Who Are You?

Did you watch Lisa Ling’s Our America this week?  Lisa introduced several stories of different transgendered Americans.

There was Landon, born a girl who had always felt like a boy on the inside.  Now a teen, Landon’s mother was supporting him in his choice to start taking testosterone shots.

There was Tanya, who prefers to be called Tan, a body builder born as a female but who had always felt like a male – and definitely looked the part.  His body, built by sweat and hard work at the gym, was all muscle. Tan was anxious to move forward with having “her” breasts removed.

There was Michelle, once a cross dressing man who was happily married with two children, but now completely female.  His wife wanted to keep their family together and still loved him now as a woman so she stuck by Michelle.  Neither consider themselves lesbians, but their marriage is indeed unique.

And there was Hailey, who was originally born Harry, but always identified as a girly girl.  Loves pink, and even said “I’m not a boy” in school to her friends.  Her parents chose to let Harry be Hailey and raise their “son” as a girl if that is what made him happy.  Hailey is only six years old (pictured). Click on the photo to watch her parents on the show and learn about the difficult choice they had to make.

Sure, a six year old can easily cross dress and present themselves as a little girl.  But as Lisa suggested on the show, what happens when Hailey grows up and puberty starts.  Will she choose to do nothing?  Is this just a phase?  Or will she possibly want to continue with hormone treatments or even surgery?  No matter what, her parents were going to be there for her.

What’s important to know here is that these transgendered Americans don’t identify as gay.  Tan went to see his long time girlfriend on the show, hoping to rekindle their relationship.  It’s easy to ridicule these people because we might not understand, or we don’t want to learn about or accept that a person is very different on the inside than who we might be on the outside.

As a gay man, I related to this story because growing up in grade school, I knew I was different from the other kids.  I denied it every time someone called me a “faggot.” I wasn’t secure enough in being who I was.  You might say I was probably too young to know.  I needed to grow and learn before I could define myself.  My sexuality is more socially accepted now that I’m older, but it’s not something I wear on my sleeve.  I don’t have to face someone everyday asking me if I’m gay for the sake of a laugh either.  Grade school and Junior High is tough.  Kids are killing themselves these days because of bullying.  Can’t say there weren’t days back then when I wished I were dead.

My heart and love go out to Hailey.  What a brave little girl!  I could only wish that I had been that happy with myself back then, not worrying about the consequences for just being me.  I can’t change that, or how fucked up my childhood was thanks to the taunts from my peers.  But I can applaud someone like Hailey for being herself, even at six years old.  Might she change her mind when she gets older?  It’s possible.  But right now, today, she’s Hailey.  And she knows who she is.

Who are you?  Who were you back then?  Are you the same person – inside and out? Are you Nobody? Don’t worry. Sometimes I still feel like I’m Nobody too.

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