not the same was not good and not normal.
“Why did you cut off all of your hair?” people asked. “You were so beautiful.”
“Are you a girl or a boy?”
The truth is, I didn’t know the answer at first. Every time someone asked me, I was reminded of how confusing this question was for me. I knew that I made people uncomfortable.
I did not want to make people uncomfortable.
I was labeled a tomboy. It was a compromise. I still had to wear a white frilly dress to my First Communion like all the other girls, but I got a jean jacket and Vans Half Cabs too. I played sports in my suburban Southern California neighborhood. I rode dirt bikes. But I wasn’t a tomboy. My discomfort wasn’t about the expression of my gender.
My discomfort was about my gender itself.
When puberty happened, things got worse. While girls around me shared their excitement about first kisses, prom dates, makeup and bras, I became increasingly disoriented by adolescence.
New York Times, June 21, 2017
by ALIC CUSTER-SHOOK – Click here to read the entire story.
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Source: Time for Families