The obvious question:
When did you know you were trans?
Shortly into my freshman year in college, I knew I was transgender. At least, I thought I might be.
Thanks, T1 internet connection, and unsupervised internet use.
Sidebar: I was thinking I could fit all of my “beginning” story into one post but after several attempts at typing, deleting, retyping, deleting, and retyping again, I think we’ll serialize this one.
A lot of these thoughts were never clear and coherent, especially at the time they were happening. As 2020 went on, with plenty of time to think, my dysphoria and depression got worse. Even as I dug into my own psyche and tried to really answer the question, “Am I trans?”
It is only through deep introspection, with help from a good therapist, and reading through the Bible in a year, that I was able to put all of the pieces together. I was able to admit to myself first, then to the rest of the world, “Yes. I am 100% certain I am trans. Pursuing medical transition is the best journey for my own mental health. Being trans is part of what makes me uniquely and wonderfully me.”
My early childhood memories.
I had the quintessential, small-town, conservative, Christian, middle-class, trauma-free childhood. I add trauma-free as the honest truth. It is assumed by some less educated that to be trans means, “one must have gone through significant trauma, childhood or otherwise, to identify in such a way and to seek such attention.”
Nope. Not me. No physical abuse. No verbal abuse. All of my grandparents were still married, to their original spouse. My parents are still married, having celebrated 48 years together in December 2020. We were so comfortably middle-class. We took family vacations. We had a driveway full of cars only my dad could love. I had a Nintendo that my brothers and I got for Christmas the year it came out. Perfectly. Middle. Class.
I didn’t know I was trans when I was little, the youngest of three children, the youngest cousin of the bunch. The baby. But I knew I was different. I’ll spare you the life story. I said it earlier, it’s distinctly middle-class. Yes, you can read that as pretty boring.
What I will share is a snapshot of some memories.
One of my earliest memories is from when I was three years old. The memory is of my mom painting my nails bright red and I loved it! Let me ask you, “how many memories do you have from when you were three years old?”
Another memory from that time of my life: Playing with a friend and she wanted to play “house.” She wanted to be the dad and told me I had to be the mom. To this day, I can still remember the interaction and not knowing how to process it.
Years later in my childhood, I used to have a recurring dream of “having to leave and go into hiding.” The only way to be safe was to live as a girl. I loved it. It’s probably why I had the dream over and over through the years. It was almost always identical in every way. (Who remembers that at 39, soon to be 40?)
I remember my grandparents and cousins telling me, “The doctors thought you were going to be a girl.” It both embarrassed me and felt. . . true.
When I played with my action figures, GI Joes most of the time, I was always a character that was captured and turned into a bad guy. It was like my brain was trying to tell me, even then, that things weren’t aligned.
Here are a few other snapshots from my memory bank. I loved jewelry and always wanted rings and necklaces. I may have never been consistent, but I almost always had some sort of journal (yes, I called it a diary then). I always carried too much stuff – pockets, fanny pack (yes, I’m of that generation), and backpack. I have my first purse and if it wasn’t so small, I’d still carry too much stuff. I even remember loving to play with my mom’s eyelash curler specifically. It was a “lady” thing that I had access to.
Do you see the pattern? My childhood is filled with memories that are very specifically gender-related. I remember a lot of things (I still get teased for it by some). Among the steel trap that is my memory box, however, these memories are all particularly vivid. They feel more recent and more clear than the rest.
Did I know I was trans as a child? No. Had I been exposed to more progressive gender ideas would I have figured it out sooner? Possibly.
Am I right where I’m supposed to be, today? Absolutely.
This is all part of my journey to be authentically me. Each memory, each step, each decision, each God nudge; they have all worked to get me here.
Today, I am truly happy to be me. She is me and I am excited to continue my journey.
We’ll talk about middle and high school in the next episode.