On the day I was born, in a small-town hospital, I made the front page of the local newspaper. It was a rare day indeed as there were eight babies born on the same day, breaking the previous hospital record of 5 births on a single day. But would you believe that seven of those babies were girls and just one baby boy, who would just happen to end up a transgender woman. Occasionally, I look at that worn-out old newspaper clipping that has adorned the first page of my baby pictures book and think to myself – Damn, I was so close to being born in the correct body.
The next bit of irony came in the form of mistaken identity. Having been born to a mother and father who were unmistakably hippies, with their long hair, bell-bottoms, and selling marijuana to pay the rent, they decided that my brother and I would look best in shoulder-length hair. With that and an added bonus, for which I am entirely grateful for now, I was also born with my mother’s eyes and her narrow nose.
Now, when you take that combination together, I was often mistaken for a little girl. Over and over I would hear people say things like, “How old is your little girl, and “Oh, isn’t she cute.” In fact, I can distinctly remember getting into my very first fight because some older kid continually referred to me as a girl. I guess being misidentified so many times finally made me snap as I ran over to him, tackled him to the ground, and began punching him like Ralphie from A Christmas story.
After several years of those things happening, my parents finally got the hint and took me to a barber, where I received my first haircut. When the older man standing in his white coat with slicked-back hair asked what kind of hair cut I was looking for, I pointed to the picture on the wall of a military-style crew cut. Within minutes my long locks were gone, and the little boy was revealed.
It would be nearly eight years later when I first started to crossdress and another ten or so years before I realized I was actually a transgender woman. So, you could probably imagine how I would feel now if someone mistook me for a woman; I would be absolutely thrilled and want to thank them for making me feel so happy.
Ironically enough, when I began seeing a gender therapist three or four years ago and explained that while I wasn’t ready to come out to the world, I still wanted to begin my transition, she suggested growing out my hair. She said that lots of men have long hair and that it wouldn’t be a giveaway if I did as well. For the last several years, I have done just that while also teaching myself to style it. And now that it’s grown down past my shoulders, I must admit that it has been the single best decision I’ve made with my transition. The option of being able to wear it up in an up-do, curl it into wavy locks, or even braid it into pigtails has made me feel closer to myself than almost anything else so far.
While it may seem like a small step, the inspiration and confidence it has given me has encouraged me to take the next step in my journey. I’m looking forward to HRT and beyond.