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OUtspoken: Elliot

OUtspoken: Elliot


Amid the issues facing other college seniors, I am also tackling the challenges of being transgender. I entered college as a naive girl from Kansas, confused about my major among other things. Within the first few weeks of my freshman year, I came out as queer.

Before too long I was wearing boys' clothes exclusively, getting tattoos, dyeing my hair blue, and becoming a proud member of Ohio University's swarm of dykes--and wondering how I avoided thinking about gender for so long. By sophomore year, I was considering transitioning to a man. I imagined it would be a relatively quick process; I would begin hormone therapy at the start of summer and magically come back the next school year as someone else.

I had forgotten to include the intimidating prospect of coming out as transgender. I spent another year weighing which would be more painful--living as a woman for the rest of my life or coming out to everyone I knew. I wondered why I could not just be happy as an androgynous woman, why I couldn't accept my body the way it was. As more time passed, I found myself cringing each time I was called "miss" or a "lady." Being referred to with female pronouns began to sting more each time.

I began taking testosterone last June and started my senior year with my new name and gender. I feel lucky to have come out as trans at a supportive university. I attended Transitions, a university-sponsored trans support group, and this year served as the first trans-identified male cochair of my university's LGBTIQQA student group, Open Doors.

Now that I'm applying to graduate programs, I am facing new complications: bitterly checking the "F" box on applications, answering calls from confused admissions officers, grumbling at the paperwork for "Ms. Long." Instead of looking for a school only from academic and financial standpoints, there now are other factors, such as if there are trans-friendly doctors in the area.

I did not manage a magical transformation overnight, but I am slowly reaching a point where I am happy with myself.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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