Social media has given a voice to many who have been silenced in the real world. By being able to voice themselves and express themselves through words and art, transgender individuals and others being put down have been able to be themselves. March 31st is a day when support and expression go hand and hand, many individuals have taken to social media, online support groups, and writing platforms to share their stories and challenges. Below are stories that I have been told by individuals who have gone through challenges and oppression and how they have grown from their experiences and become who they are meant to be. Reading and rereading these stories have inspired me so much to be the most loving and supporting person I can be.
Roy, an absolutely brave young man, shared his journey with me of his transition from female to male, “I realized I was trans my freshman year of high school. It was something I had been struggling with since I was little, but I was never allowed to question my gender because I live in a very religious household and things like that were viewed as sinful and disgraceful to god. But I had reached a point in my life where I knew I couldn’t lie to myself anymore and I let myself question my gender and who I was. At the end of my freshman year I got my hair cut short and slowly started dressing more masculine. Of course, it got to a point where I couldn’t hide it from my parents and friends anymore and I decided to come out. That was definitely the hardest decision I had ever made considering how all the people in my life where religious to some degree, and after I came out, they all cut me off. Being excommunicated from my church was painful but it honestly helped me grow a lot? I moved on and met newer and better people, and I now have a wonderful group of friends who love and support me just the way I am.”
Elliot, a spirited young man, also shared the story of his female to male transition, “Growing up felt weird and that I was always on the outside of where I should be. I hung out with guys, I didn’t like ‘girly’ clothes, some pieces of me just didn’t fit right. Going into my first year of high school was hard and confusing. I dated different people and tried different things but it still didn’t feel quite right. During my second year, I identified as non-binary. I used they/them pronouns and didn’t tell anyone other than my immediate friends. After months of using different pronouns and still not feeling right, I asked a friend to start using ‘he/him’, and since that day on I’ve been going by those pronouns. At first, people stared at me, when I came out it was like everyone immediately knew I was the weird outsider. I lost most of my friends and ended up eating alone at lunch and spending weekends on my phone in bed. I felt right but the world around me didn’t accept me. Moving forward into my senior year nothing mattered anymore. I have a strong few friends, and I got voted into my school’s competition for the ‘most popular guy’. Although I didn’t win, it was a huge accomplishment. The more visible I became the more people accepted, and some still belittle me, but I know I’m higher than them. I’ve just recently made my first appointments to talk about starting testosterone, and plan to start before the year ends. Basically the moral of my story is to never give up on who you are or how others may view you. Although I lost everything I stood my ground and made sure I was seen as the man I am today, and I would have that any other way.”
These two individuals who shared their story with me are extremely brave, many children, teens and adults across the world cannot share their story or even be themselves due to oppression, fear of consequences or even death. That’s why I encourage you this Transgender Day of Visibility, please do your best to be there for a friend in need and be aware of people like Roy and Elliot. Even respecting, using the correct pronouns, showing love and support for an individual can change their life.
Written by Joan