Proud to be Transgender

“How can you be proud of being Transgender?”

This topic has an entire life story behind it for me personally. And I am sharing parts of it in hopes to help open the eyes of the “confused” and perhaps help end Transphobia in the world today. For anyone not Transgender who may happen to read this, please imagine you are me when reading this. Feel the feelings that I describe and understand the emotions flowing through me. Understand that although this is personal, it is in one way or another common in the Transgender community.
It is so cold outside, perhaps a Friday night in December. I am 7 years old and a happy little boy. It is rare to see me without a smile. My older sister, 21, is getting ready to go out for the night. I think she had a date, but I’m not sure, I just remember the simple but classy black dress and strappy stilettos she had on. She looked so beautiful, and I was extremely jealous. For you see, I have been trying on my sister and mothers clothes since I could remember. 
The women in the family thought it was a cute phase. The men laughed and tried everything to get me to stop. I eventually did, until I was alone that is. I would sneak into my sister’s room and try on anything that closely fit. I remember standing in the mirror one day and wondering to myself, “Why doesn’t everyone see in the mirror what I see in the mirror?” This particular day I was wearing a simple but classy black dress and strappy stilettos. Later that night, out of sheer coincidence, this was the same outfit that my sister had on, although she looked far more beautiful in it. Her makeup was done right, her curves filled in all of the right places, and she looked confident. I was determined to try that outfit on again and prove I could look that good. 
Remember, I am only 7 and even if I was a genetic woman, there still would be no way I would look as good in it. But I still tried. The next day, I saw that simple dress hanging off the edge of her bed. The strappy stilettos were just kicked to the side. With my sister gone for the day and mom down stairs, I went in for the grab. I kicked off my clothes, threw on the dress and heels, grabbed a few socks for padding and ran to the mirror. Something still was missing. I need makeup! I took the brush and dipped it in whatever I could find and began to paint. It must have looked like I did it blind folded, but what I saw in the mirror was such beauty. I began to get really into and perhaps that is where I went wrong. I was so into, I didn’t hear my Dad coming up the stairs.
The door opened and I completely froze. What do I do? What do I say? It didn’t matter, before I could make a peep, he starting yelling. I am 7 years old and have finally felt like the woman I know I am, and my world has just crumbled under me. Painfully tight, he grabbed my arm and throws me into my room. He continues to yell. He tells me how I am not going to embarrass him like this and that I better learn to be a man. I couldn’t do anything but cry. I cried all night long. As I struggle to understand who I really am, I am forced to deny what makes me happy. Is this fair? Can someone who I love really hate me for who I am? I am now more confused than ever before.
The days, weeks and months go by and I refrain from wearing women’s clothes. Although I envy every pretty girl I see and think about it constantly. I know inside this truly isn’t a phase. This is who I truly am. I want my body to match the woman I see in the mirror. I want the world to see what I see. I just wish I had the courage to tell someone, anyone how I feel. But I can’t, and I won’t. To have them react the same way as my Dad would be a nightmare. I guess I will go back to hiding who I am and only letting her out when nobody is around. I did this for years. I was over the top manly when I happened to be around other people, and I wore tight fitting clothes, makeup and heels whenever I was alone. During the day I played sports, dug in the mud, eventually bought a truck and joined the Army. Everything I thought society wanted me to do. Every time I was home, I ripped out of my costume and threw on a cute dress and nylons, did my hair and makeup and just relaxed around the house. I truly learned to live two separate lives. Some knew me as Kaylie, others knew me as Nick. Nobody knew both. 
When I was in my 20’s, I wondered why I was living this lie each and every day? Who am I doing this for? I have moved out and have been long gone from the daily visits to see family. I want to start to transition into the woman I truly am.
I met up with a Gender Therapist and we had some great conversations. She asked a lot of great questions and I learned a lot from my answers. Then she threw a simple question at me, “Are you proud of who you are?” I said yes! Then she threw out another question, “You are in fact, Transgender. Are you proud to be Transgender?” I said, “No.” How can I be proud of who I am, and I realize I am Transgender, and I am not proud to be Transgender? My homework was to go home and figure out if I am “Proud To Be Transgender”.
I can honestly say, “I am Kaylie Love and I Am Proud To Be Transgender!” Why? Here is what I came up with. You give a rich kid a round red ball. You then give a poor kid the same round red ball. The rich kid might play with it for a minute and then want something else. He has always had fun stuff and a ball is boring. A poor kid on the other hand will play with that same ball for days and even weeks. He might even brag to his friends how great that ball is. He has never had better, and is grateful for every second he can enjoy this ball.
My true gender is my “Red Ball”. I have spent most of my life watching others enjoy their “Red Ball” while hiding mine under the bed. Genetic women have had their “Red Ball” their entire lives and some take it for granted. They don’t realize how special it is to be able to enjoy your “Red Ball” on a regular basis.
I have EARNED my gender. I have dealt with depression and fought it and won! Each and every day I wake up and look in the mirror, I smile. I have the strength and power to admit to the world that I am Transgender. I worked hard to be the person I have always seen in the mirror and I am proud of it. I am proud to be Transgender.
I went back to my Therapist and told her that, “Yes I am proud, and these are the many reasons why.” She congratulated me for taking the time to think about the question, but she wanted to hear more. She gave me a link to an article that said, “12 Things You Should Be Able to Say about Yourself”. She reminded me that these”12 Things” are reasons to be proud of yourself, however they can relate to being Transgender in many ways. You just need to take the time and reflect on these reasons. I immediately went home and read this article and I can truly say, “These are the reasons I AM PROUD TO BE TRANSGENDER:”

1. I am following my heart and intuition.
2. I am proud of myself.
3. I am making a difference.
4. I am happy and grateful.
5. I am growing in to the best version of me.
6. I am making my time count.
7. I am honest with myself.
8. I am good to those I care about.
9. I know what unconditional love feels like.
10. I have forgiven those who once hurt me.
11. I take full accountability for my life.
12. I have no regrets.

Lots of Love,
~Kaylie Love

Read more about Kaylie here: Kaylie Love P2BT