In high school I learned not to trust myself or anyone else. I learned that people are mean just to be mean and that who your friends are, what you wear, and how you look is way more important than what is on the inside. I learned that putting a large group of 14-18 year olds together in one building is a bad idea and no matter how cool you think you are, there’s always someone around every corner ready to knock you down and show you what a loser you really are.
I had a rough childhood and teenage life. I did not fit in AT ALL. Sometimes I’d manage to find some people to spend time with and pretend we were friends, but I felt alone mostly. I didn’t want to go home, I was extremely anxious because my parents did not understand that so many of my behavior problems stemmed from crippling anxiety, PTSD from early abuse at the hands of my babysitter and her family, and that blaming me for people preying on me was pushing me away.
And then there was the large elephant in the room. The way I looked, the things I was interested in, and that disconnect. It blows my mind to see all these people claim to know what’s best for trans kids because I am here to tell you that unless you have been there, YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND. You can empathize and be kind. You can be a huge source of support. But you unless you grow up trans, you cannot possibly understand what it feels like to be a child who knows that your brain isn’t what it’s supposed to be, or what everyone tells you it should be. To know that everything you want to or are interested in is “against the rules” in some way. Sure, you can wear whatever you want and choose what activities you want, but will your parents support that for you? When you can’t buy your own clothes and shoes, will your parents let you wear what you want to wear? Or will they force you into something just because that’s common?
For me, I’ve known as long as I can remember. I tried to speak up and tell someone, but I was always shushed or laughed at. My parents put dresses on me while I thrashed and cried. They signed me up for things that I hated and wanted no part of. I’m sure it was either the doctor or their parents and older relatives who told them to do this to me. Instead of listening to me, they opted to make me look like I was “supposed” to look. They repeatedly showed me over and over again that what I wanted to wear was wrong and not good enough. That I was not good enough. That what the world thought was more important than what was going on inside my brain.
There’s something different about me biologically as well. I’m not a scientific researcher, but I’ve seen all these lists of supposed traits that are male and female and without a doubt, I have more that supposedly align with male. Why? It’s biological. It has to be. Sure, my genes say one thing as the haters always want to point out, but they also say the opposite in other supposed traits.
High school was the point when I was fully shut down inside. My “best” friend laughed at me when I didn’t wear what everyone else was wearing and soon had enough sway to force me in line. I tried to wear what she was wearing, so that I could fit in. I had learned fully by high school that the easiest path for me was the fade into the woodwork and try to not ask for attention by wearing what I liked, choosing hobbies and activities that weren’t so different from everyone else, and pushing myself to be just like my friends.
I was miserable, just as I was as a young adult trying to fit in with what I was supposed to be. I did everything “right” and I tried so hard to ignore what I knew was true. That’s all it takes, right? A will to be what you’re supposed to be and working hard? IT DOES NOT WORK. I forced myself into my own self-designed conversion therapy and those 30 years of work FAILED. All it did was make me miserable.
So people who have no idea what growing up like this is really like need to butt out and let parents be parents to their own kids. Stop being afraid that it’ll somehow make your kid decide they want surgery to be something else too. Because growing up a teeny tiny minority among the vast majority didn’t “fix” me, so I highly doubt that teeny tiny minority can influence anyone who isn’t already searching for something to consider they might be trans. It’s the parents’ job to sort out their own kid and stop trying to apply your beliefs to everyone else’s kids. This isn’t about attention. I’d rather just get to be exactly who I am without anyone inserting their opinion on it. I want to just live my own life in peace.
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