Trigger Warnings: Depression; Transphobia; Rape.

When I came out as transgender in the cold days of early December of 2014, I was afraid. I was always afraid, yet, I still was able to muster up a bit of courage to randomly blurt out to my mom that I was transgender, and, that I wanted to start hormones. Let me rewind a bit, back to my youth. I always felt something was off about me, something, that set me apart from the other kids. I wasn’t sure what it was at the time, but, I always felt more at ease playing with the girls back in pre-school and elementary schools, rather than the boys. I was never too interested into playing tag and everything else little boys did roughly back then when messing around, but, instead, I just drew, or, played Pokémon on my Game Boy Color. Even back then, I always insisted that I was a girl whenever I would meet new kids on the playground, and they just went with it; the name I used back then was always Sarah. That was all fine and dandy until my family had to move for the 5th time, and, with this new school they didn’t tolerate me presenting as female, but, instead, gave me a week detention for “disruption of class” when introducing myself as Sarah to the new class of students, and, persisting it for the first few days I was there. A week detention for an elementary school kid just for being themselves. That’s what drove me back, drove me into depression, even at such a young age.

You see, for little me, that was a crippling experience, one that shattered my entire reality. I was devastated, and, just built up a façade, pushing myself deeper and deeper into the recesses of my own mind, never truly smiling, never truly doing anything I wanted to ever do, or, behave the way I wanted. I hated myself for not being able to wear the cute dresses that all the other girls in my class wore. I hated myself for not being able to play with the girls during gym. I always felt out of place, out of touch, wherever they put me that wasn’t with the other girls. For years, till I became fifteen, I didn’t know who I was, what I was, if I was sane or not. It shouldn’t be normal for someone to wonder if they are crazy as a kid and into their preteen years, but, I did, until that one fateful day, I was doing some research for an essay I was writing for Freshman year of high school, when, somehow, someway, I found an article about transgender issues. I was intrigued, curious, so, I did more research into what being transgender was, and, after a good hour of the gears ticking in my mind, I had my eureka moment. I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t crazy, I was transgender, and, most importantly, I was right. I was a young woman, even though the world tried to tell me I was wrong, and, practically forced me into my own inner isolation cell within my mind. Of course, this whole new sense of clarity came with even more concerns, even more pain than I could deal with.

Now that I knew myself, I still couldn’t show it. For a fifteen year old who was deluded into thinking being yourself was wrong, I became afraid of how society would treat me, that I’d become homeless, abused, bullied even worse than I already was. I was afraid of being called a freak, the t-word, and almost anything else imaginable. Worse than that, the pain of keeping the façade up, despite knowing it was there now, was even worse than building it without realizing it. So, I made three attempts on my life, three attempts that, luckily now, failed. After that point, I turned to the still growing internet support groups and roleplay groups so that I could express myself, and learn more about myself so that whenever the day finally came that I could be me, I was ready. I got even more addicted to gaming than I already was, and, even let my grades suffer a bit for a year. Seeing as I didn’t want anybody to explore my browser history at home, I did most of all the support grouping at school, during lunch, or, even after school whilst doing homework in the library. I had a thing going on, a flow, and, was starting to feel even the slightest sense of normality whilst online, well, until third semester of junior year.

While doing an essay for something in history, and switching back and forth between tabs on the computer, an upperclassman, and, jock on the football team happened to catch his eyes on my support group, and, probably put two and two together with my awkward “male” personality, and, that I was transgender together somehow. Like, I mean that even though I had the wall of my old name, I was still never quite masculine, but, at the same time, I still dated exclusively other girls. I didn’t know he targeted me until it was time to wait outside for the late bus that took the kids that stayed after school home. He approached me, asked me to follow him to the nearby woods, so that no camera could see what went down next. He made an ultimatum to me, either I’d be his “bitch” for a school week, same time, after school, or, else he’d out me to the entire school. I was afraid, I didn’t want this, but, at the same time, the fear of being outed when I wasn’t ready was much worse at the time. He had me in a catch 22 with myself as well, if I didn’t do it, I would be outed, and, if I complied and filed for rape, I would’ve outed myself. Those five days became complete Hell for me, and even damaged both my psyche and my internal organs permanently. I went back into my shell, deeper this time.

I stayed in that shell till I turned twenty, when I found out a different upperclassman, two years my senior, came out, and started her transition. At that time, we weren’t really friends in high school at all, even though I did know her through band, but, none-the-less, I supported her, and, offered friendship through the difficult times of first starting her transistion. Little did I know, this would be the falling brick that made the wall crumble. We made a date to hang out, and reflect upon the past a bit, and giggle about how silly it was that she didn’t like me back then due to me being an awkward sophomore while she was a senior. She found it funny that despite some of the things she said to be back then didn’t affect that I was willing to have a friendship now. With her help, I rediscovered myself, Sarah, for the third, and final time, and, was on a path that couldn’t be stopped. I was on the road to becoming myself. So, I came out originally in early February of 2014, having a small setback, seeing as my mom was confused, and that I only came out to her and one cousin, with a tiny bit of confusion and dismay. I went back into the closet halfway till I let them figure things out, and was only going to stay that way for a month, and whether they approved or not, I was starting. Until twenty days later I got hit by a truck, nearly died, and, had to do physical therapy for nine grueling months that I couldn’t take my hormones, but, a week after the last appointment, I found the courage to come out for the final time. I just blurted these words, “Remember what I told you earlier this year? Well, I’m doing it, whether you accept me as your daughter or not.” I braced myself for the worst, on the edge of tears, until, my mom simply asked, “So, when are you gonna make your appointment?” I was flabbergasted, but, happy. A month later, on the 16th of January, 2015, I took my first dose of estrogen in the form of estradiol, and never looked back.

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