From: Janelle (Janie) I wanted to write something for the Antijen www page because I want people to know that coming out in middle school and high school, even when you have a lot going for you, can be hard and has a downside too. I think I was born a pretty extreme case of what a m2f trans kid can be... by the time I was in the ninth grade I had been through some of "the usual crap" at 2 schools but ended up in a really terrific school where I was mostly accepted without too much of a blink. By that I mean I wore my hair long, always wore earrings and had a name that could be either a boy or a girl name and people who didn't know me didn't pay any attention to me because they assumed I was a girl. In my own class, I was liked and really got more positive feedback about who I was more than anything negative. My best friend told me that she thought most people accepted that I was just being myself because I had a sort of natural quality that people liked. Which made me feel really nice 'acourse.
The thing is though when you are a Trans teen you have to do something and I did, at six months before I graduated ninth grade. I had figured out when I was 12, or I should say it just became obvious to me, that even though I liked boys I was not gay, and that I wanted to be a girl completely. My older sisters ganged up on me one day in the bedroom and flat out asked me if I wanted to be a girl and I answered yes. Before then I'm not exactly sure how I thought of myself - I think mostly that I just didn't. Sooooo, I figured out on my own how to get an estrogen called Estinyl, how much I should try taking, and I did. This is the single most significant thing I ever did in my life so far, even more than surgery which was really nothing in one way, though everything in another. I did it without thinking at all about consequences and I know now that I could have lost everything I wanted even though it seemed like it was the thing to do to get everything that I wanted, which was true also. I think that is the truly hard part about coming out very strongly when you are a young teenager. And it really really sucks. The Estinyl affected me very strongly and fast so that near the end of the year I'd been informed by the boys that I was no longer welcome in gym, which was just fine with me. After the school nurse sent me home one day I told my mother, who already knew what I wanted. My sisters had blabbed immediately of course. However, she didn't know what I had done with the Estinyl and the caca really hit the fan then. I became the huge family problem and my mother went totally nuts trying to find a qualified doctor and therapist for me over the summer. My father acted like an idiot and my parents separated that summer.
After two duds, my mom and I found someone who had some experience with GID though none with anyone as young as I was. That was a problem but I just had to make do. I had broken "the rules" by starting on hormones on my own - my argument was who cares, all girls start on hormones on their own anyway. But what could anyone do? The choices were to kick me out, lock me up or help me be myself and everyone went with #3. I could not pass as a boy and so it was decided that I'd go live with my aunt and uncle 200 miles away and try and start HS enrolled as a girl, which my shrink and mother were able to accomplish by talking to the principal and others at the small town HS and presenting all the facts about what my doctor called a medical condition.
I was so happy because it worked and things went really well for five months of that school year until somehow the local news media found out that there was a "boy" going to HS as a girl and things just disintegrated completely as far as my having anything resembling a normal life then. The local paper called my aunt and uncle and asked for comment and then they told me and I felt weird like a house had fallen on my head. My friends and the family told me I didn't need to go to school on Monday but I did anyway. My friends especially were just terrific and there for me and if anyone else had any problem they kept it to themselves, but it scraped completely anyway. My picture was in the paper and on the local news and my situation became this big controversy about who and what I was. People who had never even met me wrote to the school board and the papers, etc. No one could understand that for some reason I had been born someone who seemed like a girl, the opposite sex from what I was supposed to be and that it was really all I wanted to be as much as I possibly could. I just wanted to be myself.
Everything went down hill very fast then and I ended up pulling out of the tenth grade just a month before I would have finished. There were things said and written and things were made hard on me in ways that I couldn't handle at all, even though I tried. I studied at home and got my GED when I was 17.
Even though it is acceptable in Thailand to do surgery for someone like myself at 16 my shrink would not ok me. I guess this went against the standards of care at the time but it is completely unfair since I would have been "full time" for over a year at 16 as well as on hormones for almost two years then. I felt like I was being punished and pushed hard into a place where I couldn't win and no one would give me an honest answer why. It was incredibly hard to be a normal 15 to 18 Year old girl on the outside and yet not be able to really live my life as a normal teenager. It made me nuts even though I did everything I could do to stay focused and not lose heart. I wasn't really my usual upbeat self and had depressive episodes that just hurt really bad and recurring nightmares about everything being taken away from me. I ran away for six months when I was 17. I would not have been able to make it without my mom, sisters and brothers, my friends and the people who took an interest in me and helped. Music helped me a lot too.
I'm 20 now, and I started college at 18, and things improved a lot from having a more normal social life again. Yay. Ten months ago, I went to Thailand and had surgery with Dr. Sanguan. Yay again. While in no way problem free, heaven forbid, my life has really been going well since and I know it is a trend, which will continue.
So that is my story of what it is like coming out in middle/HS, with more advantages than most people have. I guess the point I would like to make is that Trans kids are people first and Trans second. Our lives are not just little cartoon pictures of what it is like to "pass" (a word I hate) and "transition", another word I don't like all that much, at wonderful age X. It is expected that being a Trans kid will be hard in some ways, many kids go through much harder things all the time really. Fine. What makes it so much harder though is the complete lack of understanding that coping with attitudes about being trans is really a thousand times harder than simply being trans and solving the problem, which in many ways really would not be that big a deal if there were just a bit more understanding.