What matters is that you have the agency to decide how and when to do it
By Lake Geslani, Lambda Legal Digital Content Manager
I was born into this world twice in the month of May.
On May 28, my mom gave birth to me in a hospital. She remembers it being a hot and stormy Thursday in New York City.
On May 10, decades later, I received my first testosterone shot at an LGBTQ+ health clinic. I remember it as the first day of my new life.
Seven months prior to my first T-shot, I was outed to friends, family, and coworkers by my then-partner. I started socially transitioning immediately afterwards because I felt that I had to — not so much for myself, but for others.
I quickly chose a new name, cut my hair, and chucked out my old clothes.
As time went on, however, the fact that I was outed and pushed into this new way of living before I was even ready, ate away at me. I began thinking about taking back control of my life, my identity, and my body.
Who was Lake, anyway? What kind of man did he want to be? What did he look like? Sound like? Dream of?
Days and nights of reflections eventually led to an epiphany: I needed to define my own transness on my own terms. That’s when I decided to start my hormone therapy journey.
So, the following year, during the second week of May, I trekked two hours by train up to Callen-Lorde in the Bronx. There, an amazing doctor well-versed in gender-affirming health care administered my first testosterone shot.
The injection into my thigh was quick and simple, but it represented a world of possibility and a future I never thought I could have.
Long before I learned the language for my body, I’d always known that I was a boy.
May 10, 2018 will always be the day that I came out to myself and saw myself for the very first time. The day that I chose to open and walk through the door to my new life as a transgender man.
There is no one way to come out, and as my story shows, it’s usually not a linear process. It actually wasn’t even until two years after that first T-shot that I mailed out handwritten letters to family members all over the country, officially introducing them to Lake.
When it comes to coming out, what really matters at the end of the day is that you get to decide how and when you do it. Even if other people try to take that from you, your story is your own to tell.
In much the same way, there is no official set of actions for transitioning, and it looks different for everyone. Not every trans person undergoes hormone therapy, nor is hormone therapy necessary for transness.
What is necessary, however, is that everyone has access to hormone therapy and other forms of gender-affirming medical care.
It made my life, and saved my life.
Read more of our blogs here, including recent pieces on Banned Books Week, Latinx Heritage Month, and Bisexual+ Awareness Week.