Living outside of Utah and the larger pool of LGBTQ Mormons can sometimes be difficult. Thankfully I am able to find resources like Latter Gay Stories, Affirmation, and other groups to help me find my community of allies and friends. One aspect that I do not see much focus on is addressing the trans community. I guess I am partially to blame for that, I don’t share my story often enough, and with a smaller percentage (LGB vs. T) in the community, I suppose each of our stories must be shared to make a splash.
I will admit, my story is not one of flowers and butterflies, at least not completely. It was late 2011, and I was feeling a lot of pressure from my family to serve a mission. I had just graduated from high school the year before and my parents were constantly asking me if it was mission, school or marriage. None felt like desirable options for varying reasons.
Secretly, I had been trying to navigate my gender nuances for the past few years. At home I would try crossdressing and trying to grow out my hair (and time after time being pressured by mom and dad to have it cut more conservatively). Growing up it took many years of trying to understand my body that led me to this point. I remember one time while crossdressing that I had to run into the garage to hide behind a bunch of boxes because I stomped through the house with my sister’s high heels on and it woke my mom up. Just like Cinderella racing home from the royal ball, I dashed into secrecy when I heard her come down the hall.
Crossdressing and allowing a few physical changes with my body were some of the small risks I took to get a taste of being female. I would usually only practice late at night, alone, and for a short periods of time. Often, in my head, I would be dressing up for a date, or to meet a secret admirer, someone who was there to sweep me off my feet. Sadly, the daydreams would end and I would wake up the next morning, still a boy, and it would all be just a fantasy again. I was Cinderella who had to return to cleaning and cooking.
A few months after my 18th birthday (so I didn’t need my parent’s consent) I made an appointment to see a doctor about hormone blockers or other medical options to help me better manage the body I was given. The doctor was really helpful with information and options that would allow my body to slowly transition from male to female. In fact the treatments worked so well my that parents and family started noticing the changes. I didn’t expect them to happen so quickly and I wasn’t sure what I needed to do to tell them. But I knew at some point soon I had to tell them. If I was going to continue feeling this happy and fulfilled, they needed to know why –because there was no turning back for me.
It was spring 2013, and I had just driven a trans friend home after a night out. We had met earlier that night at friend’s party and she needed a ride home. We discussed her journey transitioning and I quickly learned how hard her life was transitioning as an older woman. I had to get the weight off my chest; I needed to tell my parents.
Without much thought I drove to my mom and dad’s house that next morning. My parents were cleaning up breakfast and I walked in, fully presenting as a woman. I didn’t really need to tell them anything; they looked at me and immediately understood what was going on in the last year or so of my life. I told them the story of the woman from the night before and let them know that I am trans.
Six years later, I am fully female. And guess what? My mom and dad have been there since my coming out. They have been really supportive and willing to listen to me. They don’t like talking about it with other family members or church members. I don’t think they are ashamed of me, but they are saddened by the reactions of other people. We have found that some of the “best” Mormons are the worst at inclusion. This dynamic has caused my parents to isolate themselves from many members of their ward and it’s obviously caused many of the church leaders to turn away from them.
If there is a silver lining, it’s that my bishop stopped hounding me about serving a mission! Haha
Today, I am Cinderella, still waiting for my Prince Charming. This time I am not hiding from him in pauper’s clothing, but dressed for the ball. I am happy. I did the right thing.
We want to hear your story–here’s how to share it with us!
Each Sunday we feature a new Coming Out Story on the Latter Gay Stories blog. Coming out is an important process that is different for everyone; some experiences are difficult; while others are heart-warming and inspiring. Coming out is rarely easy–but your story will help others draw inspiration from your own experience. We rely on weekly submissions to keep the Coming Out Stories alive and invite you to share your story now.