LOOK LIKE YOURSELF

THEIR STORIES: Autumn

When did you realize you don't relate to your birth gender?

The earliest memory I have of not relating to my birth gender is around age 5 during Sunday School. The girls would usually go play house and I was expected to go with the boys and play with trucks and digging tools. I'd long to go play with the girls and when I did I'd usually get pick on by the boys.

How did you deal with that mentally & physically?

Early childhood into adolescence was an interesting time for me. I grew up on a farm 7 miles from the nearest town so I never really was able to distract myself from the thoughts of dysphoria.I'd go to bed praying that I'd wake up as a girl the next morning and dreaming of what it would be like.

Give me glimpse of the inside you verse your outward appearance.

Inside versus outside, my constant struggle right now. After starting transitioning 2.5 years ago, I'm still trying to find my self. I know on the inside I'm passionate about doing many things, but I'm usually seen as a timid and shy person when in fact I love being around others. There are brief moments when my inside shines through and I always hold those times dear and want to make more memories like that.

How would you prefer people to address you? pronouns, preferred name etc

Kindly! My name is Autumn and my pronouns are she/her, but if your ever around me you'll notice I'll use the singular and plural y'all talking to most people. Some words are forever ingrained into my vocabulary from growing up in Louisiana.

What does gender identity mean to you?

Gender identity to me is who you feel you are inside. It's an innate sense of you that is constantly acting with how you express yourself. Growing up, my gender identity was always at war with my outward expression and now that I'm living as myself we live in psuedo-harmony with time of dysphoria creeping through.

Was there someone in your life that helped you start to see your authentic/true self? Tell me about how they helped you/who they are/

I'm honestly not sure if I can point to a single person in my life who helped me start seeing my true self. I'd rather point to the times of change in my life that kept bringing my true self even closer forward until I broke free. When I was 16, I was overwhelmed with gender dysphoria and attempted suicide. Luckily I lived and then applied to move away from home to a boarding school. The time at that school meeting so many diverse and awesome people helped me start my process of living as my true life.

Talk to me about your struggles with identity and how you've grown to overcome them.

Identity struggles still persist with me in my daily life! I'm still trying to find myself as a woman and learn more about who I am now that I'm living as me. The most vivid struggle for me had to be growing up in a Southern Baptist family and hiding the fact that I was trans. My father was a deacon, my mother played piano for the church, and my grandfather was the music minister. I grew up most of my childhood being told LGBT people were of sin and could never be saved so go figure how internally twisted I was in my youth that I was basically in a constant war between my family's values of what is right and wrong. I spent ever moment on edge scared they would find out and one day my dad did find out and told me he didn't want a fag for a son. This eventually led to the attempted suicide and me learning that family is not only by blood and I can make my own home wherever I go. So 4 moves to different states later, I'm still growing my family and growing in myself.

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