We become the stories that we learn about ourselves, the stories that we repeat in our lives and in background loops playing in our heads. On my journey, I adopted some terrible and wonderful stories about who I am. Since I was old enough to notice, people warned me about not burning the candle from both ends. I didn’t listen. I know the sound of bullets passing by my head. I’ve held the injured and sat with the dying. I’ve witnessed beauty too powerful for words. I found true love. Together, we discovered what safety feels like. Often, we laugh until our bellies hurt, until we force ourselves to stop, so we can breathe again. Sometimes, one of us cries, but our tears are never alone.
LGBTQI children are much more likely to experience multiple forms of abuse than hetero, gender conforming children are. I did. Much of the shame of being transgender came from the mistaken belief that the abuse caused me to be who I am. It doesn’t, but that wasn’t known until 2005. Today, we know that people are transgender for biological reasons.