Taking up space. For many years I apologized for taking up space.
Trying to make myself smaller. Less than. Invisible.
When I started to become who I am, I started to claim my space. When my body chemistry started changing it was as if my insides were empowering my outside, pushing me out, pushing me forward.
At some point I stopped apologizing, stopped trying to be invisible.
A year and a half ago I started hormones. Getting to that moment was an incredible journey to self-discovery.
I think the most interesting thing is learning how to navigate this world as a man. Some days are easier than others. Sometimes it's hard for me to not be so hyper-aware of how I'm being read or perceived. On those days I try to remind myself that I am me and that's all that matters.
Fortunately, I also have an incredibly loving partner who is able to pick me up in those moments of self-doubt.
I am the mother of a thirteen year old trans daughter. She is an amazing person. She's passionate, smart, empathetic, and beautiful. She is very open about who she is and she says she wants to be an activist. I love that about her.
My daughter has a younger brother and sister, and we are really like any other family in so many ways. She fights with her brother all the time. Although it's only been about a year since she transitioned, My daughter being trans is no longer the main focus of our family or world as it was in the beginning. We have other worries and concerns just like other families.
Since she came out as trans, we have had to seek out lots of support. In doing that we have met so many amazing people and created a strong sense of community that we never had before. We struggle with a lot of things. We are homeschooling because bullying was so bad at her school. The medical needs that can go along with being trans can be financially draining. There are many days when I worry about her physical safety and how she will find love, but most days are filled with proud and happy moments.
I want people to realize how hard it is, what trans folk must give up to be who they truly are inside, and the hardships they are willing to withstand to reach their goal. While we know this to be for all, it seems that societal acceptance, or lack of, makes it that much more difficult. The fear of loss of family, friends, and many of the things people take for granted seem so much more prevalent to us. We just want to live, love, and thrive like anyone else.
My name means "lovely spirit" in Japanese.
I don't like to come out much because I think of myself as an average girl. I am out to my family and some friends, but not to most people. I prefer not to be out or really think about it.
I'm kind of a strong diva and slightly tomboyish, but still in a feminine way. I really stand out.
Support has meant everything to me throughout my transition. This is the biggest and most important decision I've ever made in my life, and all of the people who have stood by me and cheered me on have made it that much easier for me to be brave. I wish that every person with this shared experience would have the same support. Unfortunately, I know that isn't the case.
Having the opportunity to share my story, for anyone to share their story, is also an opportunity to make connections with people and not feel so alone. My transition has been an emotional journey, finding strength in the most surprising places, from people in whom I may not have previously had enough faith.
I am the happiest I've ever been, and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to seek that happiness every chance I get.
Being a drag queen helped me realize a lot about me and who I am. I found acceptance of myself through drag. I was able to push out the negative feelings and low self esteem I felt on a day-to-day basis. I was able to look at myself and really see why I dreaded looking like a male. I feel I can show people that being yourself is the ultimate key to self love and happiness. I still have lots to work through, but I'm ecstatic I've found the beginning.
I had to find out who I really was. Even the spectrum is so broad, you just don't know where you fit in as a transgender person. It's a process for all of us. Society's acceptance takes time, and we have to be the pioneers for the next level... a stepping stone towards people accepting us. It's part of the big picture of making things work.
I know who I am. I hope to do future work with assisting trans youth. My purpose is awareness, and awareness can save lives. If I can be instrumental in that, I want to be.
When I was in high school, I identified as queer. That label was an identifier for all aspects of me, my personality, and my feelings about my place in the world. I came out to myself and the rest of my world as gay during my first year of college. But the label didn't exactly feel right. I struggled with fitting into the lesbian community in my college town and St. Louis for years.
Gradually, as I became more immersed in the queer community, I'd met queer folk who'd once identified as lesbian or bisexual, but began to realize their gender identities didn't match their biology. A few years after I came out as gay, I started to identify as genderqueer. That didn't quite fit either. After a year or two of personal exploration, immersing myself in the online trans community, and talking about it with my friends and girlfriend, I finally felt like I understood who I was.
I started medical transition about five years ago. At first, I tried to stick to expressing myself by adopting traditional gender roles, but as I have become comfortable in my body, I have felt more okay with venturing outside of the bounds of traditional American maleness.
I love Sayer. I have loved him for 17 years. We have built a family and a community together. I love that family & community are so important to him. Our family is awesome. We are the Mighty Mighty Johnsons! My hope is that there are many, many families like ours.
