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Personal Experiences > The Hidden Life

A lot of people say that when they finally start to deal with their gender problems it's like coming out of hiding, allowing your true self to be shown to the world.
Can you share how this felt with you?
Did it change your life, for the better, for the worst?

I want it all, the good and bad, because people need to see this.


So, write to me

As with all my pages, I will remove your info, and only use your first name when I post your experience.

 


From: Amy Lynn
Subject: The hidden life


Part of my hidden life lies within my mind in how I see myself. When I was little I leaned toward girlish things. Like the time I wanted a girl's swimsuit, and looking at wishing I could have a girl's bra and panty set with super girl on it(It was superhero underware). I could think of lots of things.

That's right I hide what I am constantly. I ...............

I stopped for a few moments because I didn't want anyone to find out what I'm doing. Now I'll continue.

I hide what little clothes that I got. Only ventured out a couple of times. I'm very nervous all the time.

My clothes been discovered by mom once before. I think I got by saying one of the nieces must have put it there since they do go in there when I'm at work.

Now I goto school. Hoping I'll finally do something just for myself. (Like learning to bring the suppressed self out) I just don't know what to do basically.

Sincerely,
Amy Lynn
PS: I thought I write this perhaps to make myself feel better in some way.


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From: "Molly Maladroit"
Subject: Hidden life

Dear Aunty,
I'd like to add my little bit to the hidden life page.

Here goes:

I feel like I've been in hiding my whole life. I always wanted to be a girl, almost as long as I can remember, I was unhappy being a boy. I didn't know that was it for a long time. I just knew I didn't like doing boy stuff, wearing boy clothes and playing with the other boys. But my family is big on just dealing with things, I learned at a young age not to complain about going places I didn't want to go, or not getting I wanted,etc... I was always taught to make the best of what I had, so I did.

When I started feeling like I should have been a girl, I just dealt with it and did my best to be a boy. When I felt like I needed to be a girl, I just pushed it down. I managed to not cross-dress for most of high school, but try as much as I could I absolutely could not stop myself from occasionally indulging. I don't know how I justified it to myself, but by the end of high school, I had done a considerable amount of research on transsexuals on the internet and at various libraries (I'm a big nerd, I spend a lot of time in libraries) all the while trying to straighten my self out.

I did pretty well, I was one of the fastest members of my swim team, I qualified for states all four years of high school, I was class president my sophomore year, and I was a very respected leader in my youth group. Church helped both confused me and helped me cope. I know it will sound like bragging, but I was a very powerful speaker; my talks on retreats would leave people in tears. People had profound religious experiences because of me, I have the letters to prove it. They loved me because I was so candid, open and honest, and I'd tell them anything about me, except that I secretly wanted to be a girl. I really was able to really connect to people and touch something in them. God! I felt like such a fraud! Here were all these people moved by what I said, and me just torn to bits over what I couldn't tell them. I could never get close to anyone because I felt like I was lying to them, I always felt like I was slightly outside the group, any group.

College came and I lived in the dorms. I was in a very small room with another guy, in a whole hallway of guys, needless to say I didn't tell anyone. I spent another year trying to blend in and repress who I was. I even had a girlfriend and managed to have some fun, but like all my other relationships, I always felt a barrier between us.

I dropped out of school my sophomore year to join a small circus. We toured elementary and middle schools around the country, for three months my life consisted of spinning cotton candy all morning and performing a little juggling show in the afternoon. I was way too busy to think about gender problems, working from 6:30 in the morning until 9 at night. I loved performing, the kids loved me, but I always struggled with my character, I really had to force myself the play a boy.

The next time I went on tour with this group, I had realized to some extant who I was, (I still thought I could make it through life as a cross-dresser), and this time it was much harder. Talk about a hidden life, for forty-five minutes I was a god on stage, little girls loved me. Here I was all these little girls developing little girl crushes on me, following me around after the shows, asking for my autograph and me struggling with GID. I always used to wonder what these little girls would think if they knew their temporary teen idol was a closeted transsexual.

