In “Who Cares” I spoke about a spot of trouble that I got into when I was 16 and was caught using the “wrong” changing rooms for P.E. “I was spotted a second time a few months later and was given an official school detention. A female teacher sat down to explain to me why I couldn’t change in the girl’s dressing room.”
After this occurred I had many emotions swirling around inside me. I wasn’t aware that I was trans at the time but It’s very clear that I was aware of some personal turmoil relating to my gender. I wrote my teacher the following letter, although I’ve edited it somewhat for the sake of her privacy.
I am writing you this letter because of our conversation yesterday. I just want to make it clear that I am in no way annoyed at you. You have always been very good to me so I don’t want you to think that this is an attack or anything of the sort. I’m not even sure what the purpose of this letter is but I often write these kind of things to people because I find the written word to be a very powerful thing.
I am very fortunate with the life I have, that I know well. I have a lot of support from my friends, my family, and of course, the staff at school. I am very accepted in the school community and because of this the corridors are a very pleasant place to be. School is my sanctuary but this wasn’t always the case. I used to be severely harassed on a daily basis.
The only reason this doesn’t go on today is because I worked hard to earn my “peers” respect. I was persistent on going to the school whenever I had an issue because I was determined that it was my right not to be bullied. This is because it is in my nature to stand up for myself and I was raised in such a way that I was confident enough to do this. But unfortunately this bullying didn’t stop on time because it had a dire effect on my mental health.
I never told my mother, my family or even my friends about this bullying. Every time something was said I would “brush it off” and forget about it. I put up a lot of barriers around me until I began to feel nothing anymore. I had no quality of life and I became almost psychotic. I lashed out at my friends and family and I was often getting myself into a lot of trouble. It finally became clear to my Mam that I had very serious mental health issues and I went to counselling where I got the help that I needed.
I have been so happy since then and I am now able to relish in my fantastic life. I know I told you that I’m uncomfortable changing with the boys but that isn’t because they intentionally make me feel that way. I get along very well with all of the boys in my year and they have never been anything less than respectful and accepting towards me. And for that I think they deserve a huge credit. It is very reassuring to know that I have the support of my classmates. Even when a new student this year tried to pass personal comments behind my back everyone jumped to my defence and I was so touched by that.
When I began changing in the girl’s dressing room it was second year. I was urged by my friends to come in with them and I asked everyone in there whether it was okay or not. Everyone goes into their separate cubicles so no one sees anything that they shouldn’t. I knew it was wrong and I also knew it would end at some stage.
At the start of the year I was caught. I was given a warning and I had every intention of listening to it. I did for a few weeks until the light wasn’t working in the middle bathroom. I went into the boy’s changing room and they didn’t mind. But when my friends found out they again all urged me to into the girl’s with them. So I went back to doing that and everything was fine.
Today when I was found again, I knew I would be in trouble. But I found both of you to be very fair and tactful when it came to this touchy subject. Did you know that in certain places you are allowed to use whatever school bathroom or changing room that you want? In these places you are distinguished not by your gender but rather by your gender identity.
But I don’t currently feel like I have a gender identity. I don’t feel like a boy but I don’t feel like a girl either. I’m just me and I’m happy with that. People often say to me that I’m so lucky that I don’t get bullied, but how dreadful is that attitude? Just because I’m different it’s normal for me to get bullied? I wish everyone could see the world through my eyes. Where everyone is their self and not fat, or tall, or boy, or girl, or abnormally thin or anything else. I try my hardest to judge people on their personality alone.
You know I still see the bullying going on with others. It’s usually little things that no one else notices but I have a very good eye for that sort of thing. I feel so sorry for these people that are different but can’t do anything about it. I’d love to help these people but at the same time I have think about myself too.
But I know I’ll never change the world. I don’t expect the school to bend the rules for me. That’s not even really what this letter’s about. Today triggered a lot of emotions inside of me and I just needed to tell someone. I’m sorry it was you that I told all of this to because I’m sure you have a lot of other things to be doing than reading this. I don’t want you to do anything about what I’ve said. I suppose I just wanted you to see my side of things.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you didn’t find it to be annoying or attention seeking. Because believe me, in no way was that was the intent behind it.
I was obviously quite confused about my gender at this stage. As I’ve stated before, I didn’t really know that transitioning was a viable option. I wasn’t suffering or upset about this confusion. In the back of my mind I think I was aware that I had stuff to figure out about myself. But I was young and I was enjoying my life. I wasn’t ready to take myself very seriously while most of my conversations with my friends consisted of gossip or our plans to get dressed up and sneak into the local pub the following weekend. I was taking my life one day at a time and I don’t regret that way of life. It was just another way that I had learned to survive.
Watch my video on How To Feel Good in the Wrong Body below:
Read my post about patronising young people here.