I had no idea that Sayer's transition would be a transition for me as well. I spent the first couple of years being a cheerleader for him, being so excited to see him on his journey. My recognition of the shift in my identity took me by surprise. How could I identify as a lesbian, with my husband beside me? I explored what 'sexuality' and 'sexual orientation' meant to me. I realized that more than the gender of my partner, it meant my politics, my beliefs, the way I move through the world. I now identify as Queer. I am enjoying navigating my life as a fierce, queer woman.
When I transitioned from female to male nearly 10 years ago, I had no idea that the most profound transition would take place inside of me. Becoming comfortable in my body – being able to “see myself” in the mirror – allowed me to open up and grow in ways I never would have imagined. It has given me the courage to look deeper inside myself and become a better version of me. Being transgender is just one thing about me, but/and this one thing is at the heart of how I experience myself and the world around me. One of my most favorite things I’ve heard about being trans* comes from a 7 year old girl: “Some times you are a girl. Some times you are a boy. And some times you have to be both.”
Transgender is when you're a boy and turn into a girl, or when you're a girl and turn into a boy.
I love my family and they love me. That's all I have to say. We're just like everybody else. We swim, we eat dinner together, we go to parades, we dance in the family room, we are a family.
(drawings of her family below)
For a long time I was a lesbian. I lost my job because of going on disability, and lost my girlfriend. Because of all this, I decided it was time to transition. There was nothing to hold me back now. I could be the man I was meant to be.
Church is everything to me. I was the first trans person at Epiphany UCC, and I was welcomed. They even added a section about trans welcoming because of me.
I met people witness me as I transition, and asking me why I am boy, not girl. That is a lot of strange questions. Also I am the first deaf in St Louis Missouri, but believe there is more than one deaf or hard of hearing transgender in St Louis!
When I look at myself from my past to present is fractured. Know why? From my childhood I think I am boy, but trained as a tomboy by my parents teaching, playing softball and fixing trucks. I love playing softball but fixing trucks is out! Ha! I grow from a confused child to adult by people misreading me as a boy or girl.
I look back and forth at my life, when my first girlfriend came in my life she taught me about LGBT and I start to understand it. I had faced many different problems, and solved the problem about LGBT. I started asking about transgender and it seemed to fit me. First, I thought it was impossible for me, but I learn more.
I found my soul mate who accepted me as a boy. After talking with her, and I began to attend therapy. Now I am on T for five and a half years. I am forty-three years old.
I think if I could tell someone how to deal with this, I would just say, "You get used to it. It's not a big deal."
How can one change everything about themselves and still blend into society as nothing has changed? It can be done though at times difficult. The world around us is slowly changing and we can make a difference by educating and showing that we are basically the same person we have always been, though look different on the outside. My experience with the business world has taught me that my counterparts, coworkers, clients, and others will accept who we are over time. We just have to be patient as we have known for a long time who we are. Others are just learning who we are so give them some time to adjust. Be you and be happy.
Our family is different. We have more tolerance than other families. LGBT families have a different perspective from straight families. It's like being raised with any value set, ours just happens to be tolerance. People think of us as bad, but I was raised differently. I just wish they could have the same perspective as I do.
Quite often I'm asked to lay out a road map for people to explain who I am and who my partner is. Queer diva and trans activist usually garner some interesting feedback. That's who we are. It's a beautiful life full of friends, family, drama, joy, and community. I'm a lucky woman.
My mom didn't want me to medically transition until after I had school finished and a career going. I knew I couldn't put myself through that, so I left home and got my first shot of testosterone the day I moved out. As the months went on and the changes started becoming harder to ignore, she slowly came around.
It was awkward and uncomfortable for a year until I told her I was having top surgery. She jumped on board and took out the surgical drains. She still struggles with female pronouns, but I know she's behind me one hundred percent.
I never felt like I completely belonged with either of the binary options - girl or boy. I felt more like a boy, but I didn't tell anyone until I heard the word "transgender" for the first time when I was nearly 19. I had been desperately trying to become a woman to save my soul. When I found out that I was not alone in my experience, I felt relieved and validated. I was able to begin accepting myself, loving myself, and becoming myself. I don't want any one else to feel that they are alone on this journey.
