Deep down inside, you know what’s up. I know it too. Cause I’m the person you’d eventually become. Is it not obvious? What’s with the constant thoughts of wanting to be a girl? What’s with your desire to dress and present as a girl? Could it be that regardless of how you might look like to others and yourself, regardless of how you present yourself to others, that maybe, just maybe, you ARE a girl without knowing it?
You’re afraid. After all, to your peers you appear as a geeky, science and technology obsessed person; a straight in your face and a “no-nonsense” get things done sort of person. You might be introverted and reserved, but you know how to speak up and assert your position and principles when need be. No one, not even your own family knows how you feel or has an inkling of what’s up. Besides, the way you look, the things you love doing, and the traits you possess would typically be considered masculine in many societies. “No, it can’t be; it’s all just a phase, a fetish even. There’s no way I’m a girl.” You tell yourself that. Why continue living and telling yourself this lie?
These thoughts of wanting to be a girl will not subside. They only get stronger and stronger with each passing day. You’ll end up getting really close to taking your life. You’ll end up seeking help; coming out to friends and family, and eventually seeing a psychiatrist. You’ll end up realizing that you’re indeed transgender, and that you have a condition known as Gender Dysphoria. You will be set on the path of transitioning, of accepting who you are; a girl eventually called Joyce.
Reactions by the people around you will be mixed. You’ll have “friends” who will leave you; lecturers and acquaintances who are willing to cast you away simply because they cannot understand how it feels like to be in your shoes. “Nope; it’s all up there in your head.” You’ll walk away realizing that you don’t need these people in your life; cause there will be friends, friends you already know, and friends you’ll soon meet that are accepting of who you truly are, friends who will care about you.
You’ll find that the local technology communities you participate in are really open-minded and accepting, or probably don’t even care. Cause regardless of your gender; you’re you, and that’s not going to change. You’ll meet a community of people who will understand, at least to some extent, how you’re feeling, because they go through it themselves. You’ll realize that there are people in this world who still show care and love, not just because you’re transgender, but because you’re a fellow human being, a part of humanity; that your existence and what you do brings value to the people around you and in some ways, society.
It’s not smooth sailing from there however. In 2017, there will be an added requirement that not only you have to undergo Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) to legally change your sex marker in official documents, you’ll also need the verification and sign off by a local specialist doctor to prove that you’ve indeed gone for a full SRS. You’ll find out two years after transitioning, that you aren’t getting the physical changes you could get out of your hormone treatments, and part of it as a result of infrequent blood work and diagnostics. You switch to the public healthcare system, and you realize that one of your medications do not work well on you, and you need more expensive medications to suppress your testosterone levels.
You see other transwomen look very feminine, have good hormonal levels and be able to easily pass in only a quarter of the time, whereas people still see you as a guy at first glance, even after four years of transitioning. You’ll feel envious, even jealousy. You even ask yourself: “Is this all worth it? I’ll feel horrible and suicidal if I don’t transition, but I feel horrible and jealous of others even if I do. Is the pain, the costs, the time taken for regular medical checkups and diagnostics; the potential risks of side effects from hormone treatments worth it?” You’ll end up feeling depressed and suicidal. A friend even calls the police on you during a suicidal episode and you get warded in the psychiatric institution.
I’ll be frank, learning to accept and navigate these hard circumstances can be challenging and tough. But I know that you’re a brave and very adaptable person. If there’s anything I want you to remember out of all this, is that you should press on; live life as best as you can, that there’s always something you can do to better some part of yourself, no matter how small, whether be it your looks, your voice or otherwise. Even if you don’t exactly “pass” as a girl, go change your presentation, who cares what others say or think? If you don’t love yourself, who else will? As long as you’re taking a step every day to change yourself in a positive way, it’s progress, and that’s always a good thing. The process of transitioning will take a long time, many years even.
Honestly, there are a lot of things I am still learning myself about self acceptance, and there’s many things about myself to accept as well. I hope that this letter gives you a glimpse of the positives in this world, and gives you the strength and courage to power through the negative events and thoughts you might encounter. Hopefully, you will have it easier than I did in your transitioning process. Oh and remember to love and accept yourself for who you are. That’s the most important part of it all.
All the best!
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