Trapped [Diversity Competition Entry]

"My birth was a death sentence, and the Gods laughed in my face as they locked me in the wrong body and threw away the key." This is a true story...the story of how I discovered myself. [For the diversity competition 2017]

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2. Trapped

 

As a young child, I thrived off popularity; I would be the first girl picked for sports teams, people would come to me for art requests, and I was a skilled writer. The teachers adored me, even though I'd had a few behavioural problems along the way, but it was the other student's approval that I needed.

In my 4th year at primary school, my best friend had taken a dislike to another student. She would taunt him, tease him and eventually bully him. Keen to impress her, I was drawn into her nasty ways, repeating her comments about his weight and appearance. We would find him during lunch break and make his life a living hell. I wasn't fully aware that what I was doing was bullying because to me it was just a game, just a comment, just a way to show my loyalty to my best friend. But one day, we were called to the teacher's office. In my heart, I knew what we were about to be told. My friend sat there in tears while I confessed everything, every little detail, suddenly filled with disgust over what I had done.

I never bullied anyone ever again.

During my 3rd year of high school, I turned 14. I was no longer popular. In fact, I only had a handful of friends who, as it later turned out, would abandon me entirely. My lunch breaks were filled with false laughs and reading books, and during class I had a new status; I was the geek, the nerd, the teacher's pet. I was the freak. I felt so out of place, watching from the side-lines as everybody breezed through life as if it were easy. One by one, my friends took advantage of me, and I fell for the lies they forced down my throat. I became withdrawn and depressed, and I could no longer avoid the truth; I was lost and no longer knew who I was.

I began to spend longer in front of the mirror, searching for what I had lost. Why did I feel so...so wrong? I soon developed the unhealthy habit of listening to my insecurities. My stomach, my boobs, my thighs...I felt like my body would never be good enough to reach society's expectations. I began to starve myself. My packed lunch was destined for the cafeteria waste bin, and I would steal my grandma's laxatives so that I could lose as much weight as possible. I lost 1 stone in a single month and began to look ill. I didn't realise it at the time, but my hair had become greasy and thin, and my skin looked pale and clammy. Looking back at this, I pity myself; why did I feel the need to be thin? Couldn't I just accept that beauty isn't a flattened stomach and a forced smile, but all that is inside you?

Thankfully, the destructive eating habits faded away.

Ever since I can remember, I've avoided the stereotypes that surround females. I had never worn makeup, never worn a dress by choice, wore only boys clothes and shoes, cried when I needed my first bra, and couldn't care less if I had a boyfriend. In fact, screw boyfriends; why on earth would I want a relationship with a boy? Then it hit me. Memories came flooding back to me, and I began to piece them together; my first kiss was with a girl and my first crush was on a female...it took me very little time to see the true picture.

I was a lesbian.

I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders as I realised that I had uncovered part of my identity. I was proud! I came out to my friends and family, and it all went very well. But in my naivety, I had failed to notice what was going on around me. People whispered and pointed at me in class, people laughed as I walked passed them in the hallways...then it dawned on me; my "friends" had spread my secret. From the moment that I had my first relationship with a female, the bullying exploded. I was ridiculed for my sexuality, and I was truly hated.

I had never experienced bullying before, so it hit me hard in the face. The girls called me a faggot and followed me around school telling me that I was a freak. The boys would sit in class, aiming spit balls at me. The worst thing was, it wasn't just my year that knew the secret; the entire school did. It wasn't unusual for me to be approached by students from other years who would ask "Are you the gay one?" and "You're the faggot, right?". The worst was when a group of students from the year below tripped me up and threw rocks at my head while I lay there, helpless. That night I sat on my bed with a handful of pills, debating whether or not to take my own life. I wondered, just for a moment, if this is how I'd made the boy in my primary school feel. As it happens, I never took the pills, and I'm glad. Very glad.

When I was 15, I suffered a huge deterioration in my mental health and was admitted to a psychiatric unit. I was there for 10 weeks, and it is an experience I will never forget. I've never seen such a hardship and felt such pain, but it made me who I am today and for that I am thankful. Without my stay there, I may not even be here today. I still suffer from mental illnesses, but I am able to enjoy the outside world and taste the freedom that I no longer take for granted.

