LOOK LIKE YOURSELF

THEIR STORIES: Jennifer

When did you realize you didn’t relate to your birth gender?

When I was 3 years old I had the idea that at some point in everyone's life they got to choose which gender they wanted to be, and I knew that I wanted to be a girl more then anything. 

How did you deal with that mentally & physically?

I didn't really, I repressed all those feelings. Obviously they never really went away, and constantly plagued me my whole life. I would sometimes just laying in bed at night crying, wishing that God or anything out there would just change me! Then when I was 22 it turned to severe depression, I wouldn't eat and barely slept. I never attempted suicide or anything, but the thought was always there. That maybe it would just be easier. That's when I knew I needed help.

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

People have said that I have a bit of a punk-ish style, and am angry or just silently judging everyone. Really I just want to have fun, make friends, and help people out when I can. I love to help out when and where I can. Especially for other trans people who are new, I want to help however I can and I like doing that.

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

My name is Jennifer Yukine McShulkis, and I'm a woman. So I prefer female pronouns.

What does gender identity mean to you?

Gender identity is how we all define and identify our own gender, regardless of what ever sex or genitals we were born with. It's just something that you know in your mind, you have a sense of it. It's really hard to describe I think.

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/

Honestly I didn't really have anyone until recently. I had my first counselor Sarah. As well as the support group that I go to, it's filled with so many cool and interesting people,  but especially Danna and Jenifer! They gave me something I never had before, friends, and really opened my eyes up to who I am and who I could to be.

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

I'm still struggling. I grew up going to a Catholic School, so the LGBT community wasn't a prime topic of discussion. They never showed outright hatred or disgust, but it was known that it was a sin and it was wrong. I ended up feeling like I was just some freak or weirdo after a while. It took a lot to finally break myself from that thinking, and now I'm struggling to figure things out now that I am myself. What are the things that Jenn wants? Because I am a truly different person now than I was before.

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