I spent most of my life feeling like I had no where that I belonged; I didn’t fit in with the boys, and I wasn’t allowed to fit in with the girls. I was alone, adrift, a loaner all through primary school. To protect myself and to try to find somewhere I could exist, I created a personae that fit the male model I saw around me, but it was a poor imitation. He was rude, condescending, cynical and extremely bitter. He thought himself better than everyone else because it was the only way he could keep from feeling worthless. I hated being him every single day, but I saw no other way I was allowed to exist. I walked through life seeing so many things I wanted to pursue and enjoy, and feeling completely cut off from them.

Learning I am trans was like the clouds opening and a shaft of sunlight falling across me. It was like having an owl swoop down my chimney with an invitation to Hogwarts (or more accurately, remodeling a home and finding a dead owl in the blocked off chimney, still clutching the letter). I finally had my answer to why I was so misplaced, why I felt wrong. It released me from all the compulsive masculinity that I had been saddled with all my life and unlocked the gates to personal freedom.

That is what being trans means to me: freedom. Free to be who I really am and to express myself the way I have always wanted. It gave me a community where I belonged, not just as a trans person but as a woman, the woman I’ve always been in my heart. I love the person I have become, love her with every fiber of my being. I can wear what I want, act how I want, talk how I want, without anyone ever again telling me that I am invalid. I can be a girl, I can be me, the high femme, high maintenance diva that I’ve always felt inside, and love myself for doing so. I can give my love to my friends and to my peers without fearing reproach or shame.

Being trans has given me a body that I can feel at home in. A body I can actually care about and try to make better because it is no longer a burden to live in. I cherish my feminine shape, every curve, every roll, every lump. Yes I still want to make adjustments to it, but in the same way one tailors a loved dress that would be perfect if it were just taken in a little here and let out a little there.

Transition gave me a life that was worth living in and made me into a better person. It gave me a joy that I cannot even begin to describe. That is why I choose to be visible, on this day and every other day, because I cannot hide this gift of love.