I’m Ray and I’m from Southborough, Massachusetts. And I’m transgender. Growing up I didn’t necessarily know that I was male identified, but I liked to act male. I liked to pretend I was male. In the pretend games you play when you’re little I was always the boy. And I liked it that way. As I grew older I really tried to mask it and that made it harder to transition later on because people were a little more hesitant to recognize what I was able to see. They would say “You acted like a girl.” When I was able to say, “Yeah, but I didn’t feel like a girl.”
I just heard what being transgender meant and it was this epiphany of “Wow that’s an exact description of how I feel.” And I was in the car with my mom and I turned to her and said, “Mom, I want a haircut.” Because I had hair down to about here at that point. And she said, “Okay, we can get you a haircut.” And I said, “No, mom, I want my hair cut. Like short.” And she said, “Oh, that’s fine.” And I said, “Well, can I have a boys haircut and she said, “Yes.” And I said, “Good, because I want to feel more like a boy.” And then i think I clapped a hand over my mouth, because I couldn’t believe I just said that out loud because I was just starting to acknowledge this to myself and to say it out loud, especially to another person, meant that it was real. My mom turned to me and said, “Well, do you feel like a boy?” And I said, “I don’t know.” And I think I started crying. And I got angry and really confused.
It was a process, they started calling me Ray, which was my male name, then they started using male pronouns which took a long time to train them to do that, because they’d known me, obviously, since infancy. And then finally, one day, we were in the ER, I had passed out in school for whatever reason, I don’t remember and she was talking to the receptionist, and the receptionist said, “What do you need?” And my mom said, “My son passed out.” And I just sort of turned an stared at her, and she just smiled at me. That was just the final step in knowing that my parents had really accepted me for who I was. And that it was real, it was happening and I could be who I wanted to be.