Hi there. My name is Kai, and I am a female to male transgender individual. It has been a long and sometimes painful road to get to the place I am today, and though I’m still figuring out who I am, it’s a huge relief to have at least this part of the puzzle solved.
I always knew I was a little different from other girls my age. I always had an underlying sense that perhaps I was not quite like them. It started in third grade, when I was a chubby pre-teen writing terrible attempts at young adult novels on the school computers. I had a crush on a boy in my grade, and was discovering my sexual identity. I was obsessed with Webkinz lip gloss. All stuff you may expect from a young girl. But on the inside, I certainly didn’t feel like a girl. I started having what I like to call the “boy instincts.” The biggest of these ‘instincts’ was that whenever I saw a girl, instead of feeling the need to relate to her, I felt the need to protect her. It was an odd feeling to have at the time, but I frequently felt like an older brother towards my friends rather than an equal to them. I always felt like I needed to have a protective hand on their shoulder, and look out for them. This was the beginning.
Until I was about 16, a sophomore in high school, I had no idea that having more than one gender or even changing your gender identity was something that people did. Looking back on it, I wonder how many people I saw and talked to every day were struggling with something similar to me, and how different my life may be if I had made an effort to try to put into words what I was feeling at the time. In the years leading up to my discovery that changing my gender identity was something I could actually do, I was filled with confusion. I thought for a while that I might be a lesbian, or perhaps bisexual. I dated a girl that I met on Tumblr, and was devastated when we broke up, but it felt more like the loss of a best friend rather than a girlfriend, and I realized that maybe it wasn’t that I was attracted to women, but simply that by dating a woman I wanted to feel like a man. Even in relationships with other men I felt like a man. This revelation scared me at the time. I had no idea what was going on.
Fast-forward to me being 17. Everything started changing. The two most important people in my life – the people who made me the person I am – passed away. I was never so depressed or lost in my life. I started self-harming again, something I hadn’t done in years. I slept for up to 20 hours a day and didn’t leave my house. I dropped out of school. But I also met my current boyfriend, who I can honestly say has changed my life. For safety purposes, for now I’m going to call him Jack.
Jack and I met during my “confused” phase. I was dating one of his girl friends, and he happened to be there when I went on my first group date with her. Upon meeting him, I thought he was nice, and shy, but I didn’t think too much because I was with my girlfriend at the time.
A few months later, Jack and I ran into each other by chance again at the music school we’ve both attended. For years, we’ve been going to that place and never once ran into each other until that one time in November. This time, I was single, and as I got to know him, I realized just how special of a person he was, and soon I found myself wanting to be with him. By that point, I was using they/them pronouns and identifying as genderfluid, although I did not yet go by the name Kai- I was still known by my birth name. Jack and I quickly started dating, and, knowing that he was an open-minded individual, I wasted no time in expressing to him my feelings about my gender identity. He wasted no time in accepting me for who I was.
Six months later and Jack and I are sitting on my bed together as I write this. I am two months away from being 18 and being able to start testosterone. Despite my family and some of my friends being unaccepting of me, I know that there are people like Jack who will accept me no matter what, and who will help me on my journey, and who HAVE helped me get to where I am today- identifying as a gay trans man. This is just the beginning. I hope you’ll stick around.