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Being Transgender

But Not in Real Life

At the age of 7, I asked my mum to start calling me Craig and got very upset when she refused to. I played house with myself and was always the dad of the family. My brother's clothes doubled up as my own, I only played with the boy Bratz dolls and amidst all of this I really, really, really wanted short hair. The signals were around from a very young age, but I didn't put all of the jigsaw pieces together for a long time.

My first boyfriend came into my life when I was about 15-years-old. He told me he was transgender and, like a lot of people, I had no clue what this meant. So, I googled it. I got a lot of confusing messages from the google results and didn't really know what this meant for my best friend, resulting in me accepting the fact that I would have to admit to him that I had no idea what he was talking about. Luckily, he was fine with this.

He explained everything to me. He told me about how he just felt like a boy and how nothing "female" ever really stuck. He told me about how he hated his birth name and how he wanted to have a flat chest, a deep voice and some facial hair. It took a few months, but suddenly I realised that I did too. My childhood had been very unhappy until this moment when suddenly a lot of things clicked in my head. I am a boy.

My hair, which had initially been relatively long, was finally cut short in July of 2015 and I had never been happier. My mum hated, it but soon realised it wasn't going to change and all of my friends had been expecting it. It was around about this time when I noticed that everybody else already knew what I was so scared to tell them. Nevertheless, that didn't stop me continuing to refuse to tell them. 

Almost every member of my family has previously expressed transphobic opinions (especially directed towards my ex-boyfriend). This made it very clear to me that I could in no possible way tell them about my feelings as long as I was dependent on them. However, I didn't want to keep hiding from everyone, and I had to give myself some sort of opportunity to be the "real me." And so, I made a Tumblr account. 

It's been a wild ride, a lot of name changes, a few more boyfriends, one girlfriend, and multiple themes, but being openly transgender online has been the most freeing experience I could have imagined. But it's also made life outside of the internet a little bit harder.

Once you get accustomed to people using your preferred name and pronouns in one situation, it can create an even more painful sting when people in other situations do not do this. It's also meant that I have to be more careful than the average person when it comes to being online — I have to log out of everything constantly in case someone wants to use my laptop, I have to have security settings ridiculously high just to stop family members finding me on Facebook, and I have to keep selfies buried as much as possible. 

It's very strange being openly transgender and respected for that in one part of your life, but completely closeted and scared to change that in the other. It's like living a double life: one's the truth and the other's a lie and you have to keep them as far away from each other as humanly possible. Nevertheless, people using your correct name and pronouns, even if it's just online, is better than not at all, and at least you can block the haters online. 

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