RAISE YOUR FLAG

SHARED STORIES
Bec
16 years old

Hello! My name is Bec. I am a trans man and I am homoromantic and demi sexual. That means I only am interested in guys, and I don’t experience sexual attraction until I’ve really gotten to know the person.

 

When I was in sixth grade I first started experimenting with labels; I knew what I wasn’t straight but I wasn’t sure what type of gay I was. I tried on the term lesbian, but that didn’t feel quite right. I tried out the label of pansexual, but that still didn’t seem right. During the summer before eighth grade, I met a person who identified as non-binary and my reaction to that was “hmm, that? That me?” I came out to my parents, and I went as non-binary for a few months. Then I went to Disney Land and I really liked being called a “prince”. After that, I realized I prefer he/him pronouns, and I got my first binder.

 

Coming out to my parents was stressful, but it made me so happy when they were supportive and helped me buy my first binder. The binder took away an emotion I didn’t know I was constantly having until it was gone. It took an emotion that I had thought was normal and made me say hey, it’s not that bad anymore. Cool. I had my top surgery last May, and my dysphoria has been greatly relieved. I just had my nine-month post-op, and it feels so go to look down. I smile every time.

 

My time at GSA Link has really shaped who I am as a person. The first time I came to a meeting I was anxious, but that wasn’t really new as I have social anxiety anyway. Yet after just a few minutes, I felt my anxiety go away really easily. I felt welcomed, but more than that I felt wanted. As soon as I walked in people were struggling out of beanbag chairs to welcome me. Little did I know that one of the idiots in the crowd would become my boyfriend. 

 

GSA Link is what’s kept me sane, actually. I do online school. You don’t think about it much, but the lack of human interaction causes your mental health to dip. GSA Link is my favorite positive human interaction during the week. It’s a really nice place to just unwind and relax in a place where I don’t feel judged for talking about being gay. I can see a ton of friends and talk a lot. Even when there are new people, I don’t feel afraid to talk. Talking around people and sharing what’s popped into my head is normally difficult for me, but I’ve always felt like I can talk here without being judged for something I’ve said. GSA Link is the definition of safe space to me.

 

I just want to say, to anyone who might think they’re trans or gay, it’s ok to try on labels. It’s ok if you don’t know what you are right away, and if you need to change labels it’s not you “lying” or being “fake”. If it makes you feel happy and comfortable, it’s a good label for you. Things get better; I’m looking forward to college and am happy in my relationship. Life gets better. 

Thomas

My name is Thomas, and I am a gay man. I was probably twelve when I first came out to my mum. I had been figuring it out myself for a few years and even she began to suspect it. She straight up ask me if I was gay, which was ok, if not just a little bit frightening at that age. When I first got asked I was confused why she thought I was gay, but as time carried on I began to realize yeah- she was right. I was gay, and that was fine with her. 

 

It was kept a secret from the rest of the family for a while because I wasn’t ready to tell them something like that. It took me three years for me to decide “Now, now is the time to do it.” And, to be honest, it went as smoothly as one could hope for regardless of how fast it went. I didn’t give them very much time to ask questions, I got myself a drink from the kitchen, told them I was gay as I passed the living room, and vanished back into my room before anything could be asked. They didn’t expect it, but they did accept it. I never had any problems with them other than the occasional “Are you sure” which would be dismissed by myself or my mother quickly.

 

Despite being out to my family, I still thought I had to keep it a secret from school and my friends. I thought that I was going to be picked on, so I only told three people in middle school. That was fine by me. I was still trying to figure out whether or not the people around me would be accepting of me being gay, but when high school came around I decided that the time for that secret was at its end. As a freshman in high school, I decided that my being gay wasn’t an issue and that the people around me- bullies included- couldn’t hurt me over my sexual orientation. That I was who I was and it was time I let people know.

 

Now I didn’t grab a microphone and announce to the world “Hey, I’m gay!” (despite having that exact dream about a million times), because who DOES actually do that? Not me. I told those who asked me and those I was friends with. Of course, everyone was super supportive, and even my bullies (which to be fair were really just people being rude on occasion) started to vanish. As I accepted my personality and who I was I started to stand straighter and talk more confidently without having to put on an act. I laughed more, talked more, and all-around just made more friends because I was owning who and what I was and it didn’t matter to me anymore.

