Content warning: Transphobia, suicidal ideation.
I had an idea that I didn’t feel right in my body from a pretty young age. As a child, I’d often imagine transforming into someone or something else, including girls from class or church. I remember wearing my mom’s dress when I was 4 or 5 and loving it, and wearing costumes that my sisters had. I don’t remember my parents ever getting mad or acting weird about it at that age. I assume it was just because I was practically an infant so they thought it was just cute.
When I started going through puberty, I began to feel like something was wrong. I didn’t like the changes my body was going through so I would try to forget about it by dressing up in girls clothes. My parents caught me in them once when I was 13 or 14. I wasn’t beaten thankfully. My parents were never very violent. Instead, I was given a lesson on The Family: A Proclamation to the World and was told that the girl I liked at the time would not ever be interested in a guy that dressed up in women’s clothing. It wasn’t until I entered college my freshman year that I learned that transgender people existed. I was watching a recording of the musical Rent with one of my friends for the first time and I decided after watching it I wanted to advocate for gay and trans people. I then left on a mission.
Throughout the entire mission I would have dozens of dreams of my body reshaping into a woman’s body. I spent a lot of time studying about the Family Proclamation, the Plan of Salvation, and the atonement. I thought that these dreams were sinful, so I would pray for forgiveness any time I had them. They never really stopped until I just kind of stopped having dreams altogether. When I got back from my mission, I went to BYU. I made several friends, many of whom came out as gay or left the church because of the church’s various decisions regarding gay members.
I remember one specific conversation I had with a friend that was going through a faith crisis. She told me about a family studies class she was taking, and how the church was trying to become more accommodating for gay and trans members. When she mentioned that, I remember becoming very hopeful, though I didn’t understand why (I hadn’t come out to myself yet). A few weeks later, the church announced they would no longer be allowing children of gay couples to get baptized. My friend left the church that semester.
I finally started to accept the fact that I was trans during the same summer my younger brother left on his mission. I realized my desire to know more about hormone therapy and GRS was more than just random curiosity. I decided that I was trans, but that I would continue to present as a cis man since I’m still only attracted to women. I look manly so I could easily just continue to accept this part of myself and not take any medical intervention for it. It was around this time my depression was at its worst. I would make plans for how I would kill myself if my parents died. There was one time I was at the verge of driving my car into one of those highway dividers while getting onto the on ramp, but I pulled away at the last second. I spent a few years deciding that this was just my fate until pretty recently.
I’ve finally decided to start speaking with a gender therapist to figure out what I want to do next. I plan on coming out to my brother and a few other friends in the next year or so and my parents a little after that. I don’t really know what the future holds for me. I know this story is kind of a downer, but honestly accepting that I am trans and taking steps to actually address it in the last couple of months has made me happier than I’ve felt in a very long time. I hope that anyone that reads this who is questioning their own identity knows that I love them. I know that God, if He’s up there, loves you, and He would want you to do what is best for yourself. Don’t feel like you need to suppress yourself, that’s not what God is about.