Ever since I was 5, I knew I was a girl but I didn’t know that a word existed for me until I was 10.
It was a boring Saturday afternoon. I walked into the family room where the TV was turned onto a talent show. My mom and dad were sitting on the couch, reading the newspaper. I sat down on the ground in front of them and started watching a woman sing. She had a beautiful, deep voice and sang as if no one else was watching. But as I looked more closely, I noticed her broad shoulders, her dark haired arms, and her bobbing Adam’s apple. She was a man.
I stared in awe at her confident presence on stage and her revealing glittery clothes. She was everything I wanted to be.
She finished singing as the audience applauded. My dad looked up at the sudden noise.
“How long have you officially been transgender?” the judge inquired.
“Oh, for as long as I can remember,” she blushed, “but I only started publically being a girl when I was 20 and started taking estrogen.”
“What the—” he exclaimed, “It’s a man!” He jumped to his feet and turned off the TV with the remote. “That’s disgusting! Why would someone go out in public acting and dressing like that? He’s a man! It’s sick, perverted! Fucking transvestite.”
My mom turned to him. “Watch your mouth, Harold! And the proper word is transgendered.”
“I don’t care,” he replied, “He needs to get his head checked.” He left the room in an angry wave.
She, I thought.
I calmly rose off the floor and once I was out of sight, ran upstairs to the bathroom and heaved into the toilet.
* * * *
I’m sure that being a girl is hard, but it’s even harder looking like a boy when you know you’re a girl.
For as long as I can remember, tears would flow down my face and land on my wet pillow every night while I thought about myself trapped in this horrible body. My heart ached and throbbed because even though the world was more accepting, people still discriminated against others like me. In a world where people tried to make things fair, there were still gender roles and stereotypes. Everyone else can be themselves. Why can’t I?
My life has revolved around stepping too cautiously, like avoiding tiny pieces of broken glasses on a white floor. Every time I heard my dad making bias or rude comments about certain people or groups, I immediately left the room, hoping I could keep my tongue from spitting out my bitter secret. The only time I could be myself was when I was with Lily.
Lily was the only one who understood what it was like to be me because she was transgendered too. We met online and then realized that we lived in the same city. We became best friends even though she’s 2 years older than me. She was the one who convinced me to order estrogen with my mom’s emergency credit card when I was 12 so I could start taking them once I was ready. I was ready as soon as the pills arrived.
But then I moved and left her behind.
Before I left though, I started feeling differently. Instead of feeling sad, I began to feel angry. Who cares if I’m transgendered? Everyone has different hair colours and society accepts that, so who’s to say that only the outside of me can reflect who I am? Everyone says that it’s what inside that counts and inside, I am a girl. It’s my life, so others shouldn’t care.
That was why I decided to transition. It would be a new town, a new family, a new school, a new identity. There wouldn’t be a Will Whitmore ever again. Just Jade.