In the end, I’ve been out publicly since I was fifteen, nearly sixteen, and I couldn’t be happier for it. It gets better, and when you can finally own who you are- you get better too.

Kael
17 years old 

The road to acceptance

Being bisexual is great. Of course, there’s more love and attraction, but there’s also more empathy and compassion. At the end of the day, if you can appreciate someone at the most fundamental level- physique- it’s far easier to then look beyond such.

Yet love is still a fascinating concept. To think that the primary drive (theoretically) instilled into a person is something that is arguably unquantifiable is odd. And what brings about this sense? I was wrestling with a friend over a pencil when I realized I wasn’t straight, though it took me until that summer to figure myself out. This raised the first question I had for my bisexuality: why do I like guys and girls?

And it wasn’t just my sexuality that was worth thought, but also my masculinity. I was never raised with just masculine views. Sure, I played plenty of sports, watched boys entertainment, and was a fan of anything boyish, but I was also raised on HGTV (unintentionally) and spent far more time designing and drawing. My father was far more distant in these early years, so there was a less notable masculine force in my life. I didn’t know what it meant to be masculine. Whether these years were truly formative towards anything besides my masculinity is up for debate; either way, it set the first row of bricks in the wall.

I was caught between traditional masculinity and some instilled effeminacy. This was only deepened as I moved to Massachusetts and took up a different lifestyle. Time for sports ceded to time spent playing, building with legos, or drawing. My mother was keen to instill arts and crafts into my life; my father never pushed me one way or the other even as I saw him more. As I picked up video games, I almost always opted for the game where I could create more than destroy. I’ve played survival Minecraft perhaps ten times. I’ve played creative mode thousands of times.

I didn’t have many friends growing up. Most of the people around where I lived did three things: played mature video games, watched soccer, and played soccer. On paper, it seems like I’d be a perfect match, and yet I couldn’t stand these people. This is the second question of bisexuality that I also haven’t figured out: how do bisexual people fit into society? I’ve never felt like people have really known me. People are surprised when I come out. What? I’m grateful people don’t assume, but perhaps the wall had been built too high.

Back to my childhood. I was never particularly keen on just soccer and mature video games. I couldn’t own mature games, and I like playing soccer, just not every day. Hanging out was great, but I was never a particularly close friend to any of them and I preferred my alone time. This was more likely a product of the introversion I had at the time, but perhaps my dislike for them was a factor as well. After my one close friend moved, I was essentially isolated.

This changed by the sixth grade. I moved to a different part of town and made new friends who were more like me. I wore jeans and normal shorts- frowned upon in my old friend group of sportswear. I was finally able to explore interests with my friends, albeit nerdily. Seventh grade was much the same, (minus losing most of my friends, but hey, that’s middle school it seems) I was myself and people liked me for it. Things were far from perfect. With how little I opted to see people or complete work, it was a depressing time in my life. Those lonely nights of browsing my computer sucked. But through chance, luck, and the friends I had left, I overcame it. I made new friends and broke out of my shell. 

Eighth grade was going to be my year. I dyed the front of my hair blond. I searched for new friends everywhere I went. My grades became a passion. I took on new clubs, activities, and hung out with people more. I finally started living. Everything had lined up perfectly.

But then I figured out I was bisexual.

It was a slow boil of an awakening. I began to think of boys at least as early as January of eighth grade. Any vestige of the sports character I’d built for myself crumbled to the ground and from the rubble came a new wall of artistry. I was still athletic, but that was not me. I was a woodworker and interior designer. Wrestling with a friend was just the beginning of the end. One summer’s night it clicked: no, I wasn’t gay, but I also wasn’t straight. I, essentially, came out to myself as bisexual.

I like to take a logical approach to everything, and this was no different. Yet this was too personal, too emotional, to be dealt with rationally. I knew my label and I knew what that meant, but what about my love life? The answer would lie with my pencil-wrestling friend whom I quickly developed a crush on. I spent a year trying to figure out both if he was gay, (for some reason the thought of him being bisexual never came to mind) and if he liked me. It was agonizing. The closet is a powerful force- even around people you know are lgbtq+, there’s still an immovable wall and an unbreakable rope that restricts you from saying anything. 

It sucked. Eventually, a myriad of factors convinced me to come out to him. I was happy, the world seemed prideful, and the wall which held back my true self was buckling from my desire to break out. It was an awkward, long-winded, overly-cautious conversation (on my side) which luckily led him to just ask “Do you think you’re gay?” and then a relatively short explanation of yes, but no, but yeah, thanks.

