This story was crowdfunded by Questionmark's Kickstarter campaign.
It was a cold winter day. I headed onto the bus to meet my therapist for the first time. She was a worker at an LGBTQ+ association in my native country of Slovenia, so I was rather excited as a young and somewhat closeted teenage transexual.
I was introduced to the organisation by my psychologist, so I had nothing but high hopes. Albeit, the excitement came with some anxiety as I had never talked about this to anyone except my father.
The bus drove all too slowly for an enthusiastic teenager that waited to finally open up to someone skilled and understanding. I wanted to learn more about what this truly meant and how to realise my dreams. In my mind, nothing could possibly go wrong on this day. But I was about to discover that no matter how understanding someone might seem, there can always be more underneath the surface. And the fact that people who might seem most understanding, in the end, can hurt you the most.
I arrived in town searching for her office around the busiest streets. The search was thrilling, and with all my enthusiasm, I finally found the premises, following the pamphlet instructions.
We briefly introduced ourselves. She was very kind and young and couldn't hide the excitement of a new employee.
As we sat down in her office, I opened up about my story; I was a trans person and have felt such since around the age of 6. I didn't have many people to talk to about it and was rather confused and somewhat in denial about what it all meant. Slovenia is a heavily religious country with traditional values regarding topics like this, so I was in heavy hiding and afraid of being ostracised by my friends, family and surrounding environment.
She was kind and understanding, assured me we would get through this together, and told me I'd soon be more comfortable in my own skin. She understood that this is who I am, which filled me with optimism. I had finally found someone on my side that understood what I was going through.
One of the first things she decided to do was start referring to me with female pronouns. I had never experienced or attempted it with anyone I knew, so it felt validating and affirming. Still, it was somewhat challenging for me to get it right every time. It was definitely what I wanted, but getting past the preconceived notions that society had implanted into my mind was tough. I felt it was wrong somehow, even though I knew this was who I was.
Immediately, this was met with a sort of scrutiny from her. She claimed that trans people who cannot pronounce themselves in their perceived gender are usually not transgender.
At that point, I felt confident to explain that it wasn't the fact that I wasn't able to or that it didn't make me happy; in fact, it was quite the opposite. However, I had been experiencing a lot of judgement from my family regarding my situation. I was somewhat anxious about letting go and sharing how I had thought of myself. I was simply trying to make her understand where I was coming from. However, my attempts seemed to fill her with more doubt than anything else.
The next thing she urgently moved onto was the topic of surgeries which to me at that time seemed rather odd. I had never discussed my feelings in depth with anyone. I had expected her to pay more attention to the subjective experience of my transgender identity and what it really meant to me. However, I was still glad to discuss all the procedures I believed would make me closer to who I am. Specifically, she inquired about my wishes regarding bottom surgery or SRS. At the time, this question had confused me; it was something I had not really thought about. I thought to myself for a good few minutes. My penis was something that I had grown quite accustomed to, and I was unsure of the medical procedures and how one would even go about getting a vagina. It was something that, as much as it filled me with euphoria and a sense of gender affirmation, also scared me.
It was a fear of the unknown I strongly wished for. Still, I felt I managed to express exactly how I felt and anticipated an encouraging and reassuring perspective.
However, instead of a soothing and refreshing opinion, I had been shot down in a way I didn't expect. Her response still haunts my dreams with anxiety.
She furiously responded that I was wasting her time and had nothing to do at this organisation or her office since I wasn't a transgender person. According to her, every transgender MtF individual should be 100% sure they want bottom surgery and a vagina.
I rushed out of her office pretty quickly and burst into tears. I knew who I was, and getting this response from someone, I considered an authority while being so closeted and perplexed about my identity was heartbreaking. I never saw her again. The ride home was tough as nails, but I had decided that nobody would make the rules for me ever again. I knew I was transgender, but if I wanted to keep my penis or get any other surgeries was only my decision.
When I walked through the home door, I was met by my father, that after the recent passing of my mother, was very worried and at odds with me and my gender issues. He didn't accept or support who I was, and while angry, he threatened to disown me and stay away from my transgender issues.
That day he welcomed me in an unusually warm mood, and the lunch table was set with my favourite food; gourmet burgers and tacos. We sat down and shared a meal. My dad said in a somewhat shaky voice, "You know, about you being trans and all". I couldn't hear another negative comment that day. Still, he surprised me with his kindest words.
"If you feel like this is who you are. I accept you, and I support your decision. And I love you. You will always be my child no matter what". For the second time that day, I burst into tears. We hugged and held each other while I cried.
I am currently a happy 20-year-old transgender woman in a relationship. I hope my story can help someone realise that there will be support, even when we might not see it.