The little boy knew that he had to keep his mouth shut about wanting to be a girl. He went into his closet and stayed there for a long time.
The little boy, who was fast becoming a big boy, all of a sudden began to grow hair everywhere. He did not like this new hair thing at all but what could he do? Shave his body? If the other boys found out that he shaved his body, especially his legs, he would be a prime target for bullying. Shaving was not an option.
Then came the high-school years and the boy grew hairier and his voice deepened. He was becoming a man and he did not feel comfortable about it. His friends welcomed their new changes to manhood but he wished they would stop.
The boy’s friends began talking about girls and some even went on dates with girls. When the boy’s friends talked about girls they usually talked about girls’ body parts. This made the boy uneasy.
The boy never dated girls. He was afraid and confused. He felt like he didn’t fit in, he felt like he wasn’t normal. There was no way he could let someone get close to him.
High school eventually ended and college was in the future. Either college or take the chance that he might get drafted into the U.S. Army and at the time the Vietnam War was still going on. The boy attended school for two years and then stopped. As expected, he was drafted into serving his country. The boy did not want to go. The boy learned that if a male wears women’s clothing, then he wouldn’t be accepted into military service. This was before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the boy told. He was excused from service.
A girl then came into the boy’s life and things changed. There was an immediate connection and they married. Then came the children: one, two, three. He now had to be a father of three as well as a husband. He loved being both but he wished that he could do both as a female. That seemed out of the question back then. He did not stop thinking about it. He just kept his thoughts to himself.
Time passed. The children grew and he stayed in the closet. Then came Sept. 11, 2001.
It suddenly became a world where no one was safe and at any time you could be killed by a religious extremist. Now the painful thought of going to his grave never even exploring his feminine side seemed like a real possibility. It was that point he knew he had to do something soon.
He dressed as a woman for Halloween at work and it was wonderful! He never felt so free in his life and everyone at work loved him as a woman. The experience was too much not to take seriously. He told his wife, and it was too much for her, way too much. A year later he moved out and in less than another year he was divorced. It was a very sad time for him as he felt like he had lost his family and his life partner of almost 30 years. At the same time he was also ecstatic that he could be a female — except for work and except for when he saw anyone in his family.
It was a crazy time with very high highs and very low lows. There was lots of extreme happiness of finding peace and at the same time lots of crying and terrible feelings of loss.
He learned that there were some people who shared his newfound joy of being female. He also learned that there were some people who wanted nothing to do with him now. Not only did he change his gender, he also had to change all of the people in his life.
He eventually officially became a she and she is now living happily at peace with herself, but she still has regrets about her family not fully accepting her. Sometimes she still cries.
It seems so unfair not to be who you really are and instead have to be who everyone else wants you to be. I’m so sorry, little boy.
*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a local transwoman who has 3 grown children and works at a local Fortune 500 company. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org