When I was 20 I gave up, I went to my first support group meeting just before my 21st birthday. I decided to stop denying who I was and actually listen to me, instead of shoving all my 'bad' thoughts away, I embraced them. It's been a little more then a year and a half since then, and I've really come along way. I went back to school and got my AA and then I went back to University. I've been gradually increasing my wardrobe and coming out to select friends. Oh my god! what a difference it has made. I know that not everyone is going to be cool with me, but I'm able to feel comfortable and close to my friends, in a way that I never have before.

I don't magically turn into someone else when I dress in my clothes, I just feel so much more... comfortable... and truly at ease with myself. It absolutely tears me up when Monday comes and I dress up in boys clothes and I have to be a boy at school. I still perform around town and sometimes at corporate events in my home town, it kills me to go home and shift back into that role, once I'm there I can handle it, but shifting back into it is very painful emotionally. When I go on stage I really have to force myself into that character, I really can't explain the experience, it's just very difficult.

I have a wonderful understanding roommate/girlfriend, and I dress however I want to at home. I've been losing contact with all my old friends, and testing the waters by dressing more androgynously at school. More and more of my friends know, and most of my new friends know right from the beginning, it makes such a difference being out to friends.

I'm staying at school this summer, and since this town empties out, I'm going to start dressing however I want and being myself, in class, in public, etc... I'm done with the lying and sneaking. This is me, I'm not a freak and I'm not ashamed.

Love,
Molly

ps. aunty, if this is too long and rambling, I can cut it down, I really didn't expect it to be this long when I started it. After rereading it I think I'm going to post it on my webpage too :).



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Dear Aunty,

this is my little submission for "the hidden life" section on the site. I hope it can be of some use to somebody. well, here goes nothing:

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Up until the last few years of my life, I spent every hour of every day lying to myself, to my family, to my friends. From as early as I can remember it's been like this, and as soon as it was spotted, and attention was called to it, I took as many steps as were needed to hide and repress the fact that I felt deep down that i was a girl.

All throughout early grade and middle school, I remember being confused about where I was supposed to fit in. I learned early on that being myself was somehow intrinsically wrong, and that for some reason, I was constantly making myself a target of abuse, be it from people in school, on the bus, or at home. My dad was a Violent alchoholic, my mom died when I was 7, and was eventually replaced by a stepmother who emotionally abused me right up through highschool.
To say I lacked confidence in myself is an understatement.

And who can have confidence when you can't figure yourself out? When other kids were learning to fit into the grand scheme of society, and doing the things that everyone else does, I was crossdressing heavily, feeling digusted with myself for doing it, and trying to repress that side of me so I could pass for "normal". It's something which I never really managed. And when I was caught by my parents when I was in my teens, I was constantly humiliated, hardly a day passing when I wasn't degraded for not being masculine enough, for not being "normal" enough.

So I eventually learned how to hide sufficiently. I became emotionless, hard, cruel, and mean. I stopped talking, I gained weight, and I made myself a defiant outcast. I did everything I could to take my fear and solidify it into an external shield. I got into the hardcore scene. I gained weight, I stopped caring about anything. I covered myself in piercings and tattoos, I got in fights, I litterally INVENTED an identity with which to hide behind, and it acted like my reality filter. I tried to just exist and ignore my feelings. I had relationships, but they always ended in disaster because there was always something between us.

And finally it was just too much. All the barriers, the carefully maintained blocks and shields and fake walls, everything came crashing down around me. I had a nervous breakdown when I was 19, and basically came to a crossroads. on one side was Life, which meant dealing with my problems. On the other side, Death, and continuing how I was going. I fully expected not to live to see my next birthday.

Well, it's fairly obvious which choice I made, and now, 4 1/2 years later, I've nearly managed to get rid of everything that hung me up before. With the help of pages and lists like this, and a number of caring individuals, I was able to overcome some of the toughest barriers in my life, namely admitting to myself and to others that I'm transexual, and then dealing with it instead of letting it fester for years and years. It hasn't been easy, but I refuse to hide, I refuse to just lie down and take it, and I'm confident in knowing that this is the right thing for me to be doing, that this is -ME-.

nothing can change that.
I'm done hiding.

