You know we don’t believe in that, was the advice that my mother told me when I told her that I was thinking about killing myself. Her words cut deeper than those of the other kids at school, I felt betrayed. I felt like no matter what I told my mother, I couldn’t trust her to take me seriously. If that was the answer that my mother gave me about being depressed, then how would she react if I told her that I felt like I was transgender?
To deal with the pain I was going through at school, I began to self-harm. I burned myself with candles when I could get a hold of them. I also started to cut myself, always making sure to do so in places that no one would notice. When I had tried to reach out and get help, I was ignored. I didn’t want to feel like a bigger burden on my family, so I hid what I was doing from them.
I couldn’t make friends at school. Once the rumor that I was a lesbian died down, kids in my class found out that I didn’t identify as Christian. I felt like I couldn’t follow a faith that had done so much harm in the name of their God. I couldn’t follow a religion that considered me to be an abomination and yet claimed that everyone was born in God’s image. I was labeled a witch and living where I did (in the belt buckle of the Bible belt) that was anything but good.
As before, I was ridiculed and ostracized making it impossible to make any friends. My mother was extremely over protective and I was never allowed to even try to hang out with other people my age. My father drove over the road for Heartland Express and was rarely home. I turned to the internet to find friends, to find people that could accept me for who I am.
I was able to be myself for the first time when I connected to the internet. I found some relief in role-playing online, writing stories as a character with other people from around the United States and eventually the world. For the first few years I never talked to anyone out of a character’s role, but finally I came out of my shell and began to open up to others online. I was still afraid to tell anyone else that I was transgender, because most of the research that I was able to find about being transgender was centered on Male-to-Females or revolved around the idea that anyone who was transgender was a sex worker. As a 15-year-old transgender boy, neither of which applied to me. I was still searching for who or what I was exactly.
At 15, I knew that I was transgender and that I was different from the majority of transgender people, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant for my life to come. Every time that I had tried to express my attraction to females to my mother, or try to mention that I might be different I always got the same answer. “Oh, you know we don’t believe in that.” The problem was that I did believe.