Transitioning by Nathan Connolly My journey started on June 18th 2017 when I was thirteen years old. I remember the day quite specifically, it was exactly a week after I had started seeing a therapist because I’d had dark thoughts, these thoughts were caused because I had a secret. I knew this secret would have to be revealed very soon. I would have to come out to my family. But I wasn’t quite sure how. It was Father’s day and we had just come back from dinner, we were all sitting in the living room and I blurted out “Mum, Dad I’m trans”. They both looked at me in shock as if I had just said I had killed someone. My mother suggested it may be some kind of “phase,” but I knew it wasn’t a phase, because I had been feeling this way for a long time, but I had never quite known how to put it into words. I think I was scared I would be a disappointment and I suppose for a while it felt like I actually was. This all happened at the start of the summer so I had the holidays to readjust to life with a new name and new pronouns. Most people were lovely about it, but teenagers will be teenagers and many just wanted to laugh, so I decided to let them, because for me to become this new person, the true version of myself, I had to face the fact that there would be hate and some people who simply wouldn’t accept me. Back then I didn’t really know what self love felt like, because I was so focused on hating myself for not being perfect. Being set free to be me over the past two and a half years, has really made me feel and recognise self love. My school was accepting straight away, my teachers were asked to call me Nathan and to use the pronouns he and him and they all did this without a moment's hesitation. This made me feel like I finally belonged somewhere. My friends were also immediately accepting of my coming out and they instantly clicked to the idea of calling me Nathan. That helped my confidence a lot because I barely passed as male at the time, but once I started working on my self esteem, I didn’t really care anymore if I passed or not. It was in my second year at secondary school when my attendance started to drop off. This made everything a bit more difficult. In October of 2018 my parents began to call me Nate and decided they were going to try harder to overcome the whole name and pronoun issues They finally gave me permission to go onto the hormone waiting list. they even let me go to a private doctor, but because I was under the age of 18 the treatment couldn’t happen straight away. The waiting list is currently 19 months. It’s a long and torturous wait, but at the same time I know it will be worth it in the end. For my Junior Cert English CBA, I talked to my class about living as a transgender person and how it had changed my life for the better, I got the highest mark possible and it made me finally believe that maybe me being trans wasn’t such a bad thing. School is still challenging to this day, as everyone has good days and bad days, but you just have to be positive and keep going because from what I have learned over the past two and a half years, if you put your mind to something, you can achieve anything. My Junior Cert was certainly not the easiest exam I’ve ever done because of my erratic attendance, but I am proud of my results and how far I’ve come. My favourite quote is from Abraham Lincoln, he said,“Whatever you are, be a good one.'' I am proud to say I am a good me, and that is all that matters. Currently it is 2020 and I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I truly believe that this is going to be my year, because if this transgender journey has taught me anything, it is not to let the little things get to me and to have no regrets, and that is the way I’m living my best life. 60

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