Sincerely,
Alyssa




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From: Nightshaed
Subject: The hidden life

Hello my name is Juan Alberto D, (birth name anyway) I have recently come to realize that I am a transsexual and was reffered to your site by Erin Lindsey. I hope I can count on the support and help of you and the others on this site. All I really need is someone to talk to.

I would like to share my account of life in the shadows. For many years I thought I was just the one person in the world who could not be happy no matter what I tried. Igrew up in southern Texas, here in the deep south especially where i live since its mostly hispanic the culture revolves around Christian beliefs and my family was no differen, since my parents had emigrated from mexico one year before i was born and they were devoutly christian. Growing up I had always been aware of myself (i was aware of the sexual differences between boys and girls at age three) and that I was very feminine and that the other boys were different from me. As a child I always wondered why girls got the pretty clothes and all i got were pants and shirts, I always loved to hang around with the girls and had few male friends. There were days when i was alone in front of the mirror and i would tuck my penis and pretend i was a girl. When my parents caught me they used negative reinforcement to make it stop. So i hid myself but was still somewhat girlish.

Nobody seemed to notice my femininity until i was in middle school, It was there that the so called "problems" started showing up. For example My idol has always been Madonna and and when Evita came out I loved to sing the main theme to it that was what i consider my first mistake. after after I had been humming and singing the song for about a week the name calling started I was constantly called a "fag" and there were many utters of SOB but that was only the beggining soon the boys who considered themselves macho started bullying me and i got into many fights. My parents also told me constantly to stop sitting like a girl and to speak up like a man since i talked very softly. Even when I hit puberty I was ashamed of my deeper male voice.

Then came high schoolboy was that ever hell. I didnt go to a normal high school as most kids did I managed to get into a magnet school the 6th best in the state. I had always been a sort of prodigy growing up so i got in easily. In high school I continued to hide my deep voice and spoke very softly that and my body naturally developed a very feminine figure (of which I am very proud) soon even here I was being teased and bullied. I was here that I bacame the shattered person i am nowliving three different lives myself, who I was at school, and who I was at home.My three personalities were so different no one from school would recognize me at home and vice versa but no one ever saw the third me I seldom saw her myself. I became a dark personnot to say i dreseed differently but i just became dark, to the extent that everyone became scared of me I shut out practically everyone and had a ,as my friend once called it, demonic look. the second year of high school was no different except that I was forced to talk with my natural voice once my teachers and family discovered it. To everyone I seemed like a perfectly normal child but it was only an act every time I looked in the mirror I hated what I saw but I didn't know why. My junior year brought many positive changes including the day I met two very important people one was my best friend dawn whose openess aloowed me to have some freedom from my prison and the other was my favorite teacher and friend Mr. Heinz he is a very liberal person who I have constantly stayed in contact with. I and my new friends soon found a refuge in the form of the only local chapter of the GSA in the whole of deep south texas which just happened to be at my high school. For a few months I was truly happy, but then southern culture reaed its ugly head just as I had revealed to a select few that I was bisexual the bible club at our school started harrasing our club with help from the administration no less. It got to the point where the administration shut us down in order to "protect" us from the bible club needless to say we went staright to the school board and threatened to sue, we were allowed to reinstate the organization immediately. my senior year was actually good everyone was afraid of me so i never got bullied again and i actually made a whole group of friends. the whole year was excellent me and my date were the it couple at prom and everyone at school knew my name.

College beagan and it was here that I began to realize who and what i was, even though I had accepted that I was bisexualI still felt something was missing I was still the dark shattered person I had always been. I have finished my first year of college and it was in this first year that i discovered i was a transsexual.When I left home for the university's dorms I finally felt like i could be myself once again I met two very important people. One was my current friend and former lover Gabriel who gave me religion in the form of Wicca. The other was Lara the first person whom i revealed my self discovery to. both of them along with my best friend Dawn have been supporting me as i discover myself and try to put back the pieces of myself. These days they call me Alexis which is the one female name I have always wanted I am still the dark, shattered person I became in my early teens but now I have friends who help me live my philosophy of if life hands you lemons then throw them back in its face. I still live in the shadow pretending to be a regular 19 year old boy only my three closest friendshave some knowledge of who I really am and it looks like only they ever will.

