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I think it’s interesting to use that subject line here. “Hello World!” It’s usually the first thing brand new programmers learn to code. It’s so appropriate for me right now because I’m just starting to come out.
This is something I’ve struggled with all my life. I always knew I was in the wrong body. As a child, I felt like the doctors messed up and put me in a boy’s body. Later, I learned about intersexed individuals and wondered if that was my case. I never felt like I fit in though. I played with dolls as a small child. I watched things like Care Bears, Rainbow Brite, and Jem & The Holograms. My two older brothers could be charged with hate crimes for the way they treated me as a result of such things.
As I got older, I really tried to assimilate to manhood I tried to play sports. I dated girls (actually, I do like girls, but I identify as bi). I drove fast cars and got a reputation for being the bad boy. But it all felt like a lie.
Then, I got married. I was 22 and thought I could be happy with her. But that too was a lie I told myself.
She once found a thong I secretly had been wearing and freaked out. She thought I was cheating. I tried to explain to her that I had these feelings, but she didn’t understand. We buried it and I repressed my true self even further. It felt like being buried alive. I couldn’t breathe. I felt hopeless. I got beyond depressed. So, I did what some repressed trans women might do, I cheated. I slept with a lot of men throughout my marriage. And I always felt guilty and filthy afterwards.
About 18 months ago, she asked me for a divorce. She had been having an affair with another woman for the last 14 years. I was heartbroken at first. But then, I felt a huge weight lift. I felt like I could finally be free from this prison of manhood.
It still took me a while to reconcile the truth to myself. But my father had come out 3 years ago and I found it very encouraging and inspiring. She has suffered so much- from family abandoning her to hateful acts against her and even discrimination in the workplace. And still, she persists. She’s my heroine.
Last week, I booked a makeover with a local transgender makeup artist. She was so sweet and helpful! Afterwards, we sat and talked like girlfriends for a couple hours. And then the time came for me to take the makeup off and return to my prison. I cried. It felt like a prisoner in solitary confinement being allowed to breathe fresh air in the prison yard for 20 minutes and then being thrown back in the hole. Amy (the artist) was so understanding and hugged me while I cried.
Monday, I came out to my father. I texted her and said “there’s something I need to tell you…” then I sent her a pic of the real me. She thought it was a new girl I was dating. She didn’t even recognize it was me! My heart melted in that moment.
I still can’t fully come out. There are a few items of unfinished business. But I am taking steps towards freedom. It’s a long road. But how do you walk down a long road? One step at a time.
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