When did you realize you didn’t relate to your birth gender?
I would say as far back as I could start remembering things, so probably around 3 years old.
How did you deal with that mentally & physically?
Mentally back when I was younger and very uneducated about trans science or the trans community in general, I kind of just accepted that I was "male" and there was nothing I could really do about it. As I got older and my feelings about being myself became stronger and harder to repress, I pounced on any opportunity I could to express my femininity.
Any moment I had my house to myself, I would dress up in any women's clothes I could acquire. Many Halloweens were spent dressed en femme because at that time it was the only way I could express myself out in public.
I did feel a lot of shame growing up and feeling this way. I actually hated myself for it and was really depressed. I would go through periods of time where I would try my hardest to suppress all these emotions and try and convince myself it could go away. I would throw all my women's clothing in the trash and promise myself I would never show my feminine side again. That never worked though haha. I even went through an extreme overcompensating phase towards the end of high school and during college where I hit the gym really hard and attempted to be an "alpha male" amongst all my very masculine friends I grew up with. I extremely regret that period because losing muscle mass was almost as hard as gaining it in the first place.
It wasn't until a few years ago when I was coming down from an acid trip where I finally broke down and experienced a moment of self-acceptance. I sat there in pitch darkness and asked why I hated myself and I then realized I needed to embrace this part of me because it was something I could never change.
A week later I started buying women's clothing again and a few months after I bought my first wig and makeup. Sooner or later I came out for the first time to my lesbian friends and they encouraged me to take my first steps out in public as myself. Fast toward about a year later and I came out publicly to everyone I know and then began taking hormones and started laser hair removal shortly after.
Give me glimpse of the inside you verse your outward appearance.
Inside me is pretty obnoxious. I know everyone says they are sarcastic, but I have a serious problem with being a witty smartass all the time that enjoys bullshitting and messing with people on a daily basis. I can't control it sometimes and it gets me in trouble lol. It's a gift and a curse. I have a very weird dry sense of humor that my real close friends understand and appreciate. Outside me looks like she wants to sacrifice your child to Satan and burn your church down but that's far from the truth lol
How would you prefer people to address you? pronouns, preferred name etc
My name is Gina and my pronouns are She/Her/Hers
What does gender identity mean to you?
I honestly hate the term "Gender Identity" To me it sounds like you are going through a phase and at one moment you identify as this and then next moment you identify as something else. I personally don't "identify" as a woman, I AM a woman.
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/
It was actually a person you previously interviewed a few months ago. My dear friend and "big brother", Rylan, who most people know as Murph. He really helped get me to make my first appointment at Mazzoni Center and to put all the fears I had about transitioning behind me. To this day he's my number one person to talk to about anything really, even besides trans stuff. I really look up to him as a big brother and wouldn't be where I am today without him. He's my number one supporter and I got his back no matter what.
Talk to me about your struggles with identity and how you've grown to overcome them.
Before I started transitioning and in the very beginning, I was super convinced that no one would see me as a woman and that I would be "a man in a dress" for the rest of my life. Few things that helped get rid of this feeling were growing breasts from hormones and not having to wear forms anymore, letting my hair grow out enough to not have to wear wigs anymore, and completing all my laser hair removal sessions so I didn't have to worry about my 5 o'clock shadow growing in while I was out in public and not having to wear multiple layers of makeup to hide it.