Visible Bodies: Transgender Narratives Retold
BY Advocate.com Editors
August 05 2013 6:00 AM ET
Like so many transgender people, I knew from a very early age that there was something very wrong with me. I began to realize that being born a girl would have suited me better. Growing up in the early '60s, well before the dawn of the Internet and the information age, there were few, if any, options for a young boy who believed he was not supposed to be born that way. So I made the best of it. I joined the Boy Scouts, played baseball, dated girls, got married, and had kids because that was what males were supposed to do. But I felt disenfranchised with myself and I continued to battle conflicts between orientation and identity. I sought psychological counseling and took anti-depressants for 35 years.
I looked in the mirror every day and wondered who that person staring back at me really was until a very dear friend asked me to do something special for her on her birthday. She saw in me what I was looking for — she purchased a dress, bra, panties, a pair of boots, and a wig. Much to my surprise, she asked me to put them on. She didn’t allow me to look at myself in the mirror until she finished putting on my make-up. I was extremely uncomfortable and felt awkward until she allowed me to turn around and face myself. For the first time in my life, I recognized the person in the reflection. I liked what I saw and suddenly realized that I could never be who I was before ever again. I was a woman, and from that day forward, I knew who I truly was. I began the slow and painful process of accepting the challenges and heartbreak that can accompany transition, but doing so has made me feel complete. I am happy.
Ali Renee, age 58
Assigned Sex: male
Gender Identity: transwoman