I have a strange fondness for my story, when I realized that I was transgender. I was around 12 or 13. I have always had a powerful love for reading – and funnily enough that’s how I learned who I am. Reading a story online, I left a comment, “Sometimes I feel like I’m a gay guy stuck in a girl’s body.” It was a strange statement, so I decided to research if it was a thing. The term ‘transgender’ popped up, and the definition hit me hard. That was it!
In elementary school, I wore dresses every day. Even though it interfered during recess, I did it because I thought that’s what girls were supposed to do. The summer before middle school, I wrote on a sticky note and placed it on my mirror, “Wear jeans in middle school!”, because I saw girls wearing jeans now, and so I should too.
Life had always been a whirlwind, but even more so after learning I was trans. Coming out to my best friend, I received the most amazing support – the same support since we met 12 years ago. It was longer until I came out to my family. My siblings were not supportive or understanding at all. It killed me when I had to come out to my parents – all my life, my mother told me how she always wanted a girl, and how happy she was when she and my father found out. I dropped out of school in 10th grade, because the dysphoria and depression were too much. My mother signed off on me starting testosterone, around 5 or so months after I left school, I was 16. She admitted she did not want to, but knew if she didn’t, that I might have taken my life – with my severe dysphoria on top of the mental illnesses I was already dealing with.
In my situation, I had to walk to any potential jobs. Unfortunately, most places within walking distance did not want to hire me. But by 2018, I had 1k saved for my surgery – years to get that money, that poverty stole from me in an instant. Nothing ever lasted. I was losing hope.
November of 2019, I unexpectedly landed a job. It was seasonal, with the potential of becoming more. I’ve now been working there for five months – the longest job I’ve ever had.
My life, and mental health are a complete 180 from where things used to be.
I remember days I would wake up crying – I had a dream I was swimming with my shirt off, outside playing games shirtless like my brothers, or even just lounging around my house with no shirt on – only to remember it wasn’t real, and being absolutely devastated.
I am more than ready to take this huge step in things becoming even better – in my physical body getting closer to matching who I truly am. It’s been almost 8 years of devastating dysphoria, and thanks to the Jim Collins Foundation, I am about to be so incredibly free. If you asked me 5 years ago, where I thought I’d be now, I never would have guessed this – I didn’t even think I’d live to be turning 20. Now here I am – I have a stable job, got my GED this year, and my long awaited top surgery is just on the horizon. I will never have the words to express how thankful I am to the Foundation for this. It still feels like a dream.Kaileb Morgan