This is the first time I’ve told my story. I’m talking about it now because I want to bring hope to other transgenders.
I have been gay my whole life, but I just came out two years ago. I battled severe anxiety and depression. I contemplated suicide several times and attempted but was never successful, and I’m thankful I wasn’t. I was raised in a strict Christian home and it was frowned upon to be gay or transgender. I had to hide myself and it took a lot of courage to be who I am even though I didn’t do it every day like I do now. I was unhappy for 26 years but I made it seem like I was happy. I would put a mask on and I would hide behind it. It wasn’t until two years ago that I took off the mask and became who I am today.
The person I thought would have the hardest time accepting it was my biological father. He was raised by a Pentecostal preacher and he was stuck in his ways, but he took it better than my sister. She’s the one still having trouble coming to grips with the fact that her big brother is actually her big sister. I knew people wouldn’t accept me for who I am until the time is right.
The only person who knew about me being the way I am was my biological mother. She was the first family member I told, but she always knew. When I came out I called her and I said, “Mom, you need to be sitting down for what I’m about to tell you.” and I told her that I’m bisexual and that I am a transgender female. She just said, “Son, I already knew that.” I wasn't expecting that response, it felt good.
Growing up I always thought of family when I thought of love, but it was pointed out to me recently that love is chosen, it’s not just your DNA. Your family loves you because of your relation to them but romantic love is different. It’s what people would call true love, and no one can take that away. My family still doesn’t understand who I am, but they’re accepting of it.
I think society is a lot more accepting of what goes on in the world today. The LGBTQ community is more prominent, everything that has come to pass has actually made the future brighter. My advice to someone who’s going through the kind of persecution that I did growing up is to hold on, do not let go, keep your head up, that is the most important thing you could ever do. Staying true to who you are and where you’ve been is what makes you the person you are today. Hope is a light that can never be extinguished, even if someone tries, they will never succeed.