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Transgender LGBTQ+ Happy

As a little kid I didn’t feel different from everyone else. Probably because no one treated me any differently than anyone else. I grew up in a strict evangelical home that believes the Bible verbatim and that one should conduct themselves in such a manner that is deemed appropriate representation of the cross. As a kid that didn't mean much. I believed what my parents told me and everything else revolved around play. As a kid everyone accepted everyone and we all played the same games: hide-&-seek, tag, red rover and we all sang in the youth choir at church. Nobody was excluded.


By the third grade though, everyone noticed that I walked differently from the other boys. The adults said I delicately pranced, infuriating my father. They noticed I had a more feminine tone to my voice and more feminine mannerisms than the other boys, something that made my father reject me. I was never athletic, nor did I like rough housing and soiling my clothes. I always liked to keep a neat, presentable appearance as a kid, just as my parents always had. I tried to fit in with the other boys and play their role-playing games. If they let me, I was always the sole bad guy who didn’t get to join in on the fun adventure or they would gang up on me and torment me. Most of the time they would call me sissy and little girl, running me off to play with the girls who were actually accepting of me. There I got to be the dad, the masculine figure, or the boy doll. I really didn’t care. It was just fun to be included. I was never invited to a birthday party unless it was a girl’s party and I had never been to a sleepover.


In the fifth grade all the boys started chasing girls, doing ridiculous things to try and impress them and get their attention. I wasn’t at all into that. I could tell that a girl was pretty, but it was no different than finding a flower pretty. I found myself more attracted to the antics the boy’s put on for the girls. I’d hide it, but I found boys, especially boys who played soccer, attractive.


At home I would strive for my father's attention and try to be as masculine as possible. I’d ask him to play sports, but he would get frustrated and disappointed in me and quit. I would try to help him in the workshop or in the yard and he would tell me to go help my mom. My mom decided one day that my father needed to spend more time with me, and recommended fishing. It was my first time. I was so excited to do this with my dad. It was fun for me, but I hated the feel of the worms, and I was scared of the fish. I just liked hanging out with my dad drinking sodas and feeling the excitement when I caught one. My dad was miserable the whole time and kept telling me to stop being such a pussy about the worms and the fish.


Growing up Baptist, I was taught that homosexuality was wrong and a sin against God, so I tried to hide it, even deny it; but everyone else saw it in me, calling me gay boy and faggot, pushing me around, taking my things, and beating me for no reason. Even the people at church would look at me disgustingly and shrink away like I was covered in vomit. My mother and father switched churches and started leaving me at home when I was twelve. I’d cry on those days knowing that my own parents were ashamed of me. I cried most nights knowing that people rejected me no matter how nice I was or no matter how hard I tried to fit in. I often wished my mom wasn’t allergic to dogs just so I could have someone in my life who didn’t judge me and loved me unconditionally.


High school came and the bullying and harassment got so bad I tried killing myself. I slit my wrists in a tub of hot water. By the time my mother found me the water was cold and filled with blood. My parents had me institutionalized where I was diagnosed with Major Depression, and I was prescribed an anti-depressant. When I got home, my dad said the doctors didn’t know what they were talking about, that I was demon possessed. My mom stepped in and said that was nonsense and she wouldn’t hear any more of it, but I could see it in my father's eyes his disdain for me from that day forward.


Getting back to school I was taken in by a rough group of teens that had noticed my bandages. Several of them had been through suicide attempts in their life and adopted an “I don’t care” attitude. I wasn’t at all like those people, but as long as I hung with them, the bullying stopped. Mostly they were about fighting, stealing, vandalizing, even bullying. I was a little relieved when I moved off to college and cut ties with them.


At college I met people that were more like me. Nice people who spent their free time volunteering at the homeless shelter or the animal rescue center. They had movie nights and book clubs that I enjoyed immensely. I was never excluded and had people in my life for the first time that I could call friends. I even found that male role model I sought for in my father in Professor John Whatley.


Professor Whatley taught family psychology at the University of Chicago. I confided in Professor Whatley a lot, abusing his open-door policy. After a semester of getting to know me, he asked, “Which are you more attracted to Robbie, men or women?"


I didn’t want to answer the question. I didn’t want to lie and say women, but part of me was telling me I needed to say that, like a defense mechanism that had been programmed into my brain.


“This is a safe place, Robbie. Whatever you say here, stays here. I’m bound by law,” Professor Whatley told me.


I shifted forward in my seat, resting on the edge of the chair, staring down at interlaced fingers. All I can think of is that if I say it, then it is true. Then what? How is everyone going to react. My parents suspect and my father already hates me. My mother’s love is questionable. I finally have these friends in my life and now I risk losing them.


“If you’re worried about your Christian heritage, those laws were put in place at a time when people were satisfying their urges with the same sex not because they were gay, but because they were away conducting business or herding sheep away from women. Sometimes it would be the stronger forcing themselves on the weaker, just like it is in today’s prison system. Some went as far as copulating with animals. The laws were written to deter deviancy, but do not speak of homosexual love. Therefore, what is good for the heterosexual is good for the homosexual; keep sexual intercourse within a committed relationship.”


