By Robert Moore
Since I was 10 years old I have known something was different about me. I knew I liked guys and, since I was a boy, I later in my teen years found out that made me gay. Growing up when I would dream about my future I would dream about dating a cute boy, getting married, and having children. Of course I thought none of this would ever happen because being gay meant ‘to live a sad lonely life’ as a family member told me when they learned I was gay. I am sure many gay boys have these dreams growing up and now it can become a reality for a lot of them. The only thing is that I am sure my dreams were a little different then most gay boys. In my dreams I was the one wearing the white dress at my wedding, I was the one taking care of the house, and I was the one having/taking care of the children.
As a teen when I was home alone I would go into my grandma’s closet put on one of her dresses and clean the house or turn on music and just sing and dance. It was these times that made me happiest. It was only in these times that I liked the way I looked. When I was in 8th grade I talked my grandma into letting me dress in drag for Halloween. I borrowed a dress and some high heels from my cousin, used my grandmother’s makeup, had my aunt do my hair and I headed off to the dance. It felt so right to me. My cousin never got the dress or heals back as they found a new home in a box in the back of my closet but would come out when I knew I would be home alone for a couple of hours.
I tried to never really think to much about any of it and as I came out as a gay man I just thought it all was a part of being gay. Except as I get older those feeling about not liking the way I look or feeling right in my body just keep growing. As I have educated myself about the Transgender (Trans) community, things seemed to fall into place in my head and heart. For the last several years as I have been in more inclusive spaces where people ask others their Preferred Gender Pronouns (PGPs), such as He, Him, His or She, Her, Hers, I have found the freedom to say I do not identify with any of them and have asked to just be called by my name or described by something I am wearing or another identifying factor.
The feelings of hating the way I look in the mirror has taken its toll over the years. They have lead to struggling with anorexia, bulimia, major depression, many suicidal thoughts and about 4 or 5 suicide attempts, the first being when I was 13 years old. I have grown facial hair and I have gained weight to see if looking more manly would help me like the way I looked. I have become involved in the leather/ kink/ sex positive community that normally is more accepting of larger/heavier set guys to see if that would help, but none of this has worked and has only made the feelings of not being who I am supposed to be grow stronger.
Except being at this year’s Affirmation conference and being around our Trans sisters and brothers, taking part in the Trans affinity group, talking to several people about these feelings and feeling that finally this community (Affirmation) that I love so much and consider my family is finally in a place to love and accept trans and gender non-conforming people has empowered me. It has helped me feel more comfortable with who I am, with what I need to do to feel right in my body and with admitting to myself and all the people in my life that I am Transgender myself.
On October 15th I have an appointment with a doctor that specializes in working with trans people to begin the discussion about what Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) would be right for me. I am nervous but excited about taking this step to finally live as my true authentic self.