So then I was out. Oh boy. 

My heart pounded for the rest of the night, but in the long term, it was a relief. Now I was on a long journey to come out to the world. And this journey is where I am today. As of today, I’ve come out to just one other person, my girlfriend (that event was far easier- she told me she was bisexual, and I said: “me too.” Far less fanfare, and a lot less heart pounding). And now I hopefully will come out to the rest of the world. It will be a tough journey- I don’t know how my family will react and any chance of political success at school is doomed. But perseverance seems to be universal in this community, perhaps it will rub off.

Karla
Mother

My name is Karla, my pronouns are she/her, and I am straight. I’m sharing my story for other parents of trans children. I felt lost and unsure of what was the best next step to take, and I want other parents to feel a little less lost. 

 

As a teacher, I’d had the chance to interact with trans students before my own son came out. They reminded me of my son, and so I introduced them. At the time, I didn’t really think about why they reminded me of him. They became friends, and through them, he was able to learn about what being trans is. One summer in his middle school career, my son came out to me as trans. 

 

When my son came out, it opened up a lot of questions. What did being trans mean? How could my husband and I best help him? It was different hearing “I’m questioning my gender” coming from my own child. Students and other young adults can’t really prepare you for that moment. I wasn’t perfect. I wish I could say I didn’t think “Is this a phase? Are they sure?”, but I did, and I think every parent of a trans child has thought that. I just wanted what was best for my kid, though, and so I took him to a gender therapist in Worcester. 

 

The beginning was hard, especially the mental health problems we had to overcome together. I made sure my son knew it was us together; he wasn’t going to go through it alone. The gender clinic helped us so much. 

 

Luckily, it seems that after two years we’re finally on the other side. It took us a year to get our son hormone therapy and another year before we could get him gender-affirming top surgery as well. It’s emotionally draining for everyone, but it’s not about you as a parent, it’s about your kid and their happiness.

 

In the last two years, I’ve gotten involved in GSA Link, and it’s been so good for my son to have a space where he can be with other kids like him. The connections I’ve made with other parents have helped me more than I can say in being able to give him this space. The connections were also good for me; I felt isolated in my parental struggles before joining GSA Link. Finding other parents with trans kids let me know that there were others going through the same things I had gone through. If you are a parent of a trans child I definitely recommend Gsa link for both you and your child. 

 

I hope that in the future, there will be more representation in the media so that other kids like my son can grow up and know that people are like them. I hope one day that my story will not have to stand in contrast to the accounts of other trans children who live on the street after coming out. 

Mike 
High school freshman 

When I was younger, I had no sense of what I could or couldn’t be. There were no boxes or labels. Now, sitting at my computer typing this, I wonder if I am able to break apart the packing tape and see the light, without being put into an entirely new box. The idea of a box appeared in seventh grade. That was when some of my friends began to come out. It became a regular thing, and I admired their bravery. Love is love, we would shout. 

I was pulled into the rainbow fest, and I enjoyed my time there. Eventually, the rainbows seemed to slowly turn to black, or whatever is the opposite of the inclusive rainbow I’d known. Why? The big question was asked: “what’s your sexual orientation”. 

I knew I had never cared for a person, based on gender, but I couldn’t know for sure what I was. There came the boxes, and I was the only one without one. The phrase ‘love is love’ seemed a relic of the past. Now it was ‘love is identity’. It made me feel like I needed a box as well, and so I slowly fitted myself into the bisexual box. It was the closest fit. 

There I still sit today, still too scared to peel open the tape and leap out into the world of not caring. If I want to venture further to find myself, I tell myself the thing I should’ve told myself long ago. Love is not a box. Love is not a label or a personality. It just is, and it shouldn’t be boxed, taped up, and labeled.

Louca
18 years old

Hi, my name is Louca. I am a trans man, and I am gay. As far back as I can remember, I knew I wasn't a normal "girl" (as I thought I was at the time). I hated all things feminine, especially skirts and dresses. One of my most distinct "trans" memories was going to McDonald's and asking, "Mom, can I get the boy toy? I want a boy toy". For a long time, I just identified as a tomboy, though looking back, I think I liked the term so much because it had the word "boy" in it.

