How accepting my gender identity has changed my life!

I can remember when I was a child even before elementary school and always wanting to play with barbies, be the female character, or trying on my mom’s high heels.

Nobody ever gave me any of those things or put those thoughts in my head. It’s simply what I wanted.

My parents had never told me about the LGBTQ community, yet there I was destined to become the strong woman I am today!

By the time I was thirteen I knew my sexuality, but yet did not know my gender identity. Subconsciously, I knew as I always had very feminine characteristics but I never thought about my gender.

In high school, I started slowly wearing female clothing more and more, eventually wearing makeup, and now today I wear dresses, heels, and have more make up than any female I know.

When I realized I was transgender was in 2015! I decided to do drag, I never thought much about drag before then. I decided to try it because a friend of mine was a drag queen in Halifax.

(2015: the first time I was ever in drag)

I was living in Halifax, NS and was more open about trying new things. I did my first drag show at Menz & Mollyz Bar.

When I was younger, I remember hiding my make up and trying to act as heterosexual as possible around family members. Staying quiet and remaining out of the center of attention.

Yet, here I was wearing dresses, heels, walking around in daylight, and past midnight in the middle of a city.

Over time, I started to feel more and more unhappy about myself. I couldn’t figure it out, but I knew when I was in drag I felt myself, I felt free, I felt happy.

I eventually got to the point where I wished I could be this way every day, and I’m not saying drag turns people into being transgender because that’s not how it works.

Doing drag was a wake-up call to who I always was – a woman.

I eventually found myself dressing up more & more because it was like a relief when I would look in the mirror and see the person I was. I remember crying, and crying, and crying because I felt the impossibility of ever achieving my happiness.

I still have those days where my gender dysphoria eats at me. When I look in the mirror and see my hair loss, or when I see comments online from people purposely misgendering me or mocking me for the person I am.

Yes, it hurts, I am human.

When I finally came to terms with who I am, I thought about it long and hard before speaking to anyone about how I was feeling.

I was scared.

Even when I see stories in the news about members of the transgender community being beaten and murdered, I feel that all over again.

But, when it all comes down to it, I refuse to live in fear!

Life is short, and tomorrow is not promised so I need to live for me, nobody else.

In the last year and a half since coming out as a transgender female, I have grown & learned more about myself than I ever had before.

First of all, the biggest lesson I learned was how to love myself. There is nothing wrong with who I am. I am human, I bleed the same blood as anyone else, and I deserve to be happy just as much as the next person.

As humans, we forget that if we do not take care of ourselves first how are we supposed to be there for anyone else or even be able to live life.

Life is a gift. I never want to waste it. So I’m thankful throughout this entire process.

Yes transitioning is a process. We all don’t have a million dollar bank account and a tv network a phone call away like Caitlyn Jenner.

The process of transitioning can be stressful. What seems like hopelessness, because of long waiting lists, and lists of specialist you need to see to start the medical transition process is draining.

Which leads me to my next lesson, suicide is NEVER the answer. It is an end to a temporary state.

Early, November 2016 I had still never sought out any medical professional to start the process. Yet my gender dysphoria grew stronger and stronger every day.

Initially, I didn’t know what to do. I had no shoulder to talk to as I never knew anyone that went through the process.

First I shaved my head because I knew my hair was severely damaged from bleaching my hair over and over.

(Early November 2016)

Which made my gender dysphoria even worse. I started telling myself that I would never be able to reach that place where I could be happy. I lost all sense of direction towards where I needed to go.

Suicide had become an option I felt stronger, and stronger about. The day I broke down and could no longer handle the stress of continuing to live in this state was the day I knew I had to seek a medical professional.

That decision was my own, & I knew I was saving my life by pushing towards something other than the darkness in my mind.

Initially, I was scared to tell any medical professional. My gender dysphoria put me in a place where I told myself there is no way any doctor would believe me.

Eventually, after months of waiting, I finally received an appointment to see a psychiatrist.

Mental health is important and vital to us all. The medical professional I now regularly see has been one of the most understanding people I have ever met!

Which is why I am relieved to say in July 2017 I was officially diagnosed and will be starting hormones soon.

Patience is another lesson I learned. Results do not come in the snap of a finger. It took me from November 2016 – July 2017 to be diagnosed, there seems to be a belief it’s a fast process, which for some it is, but not everyone.

It will take me years to finally be content, but I have learned that is okay because I will get there and when I do the waiting all would have been worth it.

It’s important to note that no two people transition the same way, some are comfortable not medically transitioning, some want to medically transition all the way to the end.

Everyone is different, and that’s not a bad thing! Transgender people are still valid no matter what they wear, or what surgeries they have.

Society puts a lot of pressure on transgender people. Some feel as though you are not valid unless you “dress in full”.

Which means you need to wear makeup, female clothing (dresses, blouses, heels, etc) every day.

Which is false.

What you wear is not your gender.

(August 2017)

I dress in female clothing every day, yes all my clothing is female. Do I wear dresses and makeup? Yes, but daily? No!

Men particularly constantly pressure me to dress up when meeting them. Which my simple response is if you cannot accept me as female & this is how I look – you’re not worth meeting!

Transgender people are not your fetish or your fantasy – we are human!

When I was being diagnosed I brought up the fact that I do not wear dresses and heels every day. I do not wear my countless number of wigs all the time & it took me a few years to even wear one to a public event.

Transgender: “denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.”

Nowhere in the definition does it mention how you must look, because you do not need to look a particular way.

Would I like to look flawlessly like a female?

Of course, but I can only do what I can do. If I add that pressure to myself it will only make my gender dysphoria worse because it is coming from a place of “I’m not good enough” when I need to focus on the fact that I will get there.

(July 2016: vacationing in PEI)

Which leads me to my next lesson. People that do not support you, DO NOT MATTER.

If I spent the amount of time and energy as those who try to tear me down I would have no energy left to live my life.

As someone who has a strong social media presence and does not hide the fact that I am a transgender female, I have learned pretty quickly that I cannot and will not let unnecessary negativity affect me.

One very important tip on how I deal with online bullying, is I simply ignore it.

I DO NOT read what other people post about me, it will not make me feel good, rather it will try to put out my light.

I am not who others tell me I am. I know who I am, and in the end, the people that know me are the ones that are always there for me.

That’s is what truly matters.

The people that love and support me in life will take me further than those who spend their time trying to discredit me!

Next lesson, is how important it is to be thankful.

Life can always get worse. Each day I am thankful for the opportunity to live.

I’m thankful for the transgender community! I joined online support groups and can talk to transgender people all over the world that are all beautiful human beings that are shining their light in a world that tries to take away our visibility.

I’m thankful for living in Canada which happens to particularly be a very progressive country when it comes to LGBTQ issues. I have the right to marry who I want, the right to change my gender marker, to have gender confirmation surgery (free), to live free from discrimination against my gender identity.

I’m thankful for the many pioneers in the LGBTQ community who have paved the way for me to be able to live authentically. I respect all of them.

(August 2017)

As I’m about to start hormone replacement therapy, I know I am ready! Accepting my gender identity has changed my life, I finally have learnt to love myself, that life will get better no matter what challenges are put in my way, that patience is a virtue, the people who support me are the ones I need to focus my energy on, and lastly how important it is to be thankful for everything life has given me!

Finally, I know my story does not end when I reach the final step in transition, but that is when my life of complete happiness begins.