Toward the end of August of 2016, at the age of 36, I came out to my parents that I have been suffering with gender dysphoria for most of my life. After explaining what this is and what I will need to do to try and quell it, it never really goes away, they embraced me with open arms. They expressed their unconditional love and support for my new journey and their only point of concern was, why had I suffered in silence for so long? Inevitably, tears were shed and our bond that I felt had become incredibly strained and fragile over the years because of my dysphoria is finally healing. I trust that it will become stronger than it has ever been. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have their support, there are so many trans people in this regard who have not been as lucky.
After many years of living with self-loathing, depression and constant hatred towards myself, I am in the process of shedding this poorly executed mould of the “boy/man” disguise that I made. For the longest time, I thought that I was condemned to exist in the world in this prison because I constantly reminded myself that I would be shunned by family and friends, labelled a freak or seen as mentally ill if I did otherwise. Constant encouragement leading to an intervention of sorts from a few close friends, coupled with the gnawing teeth of dysphoria that takes a little bit out of you each day eventually got me to see a psychologist towards the end of last year. This single action opened door after door since then. Each door, from laser hair removal, joining a local support group to starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT) amongst other things, has proven to be a vital step in an ongoing journey whose horizon gets a little brighter with every step. At some point, you realise you are responsible for creating your own happiness and no one is going to do it for you.
I never thought it would be possible to look at a mirror and love the person in the reflection. After starting HRT two days shy of four months ago, gazing into a mirror no longer made me imagine wanting to smash it to pieces and self-mutilate myself with the shards. When I think back to the times I wanted to end it all, I am so grateful today that I did not.
I love my new self and with each day I learn a bit more about her. She is my twin. We share the same taste in music, enjoy the same kinds of books and films and loves the work she does for a living. We eat too much junk food on weekends and then feel guilty about it afterwards. Two things I have learned so far is that she spends a bit too much time online looking at clothes. The new morning bathroom routine also requires way more time than I thought possible. Fighting back hair growth requires its own timetable but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Everything I have lived through has led me to where I am to today and at long last, I can be the person I was meant to be. For the first time in my life, I love being me.
My pronouns are “she” and “her”. My name is Sienna Lee.