 

In eighth grade, I first heard the term trans and non-binary. Like a lot of other trans guys I think, I first identified as non-binary. That label didn't quite fit, so then I tried on gender fluid as a label. I identified as that for a little while before I realized that I was just staying in the boy range of gender fluid all the time, and not going into the girl range. So eventually, I sat myself down and had a conversation with myself. First, I said, "I am a girl," and I saw how that felt. Then I said, "I am non-binary" and saw how that felt. Then I said, "I am a boy" and saw how that felt. After that, I considered how each made me feel and came to the conclusion of "Man, I felt like crap when I said I'm a girl. I felt ok when I said I was non-binary, and I felt really good when I said I was a boy. I think that means I'm a boy". 

 

I came out to my parents in 10th grade, after I had figured out that I was a trans man. I already had gotten a binder from my then-boyfriend, but after I came out, my dad sat down and ordered me a binder.  When I told my dad the price, he said, "That's fine. You get whatever you need to make you feel comfortable". I'll never forget that. My dad put my happiness first above the expenses of being trans. He didn't tease me about the price, even in 2019, when I got my top surgery. He had to pay for it all out of pocket. Even so, he was willing to do that for me to be happy and have my dysphoria relieved. For that, I am so very grateful. It was a dream come true, as corny as that might sound. 

 

My story doesn't stop there. In the future, I want to get more involved in the LBGTQ+ community. I haven't been to pride yet, and I look forward to going this summer with my boyfriend for the first time. 

 

To all the young kids out there, those who think they may be trans and are scared: don't be afraid. There's always someone else out there who's just like you. 

Karla

My husband and I sat in a room anticipating the arrival of the technician.  It was our twenty week ultrasound and we were hopefully going to find out if we were having a boy or a girl.  I had a feeling I was carrying a little boy but couldn’t explain why. The ultrasound technician spread the cold gel over my ever expanding belly and clicked endless buttons in order to take measurements of the head and heart.  She had some bad news though, no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t determine the sex of our child. Our child was being stubborn and crossing their legs. In fact in one photo it looked as if our baby was flipping us off. Although we were disappointed not to find out the sex we were happy that the baby looked healthy.

After what seemed like an eternity I finally gave birth to a little girl and I am not biased when I say that she was the best baby ever born. As the years passed, she grew into a girl who had a passion for drawing, enjoyed anime, and loved all animals from snakes to puppies.  She was always smiling and her giggle was infectious. Then slowly there began a change as those middle school years approached. She was no longer all smiles and instead of sparkles wore black t-shirts, baseball caps, and sweatpants. She started having anxiety attacks for reasons I couldn’t figure out and she couldn’t or didn’t know how to explain. During eighth grade we found her a therapist and she seemed to be coping better with the help of the therapist. Life was by no means perfect

but it was better.

 The summer before 9th grade we took a family trip to the happiest place on Earth, Disney World!  One morning while eating Mickey waffles my daughter was texting with a friend more than was normal.  I pressed her what was going on and while my husband was away from the table she told me the news that would change our world forever.  She said “I am questioning my gender.” I am sure my face went blank and I just said “Oh.” We kind of pretended the conversation didn’t happen for the rest of the trip but I do remember while at Belle’s Castle for dinner one night the waiter called her prince and I couldn’t miss the smile on her face.

Even though I’ve had transgender students who I love it was something different when my child came out to me.  I wish I had said the perfect thing but I know I didn’t. I wish I hadn’t had the thoughts that I knew were wrong but that  I think almost all parents of transgender children have had like “Maybe it is a phase.” and “Are they sure?”  

The transitioning process is long but in a way that is good.  It took a year to start hormone therapy and in that year we worked as a family to find our new normal.  It took lawyers and months to legally complete the name and gender change on our child’s birth certificate.  Then it took another year for the gender affirming top surgery. When we reached each new milestone I could see my child’s happiness and confidence grow.  As time creeps on it becomes harder to think of that little girl with pigtails as the same child I now see before me who has a deepening voice and peach fuzz for a mustache.  However, I couldn’t be prouder of who he has become and to be able to say I was right all along, I have a SON!

ABOUT US

The Link that Connects.
GSA Link offers a dynamic opportunity for LGBTQ+ youth to connect and become part of a strong, healthy, safe community. Through building strong connections, empowering education, and inspiring action we pave a path for success.

CONTACT

508-735-1267

 

projectgsalink@gmail.com

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

© 2023 by HARMONY. Proudly created with Wix.com