Learn about one woman's story of transition and the hard-earned strength that comes from finding yourself.
It was a very brief six weeks of not really knowing where my dad was. "Daddy... say hi!" I distinctly remember my mom telling us, your dad is going to start wearing make-up. Yeah it was different than other kids, but like, it wouldn't be something that I'd be ashamed of or anything.
"Can I have a big smile?"
Courtney had the courage to be who she wanted to be. And when I think about that I feel like I can do anything. "You work the bass, and the drums, and we'll get down, we'll get funky okay? Ready? Five six seven here we go..." For a big chunk of years I had no indication as to why I felt different and it wasn't until I was a teenager that's the time where your body is like, nope, you’re a boy. And I'm like, I'm really not.
So, when no one was around I would be able to kind of dress up and feel comfortable. I would explain that, you know, I'm not like other guys, you know? I would rather be wearing what you're wearing, than what I'm wearing right now. And once we got married it was taboo, don't ever talk about it again. And I was fine with that because I had this new life. And all of the sudden I became a father, and I was like this is my life. This is what I was meant to be and what to do. "We're gonna give Alexis her very first bath. Look at that little smile, look at that smile. After I got divorced the last serious relationship I had, I was just head over heels.
We got engaged. And then all of the sudden these feelings started coming back to me. I didn't tell her at the beginning, because I felt like I was cured. And I cringe when I say that or hear that now, because you can't be cured. These are the cards you were dealt. You can either live with it, or not. I remember having a conversation with her, and she said "I can't". And I was probably about 90 miles per hour whenever my phone rang. And I answered it and it was my friend that I grew up with, and I knew at that moment, that I needed to be there for my children. And from that moment on I started seeing a therapist about my gender issues.
You know as my kids got older, they didn't care at all. Nothing changed. In fact it made my relationship with my kids closer. Courtney's my best friend. I call her pretty much everyday. That's really important to me. There are people that say that it's wrong to be friends with your kids. And I've never believed that.
Usually when I need to talk about something, I go to Courtney. I don't think I'd change anything, but we are a very different dynamic than most families. In my life now I can stand up for myself better than I could when I was a kid. And I learned a lot of that from you guys. You know, because I've seen you stand up to people and I'm like, wow. I wish I was like that when I was your age. My daughter came out when she was 11. And when she was in middle school. She experienced bullying. I don't know. I was just different, and people would pick on me for being gay, people would pick on me because I wasn't very girly. Around that time she told me she wanted to make a video. I wanted to share my story, but I didn't think it was gonna get as popular as it did. It blew up. In a good way. It went viral. Being able to see people reaching out to me and saying, your video saved my life, I'm proud of it. In the end, you only have one family and you gotta take really good care of them. I didn't have the insight to save for college when they were little, and that's a real struggle for me now. I met with a financial advisor and as we talked he opened up and told me that his daughter was gay. And right then and there I knew that one; he was comfortable with me, and two he got it. It was okay. This guy I can trust.
You know if a financial advisor is asking me personal questions about my finances, you can ask me personal questions about me. You know? How did I get here?
When I transitioned at work, I really opened up. My life's a book. I've had a couple people who have said, I'm going through the exact same thing. And being able to mentor them and see them have a successful transition at work is worth every moment of opening up my life, because some people are afraid, and it's, you don't have to be afraid. Just be yourself.
There are people out there that love you. 10 years from now I don't think it's going to be as much of an issue. I think people can just be who they are. At least that's my hope.