My name is Sophia Lee, and I am a Software Developer at Microsoft. I am the board chair of a non-profit organization Gender Justice League and I am a Commissioner with the Seattle Women’s Commission.
But when I was younger, I lived with a secret. I wanted to be pretty. I wanted to dance. I wanted to sing. I wanted to go out with boys and be treated like a princess. I wanted to do all the things the other girls got to do. But I couldn’t. Because I was trans.
I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a girl. For most people trans and cis, their gender identity is developed from a very early age. Unlike sexuality which develops over time usually around puberty, gender identity is something that is so much more core to who we are as a person. For so many transgender kids, by the time our other gay/lesbian/bisexual counterparts are starting to learn that side of who they are, we have often already lived in the closet for nearly a decade.
Societal influences start at a very young age. We are taught the rules of gender and that it is wrong to break them. I knew that it was a secret that I couldn’t share with anyone. I knew that people would laugh, that I would be rejected, that I wouldn’t be allowed to live. I grew up thinking that there was something very wrong with who I was.
Puberty was devastating to me. I hated every moment of it. I woke up every day with my body slowly changing. Every day I would hate my body just a little bit more. I could see the effects of the poisonous testosterone that was flowing through my body. I truly hated my body. And I lost the will to take care of it.
For the longest time I lived my life just one day at a time. Unable to picture a future. All I did was live for each individual day, unable to make long term goals, unable to have meaningful relationships and unable to dream.
Take it from someone who have lost so much of her life hiding in the closet… Live life as your genuine self.