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Coming Out: "Being happy in your own skin can't be underestimated"

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DH Vancouver Staff Jul 31, 2015 6:34 pm

Earlier this month, we invited Vancity Buzz readers who identify as LGBT to submit their own ‘coming out’ stories as a way of empowering and inspiring others who may be struggling with their own sexuality.

The fifth of our reader-submitted coming out stories during Vancouver Pride Week 2015 details an anonymous transitioning trans female’s struggles and journey of realization and self-acceptance.

[am2_see_also]

Anonymous trans female

Age: 43
Occupation: Farmer

My experience didn’t fit the “Standard Transsexual Narrative” that I understood. I have no recollection of knowing when I was young and I wasn’t gay. I don’t remember much of my youth but I remember having depression and anxiety, especially once I hit adolescence.

I was small and I was picked on a lot. I always felt different but couldn’t articulate why until I was much older. In my mid 20s, I married my best friend and we started a family a little while later.

I have never felt masculine or been comfortable in a male gender role. I preferred what would be stereotypically feminine or female. I didn’t know why I had these thoughts and feelings but it didn’t match what was my external reality. I thought it would pass.

I ignored it and I went on to try to live life as I felt I was expected to. I wanted to be ‘normal’ and not mess up my wife, kids, and everything we worked for.

Depression and anxiety haunted me throughout my life. As I got older I began to question my gender. Denial never allowed me to research it. It’s like thinking you might have a disease but you don’t want to find out the symptoms in case they match what you’re experiencing. I felt very isolated and alone though I had a family that loved me dearly.

The dysphoric feelings would dissipate then reappear over time. Each time they came back, it was worse. At several points I went off work because I couldn’t function. I had extreme depression, anxiety, and I was suicidal. I went to counselling, but I was too ashamed to tell my counsellor how I felt at first.

Once I explained some of my feelings, she recommended I see a gender counsellor. That scared me because I think it reinforced my suspicions. I declined.

I had four years of psychotherapy and little had changed. I dealt with my other issues but there was still this elephant in the room. At some point I started to research anything trans I could. There were so many stories of people experiencing exactly what I thought only I was going through. It was enlightening and empowering but frightening at the same time. I didn’t want this. I talked with my psychiatrist at length about it. It wasn’t going to stop.

Throughout 2014, it was constantly on my mind. To the point of being overwhelming. One day I literally made the conscious decision to accept who I am. I knew that if I didn’t, I would continue on a path that would no doubt end tragically like so many others.

I told my wife and kids who were in their late teens and early 20s. I expected a terribly negative experience. The reality was the opposite.

My wife and kids were very supportive – they were happy that I was happy. I told the rest of my family and friends who were incredible. Coming out was the best thing I ever did. I have never been happier and everyone around me tells me they see it.

I have pride in who I am and want to help educate people. Being happy in your own skin can’t be underestimated.

 

Vancity Buzz is a proud media partner of the 2015 Vancouver Pride Festival

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DH Vancouver Staff
Daily Hive is the evolution of Vancity Buzz, established in Vancouver in 2008. In 2016, the publication rebranded and opened newsrooms in Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. Send story tips to [email protected]
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