“It’s not just that professor. I think something went wrong in the womb when I was conceived. I think I was supposed to be a girl. I know I have feminine mannerisms and a feminine voice. I prefer more feminine styles and activities. I envy girls who get to put on make-up and look beautiful. I’ve been this way my whole life. When the other kids called me little girl, I agreed with them. It was the one thing they called me that didn’t bother me. If I were a girl, the whole world would be more accepting of me,” I finally found the courage to say.


“Psychologically, it will be better for you to embrace who you are than living in a world of denial. It will be better for you to seek out people who will accept you for who you are and to stop trying to please those people who cannot or will not accept you as you are. I want you to meet with this support group. They are meeting tonight in the library, meeting room A at seven o’clock," Professor Whatley told me.


I was nervous walking into that meeting room. I didn’t know what to expect, but when I saw my friend Matty standing over by the food table, eating cookies and drinking coffee while chatting it up with another guy, I got excited and rushed to him.


“Matty! What are you doing here?”


“Same as you. It’s about time you came out. We’ve all known since you started school here,” he tells me.


“Well, I’m afraid it’s more complicated than that.”


“That might be but wait until you see who the group leader is.”


In walked a man with a tone build and a bushy beard that I instantly recognized as Christopher Martin. He’s Professor Whatley’s TA and he occasionally hangs out with our group after class for coffee. He’s a very handsome man. Very much my type.


“Everyone, take your seats. I see that we have a new face joining us today. Let me introduce Robbie Baxter. He is a psychology major here from Joplin, Missouri. Robbie, I’m going to let you tell everybody about yourself in just a minute, but first, I want to tell you a little about me.”


“That’s silly, Chris. We know each other from classes, and we’ve shared coffee. I think I know you.”


“Did you expect to see me here today?”


“No, I guess not.”


“Then obviously you don’t know me. I was born Christina Madeline Martin, and despite being drenched in pink from an early age I was a lover of all things dirty and rowdy," he began, and my mouth dropped. "From a young age my voice was a little deeper than the other girls and I carried myself like a boy. Boys and girls alike tried to tease me and bully me, but I beat the tar out of both of them. I grew up liking more masculine things, especially dirt bikes. I preferred men’s clothing and haircuts. I was lucky. I had an understanding dad who allowed me to start hormonal therapy at the age of fourteen. Highschool was rough. So rough that my dad pulled me out and homeschooled me. College has been different for me and I’m here to ensure that it is for you too. Any time you need to talk or report abuse or discrimination, come to me and we’ll get things taken care of. Do you have any questions?”


Questions? I wanted to have complete conversations with him, but I figured that could wait until later. I took my turn and gave everyone my story, even told them how I believed something got messed up in the womb and I was supposed to be a girl. I thought they would laugh, but they listened intently. When I was done everyone introduced themselves and told me their stories. I hung on to every word that each person said. I had so much in common with these people. I have never experienced this sense of comradery before. Tears would well up and a lump would form in my throat every time I thought about it. When it was all over everyone came by to exchange numbers and pleasantries. The last was Matty, who said we had a few people we needed to meet. We walked our way down to the campus coffee shop where Angie, Clayton, Leighton, and Rebecca were all waiting.


“Robbie has something he wants to tell you all,” Matty said as we walked over to their table, catching me off guard.


“I’m... I'm a... I'm a woman trapped in a man’s body,” I said with an exhale, just getting it out there, not sure how else to put it.


“No,” they all said, pretending to be surprised in exaggerated fashion. Then they laughed and left their seats to give me a hug. Clayton even treated me to an espresso and a scone. I asked them what they thought of me starting hormonal therapy and getting a consultation on surgery. I had their full support.


Over time, with the money my grandparents had left me, I became the woman I was meant to be. I kept the name Robbie, saying it was short for Roberta. My friends thought it was cute and so did I. After senior year I went home to see my parents. Mom and I emailed on occasion but that was about the extent of our communication during my time at school. Needless to say, they were shocked. I think my dad would have hit me if it wouldn’t have looked like he was hitting a lady to the neighbors. Mom cried, but said I was still her child. Dad said her child will never be welcome in his house. It caused a rift in mom and dad’s marriage that couldn’t be fixed. Mom left dad and moved closer to me, both geographically and emotionally. We have mother daughter days and every year she marches with me and my friends in Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade. Since finding my true self I have gained friends who love me and now have a loving relationship with my mother. Not a day goes by where I regret the decisions I have made.

July 16, 2023 07:58

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3 comments

EKKOH V
02:30 Jan 31, 2024

loved it. :)

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Michelle Oliver
06:36 Jul 23, 2023

A well written story with a great moral. “seek out people who will accept you for who you are and to stop trying to please those people who cannot or will not accept you as you are.” Very empowering. Well done.

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Joan Wright
23:29 Jul 22, 2023

So well done! Glad you showed the timing of the process. And how even the church rejected Robbie.

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