Growing Up…

a shadow02When I was a young boy, I played sports like the other boys my age. I was pretty good, and even fantasized about playing major league baseball when I became a man.

But that day never came. While the other boys grew stronger and more muscular, I stopped growing, and my body started taking on a more feminine appearance. My voice didn’t deepen like my friends, and instead of growing facial hair, I grew breasts.

In a year’s time, I went from being one of the tallest and strongest to being shorter and weaker than the other boys in my class. And for some reason that I couldn’t quite comprehend, my friends stopped being my friends. I did nothing to them, but yet I became an object of their ridicule. They would sneak up on me and lift my shirt, often in front of the girls in our class. I would get beat up at least once a week, and lived in constant fear and humiliation.

I thought things would be different in high school, but it only got worse. We were required to shower after Physical Ed class, which meant I had to expose my “freakish” body to the others. My genitalia remained small and somewhat boyish, and seeing the more mature boys only added to my sense of inferiority.

I was subjected to constant harassment. They would grope my breasts, and hide my towel so I’d have to run through the locker room naked looking for it. One afternoon after class, four or five of my classmates held me down and put lipstick on me, and then wrote obscenities all over my body.

I felt alienated, and began fantasizing about becoming a woman. But at the same time, I did everything I could to look and act as manly as possible. Then at age seventeen, I finally started developing secondary male traits like facial hair and a deeper voice. It was like going through puberty a second time, and it helped me better conform to my assigned, male gender. Even so, my hidden desires never diminished.

We do not choose our sexuality, our gender identification, or how our bodies develop. Despite what some ignorant people claim, a twelve year old boy doesn’t suddenly decide to grow breasts or seek reassignment. I know that for a fact; I lived it. The only choice I made was to allow people like that to judge and define me, instead of embracing the person I was born to be.