A 2016 poll found that there are between 0.5 to 0.6% people who are transgender in the US.
This would put the total number of transgender Americans at approximately 1.4 million adults.
This is their journey:
I’m R and I’m transgender. I’m also the youngest kid in my family. I’m quiet, and my older sibling, L, is not. We are both a lot alike and very different.
Growing up. I didn’t have a name for how I felt; I just knew I was really unhappy the older I got. I hated the changes puberty was causing. I wanted it to stop. I’m quiet. I didn’t say anything. I doubled down on skirts, on leggings, on purses, whatever I could do to be more girly. My mom loved it, so I kept doing it, but I grew more unhappy. I lied about my favorite anime characters, saying I liked girl characters when I was drawn to male characters.
And then, a couple years into this struggle, when I finally had a name for who I was – transgender, my brother L came out to my parents as being transgender and I felt screwed over. I figured that if I said something now, my parents would think I was copying my brother. So, I dressed even girlier while I grew more depressed.
L was immediately accepted. His entire wardrobe of girl’s clothes went to me or got tossed. He got boys underwear, boys jeans, everything a geeky little guy could ask for. I still hammed it up, letting my mom put makeup on me, do my hair, whatever I could do to embrace being female.
It was awful, but I did it anyway, lasting a year and a half into L’s social transition before my mom helped break through my barrier. She guessed that I was trans, but unlike L’s instant transition, my mom wanted made me to wait an agonizing six months to come out, even though I, too, got a new wardrobe and haircuts that grew increasingly shorter I came out to my extended family as gay first. It wasn’t quite right, the gay label as a girl, but it let me be out, partially, at least.
Trying to figure out who I was and my sexuality at the same time was torture. I told myself that I must like girls in that way, but I didn’t. I want someone to partner with, but I was also figuring out that I was asexual. The asexual part was the easiest. I really needed an easy thing at that point.
I tore myself up over being trans, being gay. I felt so alone.
I was more depressed than ever. I still got called by my girl name and it made me sick each time I heard it or saw it. My mom saw the despair, and four months after coming out to her, I took my new name and came out to my whole family and friends.
My brother and I never said a word to each other during the years we were suffering and trying to figure out what was wrong. We share a room, and both of us are blown away that each night for years we lay in our beds and agonized silently.
If one of us would have taken the leap and shared, we could have suffered less.
We knew our parents were LGBT allies and supported one of my mom’s students who was transgender.
We were scared. Scared to say the words aloud to ourselves.
To each other.
To our parents.
To the world.
We saw the agony that my mom’s student was in, that moving hours away to an LGBT friendly place was the only way to live openly.
That’s why trans visibility is so important. Acceptance is essential.
My brother L and I are transgender.
We are at peace with that knowledge because we are accepted for who we are.
We are supported.
We will, in the future, medically transition.
We are the lucky ones.