I'm almost 3 years into my transition, and today is the day I've decided I've had enough. No longer will I place myself in the shadows and apologize to others for being transgender. No longer will I be dimming my light to help you see better. No more excusing hateful comments for "being uneducated" on the topic of transitioning. No more trying to see another's perspective on why they're so against others being transgender. It's about time I start living loud, proud, and unapologetically.

It's 2019, being transgender is not breaking news anymore. We see actors, athletes, and famous celebrities who are all transitioning, this is not some new phenomenon. There is no excuse for hatred anymore, we are just people like you. It shouldn't matter what my body looks like underneath my clothes, you're not the one who has to see it, you're not the one I'm romantically involved with, therefore, you don't get to voice your hateful opinion of it to me. Save it. I used to say "oh they just don't agree because they don't know what being transgender truly means" until I realized that I was just making excuses for someone's terrible and ridiculous behaviors. You also shouldn't voice your negative opinions on topics in which you're uneducated.

Maybe you had a negative encounter or experience with a transgender person before. Sorry about it, but don't throw us all in a box and label us the same. Being transgender has absolutely nothing to do with who I am as a person. I am so much more than a transgender male, but if that's all you can see when you look at me then you're missing out terribly. Not to toot my own horn, but I'm a great person, friend, son, lover, you would be lucky to have me on your side. You want to come at me for being transgender? Go for it, but you're going to look silly up against all the wonderful allies I have on my side.

I spent a great deal of my precious time apologizing and warning those involved in my life that they would be prone to hate because of me, my loved ones are automatically guilty by association. I can't apologize for that anymore, because they knew that was something they'd be signing up for when they decided to be in my corner. I'm not going to apologize because someone else has close-minded views and, quite frankly, shitty morals. 99% of the time, the people who have the most to say are the people I've never spoken to before in my life. Our paths have never, and probably never will, cross. My life in no way, shape, or form, effects yours, so why do you get to have an opinion on it? Who made you so high and mighty that you get to dictate what's right and wrong in the way someone lives their life? Especially when this is the first time in all of my almost 22 years of life that I've felt this wave of natural high, that I've been happy to be alive, that I'm finally able to be myself. What satisfaction do you get out of trying to tear me down for that? I want to sit these people down and ask them what they would do if they had a child that came to the realization that they're transgender. For the child's sake, I pray that never happens. "I'll raise my son to be a son." Newsflash buddy, it had absolutely nothing to do with how I was brought up. Good luck.

For a great majority of my transition, especially when things got rough, I asked myself "why me? Why did I have to be transgender?" Lately "why me" has turned into "why not me?" I was strong enough to play the cards I've been dealt, a hand not many people would be able to. I'm mentally strong enough to face unnecessary discrimination, ridicule, and oppression for whom/what I am every day, I've got thick skin, I can handle it, and others cannot. I'm confident enough in myself to not let another's opinion alter my self-image. I've got my own acceptance and approval, I don't need it from anyone else. So why not me? I used to think I wanted to live stealth, and not let anyone know I was a trans male. I didn't want that to shape the way they thought of me. You know what I realized? Who. Cares. This is who I am, and I am damn proud of that, I've never been happier with myself in my entire life. I need to be visible and live authentically for those who can't.

This doesn't just apply to me and being transgender. Before you come at the way someone is living their life and throwing your negative opinions and views in their face, take a deeper look into yours. Why does it bother you so much? What's really wrong? If something as silly as the genitals I have and the way I portray myself as a male really gets you going that much, I think there are some underlying problems you need to deal with. A person and their body should not anger you to such levels. Life, for each of us individually, is hard enough. Don't go adding onto someone's already overwhelming plate. You can disagree with someone and without being an ass about it.

There is something so beautiful about a certain kind of person, you know, the ones who walk in any room like they own it, exuding confidence, radiating positive energy. Someone so comfortable and confident in their own skin, this is now me. I won't apologize for something I truly don't mean, like being proud of the man I am. Dimming myself now will just house resentment towards others I felt I couldn't be authentic around and towards myself for doing so to begin with. It's time I let myself shine without feeling guilty about it, and without saying sorry.