I have a lot in common with many friends who also identify as trans. Over the past few years of knowing a few of my closest friends I’ve learnt a lot about myself and come to accept I’m not female. My identity is a mixture of both male and neutral. From age 10, I was getting confused about using the girls’ toilets but as my family are very uneducated about LGBTQ+ issues, I avoided trying to work out why and put up with my distress until 4 years ago.
In 2010 I came out about my sexuality being not-straight, and thought this was the reason behind my distress. I started karaoke at an LGBTQ+ nightclub a couple of years later, and found singing helped with my vocal dysphoria. The more people liked my singing the less impact vocal dysphoria had on me. In August 2013, whilst on a retreat with some friends, I accidentally went into the empty male toilets, had a giggle about it, and then used a designated non-binary toilet for the rest of the trip. I couldn’t work out why I wasn’t embarrassed about being in the men’s or non-binary toilet.
The first time I went into the men’s toilets by choice felt liberating and right. I was in a welcoming space at the time, hence having the balls to try.
A month later I changed my name for the second time via deed poll and never looked back. Despite one relative trying to talk me out of transitioning, I soldiered on. I started medically transitioning in August 2015 and have been on hormones ever since.
As autism runs in my family and affects some of my relatives along with me, accepting my change from my ‘fake’ gender to my ‘true’ masculine gender is harder for them. They have been calling me either a ‘he’ or ‘Lex’ which is part of my professional name. They also have anxiety over my transition but at least some are really trying to treat me as male. This is still not consistent, but it’s a big improvement from last year.
The best thing in my experience about identifying as trans is choosing your name and in some respects the parts of you that are going to change. My first name is my late grandad’s middle name, and my middle name is my brother’s, which has brought us closer together. The hardest thing is patience: with myself, the system, and others. I have to fight to get the NHS services I need before my trans status is taken into account. I have been at rock bottom and out the other side on numerous occasions, which currently happens a few times a year. On transgender day of remembrance, I like to think of those who felt unable to transition and ended their lives as a result. I was nearly one of them.