I wrote this for an LDS list I am on and thought I'd post it here. I've had a more recent watershed moment in 2012, but I thought those who read my blog would appreciate this tale from my past.
** Warning – the following may contains triggers for some people **
I was sitting on the floor in my apartment on what I believe was a Saturday morning in August in Texas in the year 2000. I was 20 years old, and contemplating my life, what it meant, why it mattered, and if it should continue. This was my watershed moment.
…Two years before my watershed moment, I joined the church. I decided to postpone my plans to transition to being a female when I turned 18 and try to see if God could help me with my dysphoria through His church. I also wanted to pursue a relationship with the only girl I ever loved. The same girl who introduced me to the church eight months earlier. The same girl I saw a future for an eternal family with.
…One year before my watershed moment, I saved over twelve thousand dollars toward a mission. My relationship with the girl was still going strong and with it the hope for a future together, but my dysphoria had not gone away and it was becoming more and more distracting in my life. I knew I had to consult with the bishop about it before I put in my papers to serve a mission.
…Six months before my watershed moment, I learned that a mission might be difficult if not impossible considering my dysphoria. Members who knew I should have already put in my papers were wondering why I hadn’t left yet. I’m sure they assumed I had issues with worthiness. I bore the intense shame of trying to explain to others, without really telling them, why I couldn’t go on a mission. During the same period, my parents lost the home they were renting on very short notice, so they had to borrow all the money I had saved for my mission to get a downpayment on another home.
…Five months before my watershed moment, I lost the girl I loved so much – the last thing holding my life together was her, and she wanted to break up. What the tipping point was, I’m not sure, but I’m sure she felt frustration over the fact I wasn’t on a mission yet. Added to that was a young man she met in college who had written me a letter to me previously stating the Spirit had revealed to him that he would marry the girl who meant so much to my future as a male. He could not have known what she meant to me when he wrote that, he couldn’t have known it when he took her from me, but she was the last thread keeping my hope alive for a future without dysphoria.
…Three months before my watershed moment, I was acting on my plan to transition. I found a roommate from another city who was also transitioning who would move into my new apartment with me. Just before she moved in, some well meaning friends of mine from the church staged an intervention to stop me from making what they considered a grave mistake. On their advice I cancelled plans for my trans roommate to move in and instead, one of my church friends moved in with me to help offset bills and to help me endure to the end.
...Two months before my watershed moment, my dysphoria was so bad, I lived each day in constant escape, and depression ruled my life. I could barely motivate myself to go to work and when I did go, I was often several hours late. The friend who moved in with me, could no longer handle my continuous depression and had to move out. The other friend kept in contact as a way to help prevent me from transitioning.
…Four weeks before my watershed moment, I had been fired from my most recent job, the third in a series of lost jobs. I shut everyone out, it was all I could do to hold on. Every day I left my home, I was triggered beyond my ability to cope so I stayed inside all day.
…Two weeks before my watershed moment, I stopped paying my electric bill because I ran out of money. The Texas summer was raging, and temperatures in my apartment would swell to the 90s, but I was unable to help myself. I received notice my next rent payment was due, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I lost my home too.
…The night before my watershed moment, I found myself staring at a bottle of pills. I didn’t see any way out. The dysphoria was just too crippling. No one could see who I really was. Those who I told only thought of me as going through a phase, having an addiction, a paraphillia, or worse. There was no world that existed where I could be accepted for who I was. I couldn’t hold a job, couldn’t keep my friendships, couldn’t serve a mission for my church, lost the best relationship I ever had, and worst of all, I couldn’t tell anyone. The shame of it all was overwhelming, so I stared at that pill bottle for what must have been hours. The late night passed into morning.
As I sat there that morning, on my floor, near the pill bottle, in my hot apartment, I considered all these things when I was surprised by a knock on my door. I didn’t have the motivation to answer it – probably my landlord anyway. But when I heard my mother’s voice calling out for me, I told her to come in.
It was there, on that floor, in a fit of tears and pain that I came out to her. She didn’t tell me I was wrong for how I felt. She didn’t tell me I was a sinner. She didn’t try to convince me of what I needed or how I should handle my problems. She didn't make me feel any shame. She just loved me. She just listened. And when I was done pouring my heart out to her…
She told me she always knew. She told me I could come home. She named me Kate.