My whole life feels like a contradiction. I’m an old soul in a 22 year old vessel. I’m a heavy left wing liberal with devout Christian beliefs. I don’t believe in war or funding militant behavior but I am an Airman serving actively in the Air Force. I want to make my father proud more than anything, but everything about my life is displeasing in his eyes. I am a boy in a female’s body. 24 months ago, if you told me I would conquer the truths I’ve since faced, I would have questioned your sanity. There is nothing scarier than being honest with yourself. My personal development in all aspects of my life has shaken my foundation, challenged my thinking, and evolved my true happiness – and let me tell you, for a kid brought up in a strict, military, Christian home, selflessly aiming to please, that was not easy to overcome.
My life contradicts itself. I am nothing short of human but I am constantly and rapidly evolving. Every day I feel further and further from the weak, confused, closed off person I was before my eyes were open. I have meaning and purpose now and I suppose that’s what most people would call “living.” When I first started coming to terms with my Trans* identity, I become completely immerged by a need to know myself. By allowing myself to be consumed by this drive for liberation, I have experienced so many personal revelations that have set me free.
I am now hard at work at organizing a non-profit and I am passionate about making a difference in whatever way I possibly can. I am taking steps towards strengthening my faith. I am pushing myself to exercise and eat better. I am diligently building my relationships with family and friends. I’m striving to be a better version of myself. 2 years ago, I would naively laugh at the person I am now, thinking I was such a loser. It’s so easy to feel excited about living when your life feels like your own. To most people, that statement would sound so juvenile but when you’ve been trying your entire life to make a square peg fit into a round hole, it’s utter liberation. I can’t really identify with the person I was 2 years ago, but in essence, I have always been who I am now. Contradictory? I think yes.
A few personal and significant moments in this journey have been when I first came out as genderqueer to my Jewish youth group and they were welcoming, when I came out at school and the principle bought an outfit in the colors of the genderqueer flag, and the last one happened at my Jewish youth group's regional events. I came out in front of everyone as genderqueer and asked everyone to use they/them pronouns and I got the loudest applause ever. Afterwards people came up and told me how brave I was and even that their youth groups were going to to practice using gender neutral pronouns.
My family is really no different from other families except that there are two moms. I like being able to discuss makeup and clothes with Willa. Trans people are still human beings, and they deserve the respect everyone deserves.
Coming out as trans to anyone is not the easiest thing to do... knowing someone for 20 years as who they are and suddenly changing it all; the pronouns and name.
My family hasn't been terrible with the acceptance. Having any support system is always good. I'd have to say my father's reaction surprised me the most.
If there were anything I'd like for the general population to know, it's that it doesn't matter what's under my clothes. It's what I think, and how I feel. We're all human, and at the end of the day, happiness and love are all that should count.
I'm creating my own path. Often, it's curvy or bumpy, with detours and u-turns... because I'm learning as I go. I carried a lot of guilt and self-hate for a long time... apologizing and trying to "make up" for who I am. It was exhausting trying to be perfect and make everyone else happy. I forgot about me.
Transitioning is something I'm doing for me. It's a gift of self-love that I'm giving myself.
In my transition I found peace in my life, and in that peace, wish to share that by helping those less fortunate than myself.
It's been a unique, albeit tough journey. If you had told me five years ago that we would be living our lives this way, I never would have believed it.
My spouse is the same loving and caring person that she was before she transitioned. She just looks different. I cannot picture life without her.
Some things have changed. Some of our friends we don't see anymore. Some more often. We joined a progressive church which welcomes everybody and met some great people.
The great thing about this situation is that most people; friends, family, and others, have accepted and/or embraced us.
I am very passionate about social justice issues, especially when it comes to LGBT rights. I have been out as a trans man for six years now, and being visible is really important to me. I feel if I am silent then people won't know we exist and know that trans people are just as "normal" as everyone else. Fighting for equal rights for all people is something I plan to do for the rest of my life, whether through being out, activism, or teaching. Hopefully I will see some of that change in my lifetime.
She hides in the shadows,
as the world goes by.
Tears falling as her yearning
pleads why, God, why?
Why does she exist?
Never to be free.
Lost in an abyss,
of her own insecurities.
She hides in the shadows,
while life presses on.
Calling for love,
but no one will come.
No one can see her,
only a dream.
Hiding in the shadows,
is the appropriate thing.
She hides in the shadows,
the years march on.
Destined for loneliness,
destined to yearn.
In the depths of the darkness,
no tears left to cry.
through bloodshot eyes.
She glances in the mirror,
only to see,
the man glaring back,
she yearns not to be.