There is an excellent piece on how growing up trans can affect you over at Questioning transphobia
. It really struck a chord in me and I thought I would re-post my thoughts and memories here.
I quit Tae Kwan Do at the age of 16 and again at 18 because I knew my instructor wouldn’t accept me if he knew what I felt inside. I didn’t even accept myself at that point, didn’t realize that I could have a future. I still remember trying not to break down as I walked away from the school for what I knew to be the last time, and my dad asking me what was wrong. I hadn’t told him I was going to quit, and sure as hell hadn’t told him that I wanted to be a woman.
I told him there was nothing wrong, set my shoulders and made it through the day, only to spend another night crying into my pillow so as not to attract attention. Attention could only bring blame and anger, pain and shame. I told nobody, got no help, and day after day grew more anger and bitter.
I don’t want to give the impression that my dad was abusive or uncaring. There was very little else that I couldn’t talk to him about, and the image of him from those days is still something I aspire to in my personal life. I still respect him immensely for the caring and devotion to the good of others that he expresses in his daily life, and instilled in me.
I did stupid things, made bad choices, and engaged in some generally risky behavior. We all know the story, but replace drugs with ineffective (and dangerous) activism, gaming, and cutting myself off from my world.
Ten years later, I’m looking at going back to TKD under a GLBT friendly instructor, married to a wonderful woman who helped me realize that I was worth something more than my sacrifice, and that I might actually be able to be happy and have a future.
And yes, I dare to take joy in my identity. I don’t wish the trials and pain I’ve had on anyone, but damned if I’m not actually enjoying who I am now.