Being Transgender In A Small Town
Start writing a post

Being Transgender In A Small Town

But the worst part was trying to convince everyone that even through this, I was still me.

Being Transgender In A Small Town
Adrian McKnight

When you think Small town, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps it's that small coffee shop on the corner of 4th street and Main. Maybe it's going to High School with the same group of friends you went to pre-school with. Or maybe you think of the closeness of the community and how everyone steps up to the plate when someone needs help.

From the time I was 5 years old, I lived in a town called Niceville, Florida (sounds kinda.... nice, doesn't it?) Now, it was a relatively small town and I didn't know a whole lot of people there. A few months before my 9th birthday my family moved to the even smaller town of Arab, Alabama. No, that is not a typo. The town's name is really Arab. With a population of about 8,500, Arab is the kind of town you could blink and pass right through it.

Arab has all the quality's that you would expect out of a small town. That coffee shop on the corner, thrift shops and obscure restaurants that you have to take the craziest back roads to get to but were always worth the drive once you actually found them.

Just like most small towns in the south, Arab more churches than you can count. My sister and I joked that there was one or two on every street - which is more accurate than it sounds. Arab was a very religious town, which was partly why my grandparents decided to move here. The town being as religious as it is, you can imagine how it may be frowned upon to be anything but a heterosexual cisgender individual.

I began attending a church in the town during my senior year of high school. I enjoyed going to youth group and helping in the nursery and in the children's ministry weekly.

Now, for a little backstory, I knew I was transgender from a young age. When I was four years old and my school had an outside day, we got to play on the slip and slide. I had been really excited about it.

My best friend at the time, Matt, and I quickly ran up to the slide. I always hung out with him and his group of boy friends. I never really got along with the girls. When Matt and his friends took their shirts off to get on the slide, I did the same. That action was quickly met with with, what can only be described as sheer panic from my teacher.

She quickly made her way over to where I was standing and covered me with a towel. At first I was confused on what was happening but she quickly explained that girls weren't allowed to do that. I remember getting really upset about it and telling her that I was supposed to be born a boy and that my name was Alex. This left her surprised and I ended up having to sit inside the whole day.

I spent the next decade miserable and hating the person i saw in the mirror and I couldn't talk to anyone about it. My body turned into a prison that I did not know how to escape.

Around June of 2018, after years of hiding and telling people i cut my hair because of basic training.. I finally made a post on facebook about me being transgender.

The second leading up to me posting this were the most nerve-wracking of my life. I remember messaging a group chat I had been in with a bunch of other LGBT Guys and Girls I had met on Instagram. I sent them a screenshot and they were all super encouraging and telling me to go for it. So, before I had a chance to overthink it - as I usually do - I hit post and quickly closed out of the app.

A million scenarios ran through my head in the minutes after I posted it. What does this mean for my friendships with the people I had met at church. What were they going to think? Would they hate me because of it. What would my family think? I was beyond scared, but I was lucky enough to have the group of friends in that group chat that supported me and let me panic for what felt like hours before that first comment came in.

"I love you. No matter what."

"It's between you and God. No one fights your battles or prays your prayers but you! You be you and let others worry about themselves. I love you."

"Yes!! Man, I know how hard it is to come out publicly.. You're awesome!"

The comments hadn't been what I had expected but I could slowly feel the fear melt away. The lingering fear that someone would say something negative wasn't gone. The first "Sad" react came from someone I had gone to church with for a few years and I felt my heart drop. It shouldn't have been THAT big of a deal, but it was to me. Then came the messages.

"You're going to hell"

"You were raised better than this. I THOUGHT you were a christian."

"I pray you find what God wants with your life and you turn from this evil path."

The one that stuck out the most to me was one from a boy that I dated when I was 14. He had been my best friend for a while and I hadn't heard from him in months.

"Hey, I don't know if you remember me but I was just scrolling through Facebook and I realized how broken you are. God still has a plan for your life... please don't throw that away (Deadname)."

Like any small town, word traveled so fast. I would have someone come up to me at my job saying "Oh you're ------?" and when I would sigh and say "Yep, but my names actually Adrian." and they would immediately frown and tell me they had heard about me from their: friend, church, pastor, child. They would tell me they're praying for me and then leave. It wasn't long after that I was asked not to come back to the church I had attended since I was 13. The church I had been so involved in for half of my life. Because of my 'Life choices' - as the pastor had put it - I was no longer welcomed at the church anymore. It hurt me more than I could ever even put into words.

Life was completely different by this point. People looked at me differently, talked to me differently. The hardest part was trying to convince everyone that even through this, I was still me. No matter how happy I tried to tell people I had become, no one believed the happiness was genuine and that the only way I would ever truly be happy was through God.

The isolation and loneliness I felt lead to self-harm and to a suicide attempt. It was the darkest moments of my life and I felt like I had no way out of it.

Finally, in 2019, I was comfortable with who I was and the opinions of the people around me didn't bother me as badly, but I couldn't handle living in a small town where everyone knew who I was before. Where everyone knew me as the little girl who worked in the nursery at church. I wasn't that girl anymore. By this point, I had started Testosterone and had married my girlfriend of two years. We had both faced the scrutiny of me coming out as transgender and of our relationship itself.

With the judgement against our relationship coming down hard from not only friends but her family as well, we decided it was time for a change and moved away from the town we had both lived in for the majority of our lives. We moved to another town full of people we didn't know and people who knew nothing about us. The change has been insane, but has been the best thing for us.

After spending years feeling trapped, feeling like I'm not who I'm supposed to be. I finally feel like I'm on my way to, what I can only describe as - freedom.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments