An Interview With Chloe, A 20-Year-Old Transgender Woman

An Interview With Chloe, A 20-Year-Old Transgender Woman

Recently, I sat down with Chloe and asked her some questions about her experiences.
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I had the chance of sitting down and asking questions to a good friend of mine.

Chloe, 20, has taken the time to sit down and answer some questions about her time as a transgender woman. All questions and answers are taken direct from conversation and have not been altered. Chloe asked me to include this comment from her in the beginning of the article:

I just want it on the record that I'm very privileged to be in the situation that I am given the general acceptance of the average stranger in my area as well as the overwhelming support of friends and family that I have received.


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Chloe and I am from Massachusetts.

Since transitioning, how are your relationships with your friends and loved ones?

They're basically the same, fortunately. If anything a little easier because I'm not hiding anything from them.

What have you found to be the biggest obstacle you have faced since you have come out?

Self confidence issues at the start was probably the biggest thing. I was super uncomfortable presenting myself as female, to the point of not going out in order to avoid people. At this point I'm comfortable to a point that I couldn't care less how random people see me.

If you could have everyone in a room who is fighting against the LGBTQ+ community, what would you say to them?

I'm just a person. I don't really have anything to say.

Have you ever faced discrimination?

Fortunately enough, very infrequently. The most common thing that I have had happen is just people getting pronouns wrong at work or in other public situations. There was one time that I was in Boston getting food with a bunch of friends. I was talking about makeup with one of them while we were walking to the train station, I guess kind of loud. It was either the volume or the way I was presenting myself that a man passing by decided to inform me that, "you know you're a man, right?". It made me feel uncomfortable and unsafe. I was mostly worrying about getting out of the situation and away from him. I felt a safety in numbers, but none of them heard it so I didn't get to talk it through with them for support.

How has your life changed since your transition?

It hasn't much. I'm on more drugs *chuckles* and it takes me a lot longer to get ready to do anything. There have been some small things that I have noticed about the way people treat different genders. When I was a guy, and I'll just say it: I have monster eyebrows, people frequently offered to pluck them for me. Since transitioning, no one has offered and I would really appreciate if they did. I hate doing my eyebrows, it hurts. People are a lot friendlier in the women's bathroom. In the men's room it was taboo to even look in the general direction of another human, whereas the women's room tends to be more compliment-y. People are nicer in general. I don't know if it's a female thing or a "ooo I need to be nice to the trans person", but the vast majority of people in my area are accepting and way nicer.

What is a common misconception about transgender people?

That it's a new thing. I'm not really familiar with the misconceptions but I guess that's kind of something. It's just become more accepted in the past, however many years, but it's been a thing for much longer.

Do you have any advice to give to those who are struggling with their gender identity?

Seeing a therapist is important. It helps things get straightened out for you. I didn't know what I was before I saw one, but they helped me through figuring it out. It wasn't my thing, but try and find a support group or some other community, whether it be in person or online. It helps to know that there are other people out there. Also, Just do you.

Do you have any advice to friends and family members who are looking to give support to a loved one who has just come out?

Don't question who they are. If they are genuinely coming out to you, they have been thinking about this for the past however long and questioning or denying them that is a dick move. Work on getting pronouns right and not dead-naming (calling them by their birth name if they have picked a new one).

What are your plans for the future?

I'm hoping to graduate college, get a job, travel, and just live life.

Cover Image Credit: Bustle

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A Letter To The Tomboy I Used To Be

To that girl with the baseball hat, board shorts, and grass stains, thank you.
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To the tomboy I used to be,

Thank you so much for making me the strong, beautiful, determined, and badass girl I am today. I am proud of who you've become. It is because of you that I can stand on my own two feet. It is because of you that I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

You were never easy to deal with. Mom and Dad had a lot to handle growing up. It was Dad who had to fight for you to be able to play boys' baseball. It was Mom who had to stand up to the boys that were mean to you for playing a boys' sport. It was both of them who had to cart you around to all of your games and practices, because playing one sport a season was just not enough. It was Mom who had to wash your clothes endless times, because the grass and dirt stains would never come out the first time. Don't ever forget who helped you become who you are.

Your attitude and thought process is very different from that of most girls. You grew up dealing with your problems through wrestling or fighting. Pettiness was not something you could deal with. Your anger came from losing a game, not drama with girls. You didn't understand why girls fought, or were so mean to each other, and to this day, you still don't understand it. You are different. You aren't like most girls by any means, which can be difficult for you, even now. You are so much tougher. You think differently. You are determined.

I love who you turned into. You are so strong; you handle everything with such passion and grit, that I can't help but thank you. Thank you for pushing yourself, and for not letting anything or anyone get in your way. The boys were mean sometimes, and the girls talked about you, but that never fazed you. That chip on your shoulder only made you strive even harder for greatness.

Thank you for making me unique. Thank you for making me extraordinary. Thank you for making me, me.


Love,

Amy

Cover Image Credit: tumblr

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To Anyone Who Thinks I 'Chose' To Be Transgender, It Wasn't My Choice

One of the most frustrating things I've encountered on my journey of transitioning is the mindset from some individuals that I chose this life, I chose to be transgender.

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One of the most frustrating things I've encountered on my journey of transitioning is the mindset from some individuals that I chose this life, I chose to be transgender. I cannot tell you how wrong that statement is, the people that preach we chose to be transgender could not be farther from the truth.

Being transgender, with no question or hesitation, is the single hardest thing I've ever endured throughout my life. The obstacles and struggles, both internal and external, that come along with it far too often make living my everyday life feel like hell on Earth. Don't get me wrong, my journey has been extremely rewarding and so far beyond worth it, but it brings pain and demons that I wouldn't wish upon my worth enemy.

Why would I choose to live a life with body dysmorphia that can sometimes be so crippling it makes me physically ill just looking in the mirror or catching a glimpse of my reflection? Why would I choose to feel like a stranger in my own body, the one place I should be able to find peace and solitude?

Why would I choose to be something that puts a negative preconceived idea in the mind of strangers? It's not that I'm ashamed to be transgender, I take so much pride in it, but when people learn I'm transgender I feel as if I'm no longer seen as a "real" person. In society, being transgender is often followed with negative connotations such as the whole "bathroom sexual assaults" issue, why would I choose to be something that inevitably ties me to that? I completely freak out whenever I have to get bloodwork done. You would have better luck wrestling an angry bear into a tutu than getting me, a 21-year-old, to sit and be calm while I get any type of shot or bloodwork done.

So why on earth would I ever choose to be transgender, knowing I have to give myself a shot of testosterone once a week for the rest of my life? Why would I voluntarily pay 8 thousand dollars out of my own pocket for a surgery that would connect my troubled mind to my body? Do you know how many tattoos I could get with 8 grand? I'm sure they would be much more beautiful on my body than the elongated scars that span across my chest making me look like I got tore open by a lion. Why would I choose to be known and mocked for being the "guy without a penis"?

How embarrassing and belittling. Why would I ever choose to be ostracized and isolated by friends and even family who didn't agree with the life I was starting to take control of? Why would I choose to be harassed, threatened, and even physically shoved around for just existing? I can't tell you how many times I've received death threats for being the "tranny freak mistake" or "excuse for a human being."

I can't tell you the number of times I've been confronted and threatened to get beat up just for using a men's restroom or locker room. Above all, why would I ever choose a life that also makes those closest to me prone to harassment? There is no pain worse than knowing the people I love the most also face ignorance and negativity in regards to my life. My poor mom having to be known as the only mother in our small town with a freak for a child, my best friends for being associated with me, and my girlfriend for being the girl choosing to date a "less than" or a fake man. Why on Earth would I ever choose to live a life that entails that? Life is so damn hard enough without all of this piled on top.

I was born this way, just like you were born with the color eyes you have. I did not choose to be transgender, the decision I made was what to do about it. I physically and mentally couldn't fight it anymore. I spent 19 years forcing myself to try to be what the world saw me on the outside as and what the world told me I had to be until I literally could not take it anymore. Those years were dark and torturous.

Those years were filled with anxiety, depression, isolation, shame, and self-loathing because all along I had known the world was wrong but I forced myself into its ideal mold anyway. I was lucky enough to be one of the transgender individuals that survive those years, not all of us do. The pain that comes along with being transgender can be so overwhelming and unbearable that we try to end the pain by turning our own lights off.

The only "choice" about being transgender is what to do about it. I chose to put myself first for the first time in my life, ignoring what the rest of the world thought I should be. I risked the discrimination, the violence, the social rejection, so I could stay true to myself and finally get to live my life as my authentic self. I chose to start my medical transition in hopes to finally align my mind to my body. As much as I dread and fear needles, hormone replacement therapy was the best thing to ever happen to me, mind, body, and soul. I chose to have my top surgery to literally carve relief from body dysphoria and as much as I complain about having to pay for that myself, I would've spent any amount of money for the feeling of freedom it gives me every single day.

All these risks I took for the potential of a better future far outweighs the torment of living and dealing with body dysphoria, a daily battle that drained me completely and left me with the scariest mindset I've ever struggled through. Starting my transition was the scariest plunge I've ever taken, but what's even scarier is the thought of having to live my life as someone I wasn't. Had I not transitioned, I don't think I could've made it, I wasn't strong enough to go on, and transitioning gave me that strength. Being transgender is just what I am, my only choice was how to tackle it.

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