2015 Grant Recipient Rose Groeschel

Rose Pic betterAt first, I didn’t think there was anything wrong me. I knew I was a girl, until my preschool teacher told me I couldn’t play with the kitchen set at playtime. I cried and told her, “I have the same one at home. Why can’t I play with this one?” Her answer was the beginning of a journey down a dark lonely road. “It’s for girls,” she said, “You’re not a girl, you’re a boy. Boys play with boys’ toys; go play with the Lincoln Logs or trucks!”

From then on, every single night when we said prayers, I would wait until Mommy left the room and pray, “Dear God, please make me a girl.” Many nights, I would cry myself to sleep.

Through the years, my moms took me to many therapists and doctors. Each one gave me a new diagnosis, but they all had the same message for my moms – he’s a boy being raised by two women; of course, he’s confused and not fitting in at school.

One day, I was in the bathroom, saw my mom’s razor. In desperation, I tried to cut off my penis. I was bleeding a lot, but wasn’t making much progress. I panicked and called for my mom who rushed me to the hospital. A urologist told her it was “just a masturbation issue” and I was “on track for a boy.” I hated myself more and was ashamed and embarrassed – I just wanted to die.

Age 17, we moved to the west coast for a “fresh start.” Here, everyone’s walking around, not afraid to be themselves. I began to feel more comfortable, and I legally changed my name. My appearance was matching my identity better. Just then, I’d run into someone who knew me and treated me like a boy. Every encounter was another knife in my heart as I was reminded of the ugly truth – my physical anatomy and gender identity are not the same.

I continued to spend most of my time hiding in my room languishing in a body still foreign and repulsive to me. Make no mistake, I wasn’t treading water – I was drowning before I received that transformative call about the grant. God worked through these angels at the Jim Collins Foundation, and they extended a lifeline. My surgery is scheduled, and I am genuinely excited as I joyfully imagine my future.

Words will never adequately convey my infinite gratitude. I will keep everyone at the Jim Collins Foundation in my thoughts and prayers. I implore anyone able to donate to do so to help support this very important cause.

To each and every transgender person reading this post and struggling, please do not give up hope. It sounds cliché, but remember, you are not alone. There are kind people out there who really do care and want to help. Together, everyone can make a difference.