Sincerely, Alexis

P.S. I anyone feels like they have been through similar expeiences, epathize with me and would like to get to know me my Email is Nightshaed666@aol.com



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Subject: The Hidden Life
**** Rachel C. ***** (publish at will)



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Hi, I knew when I was 2 years old that I was different from other girls. I was being treated like a boy and was a bit confused. I was adopted at 5 years old by my grandparents. They were good to me at first. I remember asking my granddad 'when will I grow up into a proper girl?' - well he died when I was seven, cancer. My gran did not really care for me as I reminded her of my mother, whom I was the luckiest girl alive to keep in contact with.

I hid my 'secret' for fear of my gran having me sent away, with no more visits from my mummy - a threat that she used often. My dressing up was often, so many times I was nearly caught. Once my gran actually arranged a policewoman to talk to me, saying it would lead to worse things - they thought I was sick or something. My gran never listened to my pleas for help. Every night I would pray to wake up 'a normal girl' or that this life was all some horrible nightmare. It never happened. I lost my faith in god and started to have faith in inner self only. I was bullied every day at school (6 years of absolute hell). I was abused by a paedophile when I was 15. He did teach me that I was not an anomaly, there were others like me and help was remotely possible. He took advantage of me, also taking my innocence and trust in men forever! I have no bitterness - life is one big trial and we are the chosen few that have the worst time - we ALL make it through to be stronger, wonderful people. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

I moved to my mums, told her about my abuser, the court decided to award him custody of my brother, who denied it all in front if me - I have forgiven him, but we have not spoken since. I told my mum, she threw me out at 16. She took my siblings to Spain to live.

I got into debt, met a girl (first ever), I told her and as we were such good friends, got married. crazy to feel so jealous on your own wedding day! years of debt, drugs and hiding later we divorced.

I moved to Spain as I had been getting on so well these last few years. Just packed the car and left! got a job, nearly killed myself several times! Mum took me to one side one day and basically gave me a verbal hiding - one that was long overdue. She wanted a happy daughter, not a late son. I was overcome and immediately (next day) went to the pharmacist and purchased hormones (12 Sept 2002). It is soon to be a year later. I used my website www.costabunny.com as an introduction to my colleagues etc (I work in Gibraltar where I was warned I would face a bigger challenge than any part of the UK). I have been accepted as a woman, with respect and admiration instead or animosity and fear.

I am having an Orchidectomy in September, and even my step father is getting used to this (and he is from Morocco). I have my passport and ALL other doc's changed to my true gender and name. I have found confidence and happiness by being myself. I do not force my acceptance upon people. They choose to take it or leave it, I will not be ridiculed though. I have ever right to a normal life, just as anyone else has. I have fought all the way and know I have a long fight left, but take courage from this story, you can overcome all obstacles if you have the conviction to be yourself and damn the rest. I know that may sound like an impossible dream right now, but you will win in the end. Parents come around, give them space and time - after all the little 'boy' they love so much is actually a little 'girl'. They love us always and need time to adjust and realise that this is not their fault. Fathers seem to cope when they see others giving us respect. mine does.

In the darkest moments of my life, it is my mum who has been there for me, even when we weren't talking, she is in me. Now she is the proudest mother alive, and the best.

Love and strength to all - I know it seems hard, but keep fighting, it IS worth it x x x Rachel C.



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From: Jim Brown
Subject: A response to your website


My true self can never be shown. For the first thirty five years of my life I prayed every day that God would change my mind or my body, I didn't care which. For the last five years I have just prayed for death. I wish that I could help someone, someone like me when I was younger, someone who still had a chance at a "normal life"

The hiding and the fear that all of us know so well has driven all of the friends that I ever had far away and now I am totally alone. If anyone out there is thinking that they can ignore how they feel, that they can deny who they are just so that they can fit in to normal society. Please take a word of advise from someone who tried that path. You cant, and if you try you will end up like me, alone and afraid. Your secrets, like mine will be safe but your life, in reflection, really wont have been worth living.

You still have a chance. Do whatever it takes to be what you are, don't let anyone stop you. You deserve to be happy and to live a life that you are comfortable with. Believe me the feelings that you are having now wont go away. Tears are forming as I write this, because I do not want this to happen to anyone else. My life is a disaster, after the sun goes down I cry almost all of the night away. and all because I am a coward. Live for me, if you read this and you understand, then you have the same feelings and yearnings that I do, please, live. don't let what has happened to me happen to you.