Within a month of my discharge from the hospital, I faced a very difficult decision. I had been refusing to acknowledge something that had been bothering me for far too long. Something that had eroded my self-esteem and made me question who I was as a human being. It had formed at the back of my mind when I was a child, and I hadn't understood the true meaning of it. Only as it grew and developed did it get harder to ignore, to the point where it was no longer at the back of my mind but was engulfing the entirety of it. And then, in mid-January 2016, I said it out loud.

"I am transgender."

It felt frightening to say it. I ran to the mirror, stripped off my clothes, and stared at myself in my most fragile moment. I looked past the scars on my skin from battling my mental illnesses, I looked past the "fat" and the "imperfections" as I confronted the parts of my body that had made me feel wrong for all these years. My entire torso made me uncomfortable - breasts, vagina, hips. As I stood timidly at the mirror, I repeated three words over and over again.

"I am transgender. I am transgender. I am transgender."

From that moment onwards, my journey to become the man inside began. I came out to my parents, which didn't go very well. Even to this day, a year and a half later, they still refer to me as a female. However, I try and sympathise with them because I know it isn't easy to accept that someone you've known for 17 years of your life, who you've created, named, fed and nurtured, suddenly wants to discard their gender and the name that you so lovingly gave them. Despite this, it still greatly upsets me.

My parents have shown a different kind of support, however. When I announced that I was going to apply for college under the name Lucas with he/him pronouns, they didn't stop me. They weren't happy about it, mind you, but they didn't stop me from doing so. Similarly, when my psychiatrist suggested that it would be greatly beneficial for me to be referred to a gender clinic, my parents agreed. It upsets them, but they agreed. Doesn't that show that they do care? Of course it does. And so, many months on from my referral, I await my first appointment to see if I'm ready to start testosterone.

While I felt elated for the first few months after coming out as transgender, it was short lived. I was so thankful that I had addressed my gender identity, but from that arose many other problems. The most invasive and destructive of these was (and will forevermore continue to be) dysphoria. Not all transgender people experience it, but many do. I personally suffer greatly with dysphoria, but at times it would get so bad I'd struggle to shower because I would be forced to accept that I didn't have a penis or flat chest.

It's awful, truly terrible, to know that every second of my life will be spent in the body of female, when I am an honest-to-god man. I can't help but feel like I've been wronged, that maybe even my creation was a mistake. Sometimes I believe that this is a curse that I deserve...almost as if my birth was a death sentence, and the gods laughed in my face as they locked me in the wrong body and threw away the key. It's a cruel fate, but it's the one I've got and I'm going to make the most of my body. Surgery and hormone replacement therapy will help, but it will never fully satisfy the man inside.

Accepting that I was male made me confused about my sexuality. I had been labelling myself as a lesbian for years. What did this make me now? Through discovering one part of my identity, I had destroyed the other. I didn't want to be hasty and snatch another sexuality out of the air, because if I was going to try and find out who I was once and for all, I wanted to do it properly. For the last 2 years, I had been part of an LGBT+ support group where I met and befriended people from many genders; non-binary, transgender, agender, demigender, and the list goes on. Through this process, I came to realise that someone's gender identity didn't matter to me. I loved people for who they were, not how they identified. However, I knew that within a relationship I would like to have sex, and therefore my involuntary repulsion of penises made my choice of sexuality very difficult indeed. Where could I find a sexuality that meant gender identity wasn't necessarily important, but genitalia was? It was surprisingly easy to find my answer.

Polysexual.

​Polysexuality is the attraction to most, but not all, gender identities. This meant that I didn't have to specify which genders I was attracted to, nor which genitalia people had; I just needed to know in my mind that I could feel attraction to most but not all genders. How I now phrase it to people is "Gender doesn't matter to me, but if I'm going to be in a sexual relationship it will need to be with someone who doesn't have a penis." It's that simple.

Suddenly, I knew my identity was complete. I now know that my journey to becoming who I really am is well and truly on it's way. Soon, I'll start testosterone and witness the wonderful changes to my body. The future for my gender looks brighter than it ever has, and I know that while I'll never fully be satisfied with my body, I don't need to be, as diversity is a beautiful thing and I should never be ashamed of the things that make me different.

I am a transgender, polysexual male. And I am proud.

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