The Late Bloomer: Discovering Gender Identity in My Twenties

Trans flag roseMy Path Began When I Was Twenty-Three

I grew up in a bunch of small towns, where I had no cable TV and no internet most of the time. Combined with this and being in a shrouded and religious home, I never knew much about the LGBT community, let alone what the word transgender meant. When I finally did find out, like so many more before me, I spent hours researching and relating to everything I saw and read. I looked at millions of photos, and watched hundreds of videos. Everything that I had thought and felt before then made so much more sense. I no longer had to worry about why I had wondered what it would have been like to be a boy when I was in middle school, or that when I went into the girls bathroom, I had always felt like I was uncomfortable there, or going in the wrong one. The feeling of being so much more uncomfortable with my body than most people, or the feeling that my relationships with men and my roles in those relationships were forced. So many other things finally, finally, fell into place, and my heart soared with relief. I had to share this freedom with someone once I was sure of it, so I told my girlfriend, and slowly started telling my friends. People that I was out to around me were accepting, and accommodated by calling me my chosen name and pronouns. I felt so free and open when I was with them, like I was living truly happy for the first time.

When I went back home though, I was a bird put back its cage. Things stayed this way for two years until I felt my wings growing too big for the cramped cage I was confined to. The pain of hiding and pretending was becoming too great.
I finally decided to tell my conservative and religious family about who I was and how I planned to begin transitioning. That was in May of last year. It was the scariest day of my life. I made a long Facebook post about it so that I could tell them all at once, and immediately left the house with my girlfriend; we had a banana split while I let her look at each comment that came through. Luckily, every comment I received was positive, and every time I heard one read to me, my eyes welled up with tears in relief.

After that, I started taking baby steps towards my truest self. A friend sent me my first binder as a gift, and I wore it as often as I could. Then, I got my first packer, and wow did I feel loads better about myself! Until I went back to college, where I was conflicted any time a professor asked my name, and constantly misgendered, even if I was doing all I could to seem masculine to others. It is tolerable, though, and things are getting better. Slowly, but surely.

I am 26 years old, and I am just beginning my transition. I am going to a doctor about T in just a couple of weeks. It is never too late to begin. That is something I have to keep in mind every day. Keep moving forward, brothers. Happiness awaits.