My name is Kate and I am 22 year old transwoman. I have known that I should be a girl for most of my life, I have a lot of memories from when I was young that were all about wishing that I was a girl. Perhaps the clearest of these memories was from New Year’s Eve, 1999. I remember going to bed wishing that I would wake up the next morning as a girl. I had thought the changing of one millennium to the next would be the best time to try and get my wish granted. It is truly unfortunate that I didn’t share this wish with anyone, it just might have been granted. Not telling people what I am thinking has been a constant theme in my life and it has caused me a lot hardships.
I had frequent dreams and fantasies involving turning into a girl throughout my teen years. There were also plenty of times during my day to day life that I simply imagined myself as a girl. These thoughts always seemed natural to me, like something that everyone would have. I never thought that there was anything abnormal about what I was experiencing because I was never told so. Once again my problems communicating with other people have prevented me from getting the help that I needed.
I have struggled with anxiety and depression for my entire life. I first started receiving counseling for these issues in grade school, but nothing made any real difference. After being forced into a number of social situations I did make some friends, but I never had any real desire to maintain these friendships on my end. If my friends were to stop interacting with me I wouldn’t have done anything to try and maintain those friendships. When I moved to Alberta for the beginning of high school I lost contact with the group of friends that I had and I haven’t made any new friends since. During high school I did have some people that I was friendly with, and I guess that was enough for my parents to think that I was “cured” of my issues.
I now realize that many of the social issues I face may be rooted in my Gender Dysphoria. I never really participated in many social activities while I was young. I had fun for a while playing Hockey and Soccer at the insistence of my parents, but playing sports never really captivated me the same way it seemed to captivate other young males. I ended up quitting the sports teams that I was on when they stopped being fun for me.
To tell the truth, I’ve never really enjoyed any “male” activities. I would often find myself retreating to books, TV shows, and video games while the guys my age were out talking about cars, girls, or whatever else it is that guys talk about. Some of the TV shows that I would watch were the Men versus Women kind of shows on the Discovery Channel, the ones that dealt with the different ways that men and women think. I always found that I tended to think more like the women on those shows than the men.
I never really got to experience any traditionally “female” activities due to the social barriers involved. I have experienced constant bullying and harassment throughout my life, the last thing that I wanted to do was add to that. As a result I repressed and rebelled against my feminine side in order to try and be “more of a man”, but that never worked. The only thing that happened is that my anxiety and depression worsened.
My lack of social skills as well as my mental health issues caught up to me in university. I found myself unable to operate in the university environment and as a result I failed numerous classes. I ended up having to take one and a half years off before starting again at the 2nd year level.
It was during this time that I stumbled across some information online regarding transgender people. What I found immediately clicked with me, things started to make sense. I had a problem though, I didn’t want what I was reading to make sense. I thought that there had to be a mistake because I didn’t want to be trans. I started looking for an excuse, any excuse at all, as to why I couldn’t be trans. Everything I found only reaffirmed the conclusion that I was trans. At the age of 20 I finally admitted to myself that I was undoubtedly transgender.
I now knew that I wanted to transition from male to female. After a lot of research I came up with a plan that would allow me to transition at a comfortable rate while still giving me plenty of time to change my mind “just in case”. I decided to wait a year while working on things like my voice, getting in shape, and removing my facial hair. After that year I would start with professional counselling before moving onto HRT and a gradual social transition.
This original timeline put me on track to start HRT during my first semester back at University. I was hoping to start the process of transitioning in time for my 22nd birthday in December. Unfortunately things rarely go as planned in my life. Due to the pressures of my academic career I didn’t start to seek counselling until my second term back. I ended up in months of visits to various doctors and therapists and it wasn’t until the beginning of April that I was put onto a waiting list to see a specialist in Ottawa. It was two and a half months later, on June 27, 2013, that I was finally able to get a prescription for Estrace and Spironolactone.
The day that I started HRT was easily the happiest day of my life. I was grinning like an idiot during the one and a half hour bus ride to the pharmacy near my house. When I was finally handed my prescription I had to resist the urge to start popping my pills on the spot. It was another half hour before I finished walking home. I knew immediately after taking my first dosage that this was the correct path, this was the start of my life.