I will sign this with the name that I always wanted for myself

Janice Bowman

P.S. If you are reading this and you think that it might help someone, then please by all means post it. But if you think that it wouldn't help anyone then please delete it and chalk it up to the ramblings of someone that made very bad choices.

Thanks
Jan.




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From: Eva
Subject: the hidden life

I happened across the antijen web site and was looking through and came to "The Hidden Life" and it seemed that this is a good place to send this comment. I have been a cross dresser for 35 years and often considered a change in gender, but due to many conflicting and sometimes oppressive situations I had to remain hidden from everyone I knew in some manner or other through the years.

It started at age 12 when I realized what it was that I wanted to be and look like at least some of the time and it was not the boy I was born and was expected to remain until I grew into a man (as they were defined in 1966). But in the last 8 months I have revealed myself publicly as a cross dresser with a bent for integrating the feminine into my everyday life rather than just on occasion dressing up (or going into hiding to do so) it was at this point at age 49 I coined a phrase "Integrate rather than Alternate". So far this seems to be the right path.

What I really want to say is that hiding or avoiding dealing with these needs has been far more damaging to me than the rejection and misunderstanding faced by my brother who publicly announced he was gay in the early 70's. Looking back I would rather have faced that openly with my particular needs, but I was unwilling at the time to be a shame to my family (as I thought it would be then).

I say "needs" because it's more than feeling or desire and it has been a driving force in my life. It is recovering from the damage from years of hiding that is my greatest challenge now rather than seeking resources for studying gender change and integrating the feminine into life - it is like learning to walk again after breaking a leg and the muscles atrophy - I still walk with a limp so to speak.

I have learned that the friends I already have are the ones who would have supported me and it is to my shame that I did not see that before and risk loosing ones who ridicule me about this (and there are a small number that never were real friends and they always were the ones to ridicule no matter what I was doing) I did not need them then and it turns out that I have no real loss now either.

Saying (and sometimes showing photos) to almost everyone in my life except for a few relatives (that would not understand) that "I am this person of mixed gender and after 35 years "it" is not going away" has truly had a cleansing and freeing effect and it has brought great clarity to me about who I am and why I am here now - a very positive encounter with self - if only I had found the encouragement and support 30 years ago that I see on your site and others now.

I have been told by some that I seem so much more relaxed and comfortable with myself now, even ones that were not told about the real me asked what made me change were very surprised that this nurdy socially challenged computer/electronics geek was in reality more female than male.

It remains to be seen where between the poles of gender that I find the real balance for the rest of my life (but it is there and soon to be found - I am assured in my spirit and so much is clear now that I accept myself - I hid from me too), but this I know, it will be neither traditionally male or female. I have spent too much time hiding and loosing out in relationships and the joy of life itself. All I can say is unless it is a life or death issue don't hide!

Although be sensitive and use wisdom and tact - don't ask for trouble needlessly, remember there are some that don't need to know right now. It does not even matter what or why you hide (and even if you must hide an aspect of yourself for a short while do not cut yourself off completely as I did) seek support of friends, peers and of those who may even have pioneered the way and become the person GOD (supply your own wording there if my choice does not fit) intended you to be. Yes, I said that name - please do not take offense, I am not trying nor will not try to conform you to a little boxlike pigeon hole, but I am a Christian - more so now that I'm honest with myself, GOD has made me this way and He's ok with me this way!

There is a balance, there is truly a place of rightness and peace in this creation for you whatever beliefs. It took me 35+ years to learn this about myself, and to learn what tolerance and acceptance really is (I think Wiccans say it well - do no one harm). OK, so I'm a bit slow and have a lot of catching up to do, but I'm still so much better for letting this be known. It is like a fresh Spring breeze blew through my life and refreshed me to the core!

One of these days I'll have everything (well maybe not everything) written down, but not tonight. Feel free to reply e-mail.

I like what I see in your site - keep on doing good!

Thanks for being out there!
Sincerely yours,
Eva/n




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