TF had a really close family, with only one older sister. He didn’t know anything about being trans until he was older, so he always felt out of place.
“Something didn’t seem right,” TF said. Through his childhood he said he ended up following a lot of what his sister did.
“I just had this feeling of, ‘I should have been a boy.’
“I grew up and did all the [girly] things to make things easy on my relatives. I never wanted to make waves with my family so I just kept quiet.”
One time when he was young and his family were shopping in Florida, TF – sporting short hair, jeans and a jean jacket – ended up behind the counter looking for something. An employee found him back there and said, “sonny, you’re not supposed to be back there.”
That was it. That felt right.
“That’s supposed to be who I am.”
Though he didn’t realize it at the time, as he grew older he was able to make those connections and put an identity to it.
“I never told my mom or dad that though because I grew up in a Catholic family. That’s not going to be really fulfilling because I know if I told her she’d want to take me to counseling to try and fix me.”
So what TF did was just follow his sister’s path. “If I followed [her] everything would turn out OK,” he said.
He didn’t start questioning his identity until after he had gotten married.
“The funny thing was that the guy I married was gay and I knew that from the beginning. But we weren’t really good as a marriage. As friends we were fine but I was still trying to figure it out. At the time I thought maybe I was a lesbian.
“But I finally came across someone who told me I might want to talk to some gender therapists, and that’s when it opened up for me. It was amazing how other people’s stories are similar to mine in different aspects. Now I felt like I wasn’t weird [anymore].”
And in order to transition, TF had to have a certain number of visits with a gender therapist. While he was seeing them and a different counselor for other things, the gender therapist decided to put TF on the fast track.
Eventually, he started telling people he was comfortable with that he’d like to be referred to as TF.
“It’s amazing how some people will be fine with it and others not so much. I found that out real fast. That’s when you find out who your real friends are.”
When TF was on the phone with his mom about to come out, he hadn’t told her he was on testosterone yet. Before he did mention it though, she told him he sounded a bit stuffy as if he had a cold.
“And I finally told her. She went, ‘so I guess you don’t want that pink sweater.’ But she eventually said she didn’t want to talk to me because it tore her apart. She didn’t want to hear my voice.”
But after a 10 year absence from his family, TF said she does talk to him now and things are “relatively fine.”
And for those who aren’t in a safe space or aren’t ready to come out yet, TF said to choose friends wisely.
“Your friends are probably the best thing to get you through everything.”