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The happy story of my transgender coming-out

I was born into a loving, suburban, upper-middle class family. My dad worked in the insurance industry and coached Little League while my mom stayed home with my brother, sister and me. We were the envy of the neighborhood. My parents instilled empathy in me, and raised me to be a good son. Their son.

But I refused to confide in them my deep, dark secret: No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t be their son. I couldn’t be a brother, or a boy. That’s just not who I was. From the time I hit puberty, I began to realize that I was a girl. I didn’t have role models for this feeling. I didn’t even have the word for it then: transgender. So I lived in fear that if they ever saw the real me, it would destroy our perfect family. I tried my best to suppress my feelings, hoping they would just go away.

In 11th grade, I played a small part in my high school production of “Much Ado About Nothing.” The other boys in the play would complain about the costumes, saying things like, “Why do I have to wear makeup?” and, “Tights!? I don’t want to wear tights.” I felt obligated to feign a similar disappointment. But in reality, I loved the feel of makeup, and how my eyes looked with eyeliner. It was fun wearing tights and a tunic, and a tunic is more or less a dress. I felt so conflicted, but I thought maybe this femininity would just go away.

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