I knew I was different from other kids when I was 6 but at that age I couldn't verbalize how I was different. I was bullied and called names like 'sissy' or 'faggot' even though I didn't know what they were I could feel the disgust and anger in their words and I knew it had to be a bad thing. I tried so hard to fit in and no matter how hard I tried, I never really fit in. I always felt alone. I never 'went steady' as a teenager and it wasn't for lack of trying. I asked and asked but the girls never wanted to 'ruin our frienship.' I got my first girlfriend when i was 21 and lost my virginity the same year. All along I tried to fit in, playing sports I had no interest in and trying to be as male as I could including playing football for a long time. I appeared to be the life of the party, but I always went home alone and felt out of place in my own body almost every second of every day. I looked at babies and dreamed of carrying one inside my body, I looked at wedding dresses and dreamed of being the one wearing it, I dreamed of being a mom, and being homecoming queen. I never got to do any of those but I'm finally in a position to have the procedure so that my outside can match the inside.
I am having a labiaplasty and breast augmentation at the end of December of this year. I completed my Standards of Care decreed 1 year of living full time as a woman 8 years ago and I have been ready and looking forward to this moment for 9 years. I have finally gotten insurance to pay for all but $7500 of the surgery. I've already paid $5000 to the surgeon through my meager savings and pawning my previously paid off car. I'm looking for some help in getting the rest of the way to my long term dream. One of my biggest weaknesses is on display here ...procrastination. On the other hand I did want to wait to know exactly how much I needed. If I get enough help, my wife will get to come help me get home. As it stands now I'll be solo in Phoenix which is one of the few big cities where I don't know anyone.
I've never asked for money before. I was raised to be very independent and stoic. I had my first job when I was 13 and have worked ever since. I bought my first car with no help from anyone. I paid my own way through college. In fact my parents set foot on campus only once, and that was the day I graduated. I found my own jobs and worked my way up the corporate ladder.
In 2008 I was outed and fired from my middle management job because I was a Transwoman. (before I transitioned publically) I lost my job in the middle of one the worst times to be unemployed since the great depression. I couldn't find a job paying any where near what I was making when I was fired and in short order, I had used up my savings paying my mortgage, child support, and the other bills from anyone's life. Shortly after my house was foreclosed on, my car reposessed, and I had even pawned my class rings from high school and college to stay housed and fed.
A year ago I finally found a job paying about what I was making in 2008. I filed and paid my taxes last year as I always do but that apparently lead creditors back to my door and they used the judgements from 2009 to garnish my wages to the extent that I was still taking home the same pittance I was making at my previous job preventing me from saving anything for the past year.
Despite all the bad things happening to me, there were also a lot of good things going on as well. I joined a Transgender support and quickly became one of the leaders of the community. I created a Facebook support group to mirror our local group to expand the coverage and support of my brothers and sisters. I ran a Karaoke group for years that met every other Thursday, and was open to everyone but particularly to those that weren't mainstream including those that are LGBT. I started going to conventions to present on Trans issues, particularly Trans relationships, I volunteered at Lost N Found and Riverkeepers and at DragonCon. I sang in church choirs and marched repeatedly in Pride Parades. I've lobbied local and state politicans, and worked hard to improve not only my own life but the life of all my LGBT sisters and brothers. I didn't let being poor stop me from making progress. I shared my story far and wide and lived my life openly as a Trans Woman so that i could be a bright shining example that even a 6'4" woman is no barrier to success at transition or happiness. The finish line is in sight but I need your help.
My sister and I when I was 5.
My best friend and I when I was a senior.
As I got older I came to understand more and more what that difference was. That the way I was inside did not match my outside appearance. I was in denial for years and I was almost 40 by the time I finally admitted I was a Trans Woman.
This is me right after I started hormones at 40.
The day I got my name officially changed.
My friend Regina and I at StoryCorp right after I shared my story.
December 2013 graduating not only as the first openly Trans student at Shorter University, but the representative of my class. #winningheartsandminds
I'm a volunteer with Lost N Found Youth, a group dedicated to helping and housing LGBT youth who have been kicked out of their homes. #livingmyvalues
I live my beliefs and I'm a leader in the LGBT community. I traveled to Washington DC on a bus 13 hours to participate in the Woman's March. Then rode the 13 hours back home and even defied HB2 by going to the female restroom in North Carolina. #livingmyvalues
I regularly go to conventions including Southern Comfort Conference to present on Trans issues. #livingmybeliefs
Marching for suicide awareness with my team.
Getting married in May thanks to Oberkfell.
Marching at the head of the Atlanta Pride Parade with Dykes on Bikes.
Participating in the NO H8 campaign.
- Sam Needleman
- Amanda Whitcomb
- Jonah Wical
- Stormy Clements
- Tressa Cherry