July 25, 2011

Heath

Heath, age 5
Frankfort, KY (1996)

This photo was shot a few days after I decided to butcher and cut my hair myself, because I was tired of having long blonde curls. I was always running around shirtless, fists flaring in the air, as I fought off the invisible army of bad guys with my invisible fleet of Power Ranger team mates. But running around shirtless isn't what girls did. Only boys did that, and it was very un-ladylike.

And since back then I was known as a girl named Heather, I remember being shouted at to get off my bike and put a shirt on.

And I remember laying in bed praying to God, asking him to make me a boy, so that I could run around shirtless, roll in the mud, spit, and not have to cross my legs.

God didn't turn me into a boy even though I felt so strongly that on the inside I indeed was a boy. When I found out there were other people like me - who were once female-bodied but now lived life as men -
I was so happy.

I was glad to find out that there was a word to describe what I was feeling:

Transgender.

I told my mom, and after she did her own research, she knew that the missing pieces of the puzzle were now found. So at 14 I began my transition, first with my name change, then at 15 with hormones, and at 18 I had my chest surgery.

Most people are jealous because I transitioned so young. They say, "Oh life must have been so much easier for you than it is for me right now." But transitioning in High School in a small town in Kentucky is not easy.

I was bullied everyday. I was shoved into lockers, punched, pushed to the ground, called every name in the book, had my hair set on fire. I was discriminated against even by teachers, not allowed to use the Men or Women's restrooms, and even had a kid threaten to bring a gun to school and kill me.

Looking back at this picture now, it makes me a little embarrassed at how high
I wore my shorts back then. But it always makes me smile about how truly happy I looked, unlike many other photos where I was being forced to wear a dress.

Today, I am a proud man, with an even prouder mother. I'm going to College on the west coast, and holding my own as a man in the Bear community!

My message to LGBTQ youth is to report bullying as soon as it happens. If people don't listen or do anything about it, keep telling until someone does. It doesn't make you less of a person to tell someone that another person is bullying you.

Also, there is a whole other world outside of Middle School and High School.
A whole world that is yours for the taking, where you can make your mark.
But you have to be around to do it.

So my Queerlings, unite! Keep your head up and stay strong!!

Heath's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
John Stamos and singer Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20)
________________________________________________
Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America (Intersections: Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Genders and Sexualities)Transmen and FTMs: Identities, Bodies, Genders, and SexualitiesFTM: Female-to-Male Transsexuals in SocietyTransGeneration

Also check out "My First Gay Crush Blog"

10 comments:

the island guy said...

Awe that was a cute story

Cybergabi said...

Wonderful post, Heath. Would you please give your mom a big fat hug from me?

Aka Mavis said...

Heath - thanks so much for sharing your story! Not only because it was interesting for me to read- as someone who calls you a friend- but what a wonderful gift for other transgendered & GLBT youth to read. One of them might see your story and find relief that someone else shares their experience, others may find a reason to hope or even to LIVE.

ProudOfMyTransSon said...

Son, you have no idea how deep the depths of my proudness and love for you run. Enjoy your life and live it to its fullest!

The words you have written have touched my heart deeply, as I can truly see you have come into your own.

Stay true to yourself, as I have always told you, no one can deny you the right to be who you are!

Love you forever, Mom!

thegayte-keeper said...

WOW looking @ this photo I was like this guy doesn't seem gay by reading on...

micahmaranda said...

I have never posted here, but this made me tear up. I cannot imagine the hell you went through and the obstacles you had to overcome to be where you are today- both you and mom. Thanks to your mom for being loving and understanding and accepting; we need more love like that!

BigBear said...

I am very proud of my cub brother ( best friend) for doing those mostly inspired story to LGBT community.

I am always support u for all of time cause I love u my best friend in whole world. please give ur mom a big hugs for huge support to u in her whole life.

To everyone, please share alot of story here cause it would make all of LGBT family in this USA and other world felt not alone and much good positive. that is motto for pride is we are all big family. :)

HamulousAyden said...

Thanks so much for all of the positive feedback. Please feel free to share my story with others, I am all about sharing my story with others as to educate them of what it is like being Transgender. Because only through Education comes knowledge and acceptance.

Sibylle said...

This is such a wonderful story... I hope many more parents were like your mother

notanillusion said...

Heath, you're such an awesome young man, and we all love you to death. If you haven't made an It Gets Better video yet, you should!