By Patrouious Anthony Achatz
I was born during Monday Night Football, the Pittsburgh Steelers playing the Dallas Cowboys, in Latrobe, PA. My mother and father wanted to be surprised about my sex. The doctors took less than five seconds to look at my junk and said “Congratulations, it’s a girl!”
But in the 22 years I’ve been alive, I’ve never felt deep inside like I was a girl. I always felt like a boy. Now this was back in 90s when no one even dared to talk about Gender Identity. We were still in the Bill Clinton Era and this was the time when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell took place and the so called “Defense of Marriage Act.” Both laws seemed good at the time because in many states being homosexual was illegal and you couldn’t even serve in the military if you were gay. Even years after Bill Clinton’s presidency, those laws he passed led to LGBTQ+ people facing even more discrimination that was watered down.
When I was four years old, every time I would play with the other children I would constantly say “I’m a boy!”
The children would laugh at me and say “No you’re a girl!” and when their parents were around they would say “It’s okay, honey, it’s just a phase.” Now this was when I was living in a small rural town that was maybe slightly larger than Bradford called Saltsburg. In June of 2002 my grandfather retired after teaching high school English for over thirty years, and so along with my grandparents my mother and I moved to Pittsburgh.
From August 2002 until June 2012 I attended The Avonworth School District. When I was in third grade I asked a girl in my class to marry me and a group of girls came up to me saying “You can’t marry a girl.” “It’s wrong,” the boys said. The girl’s fifth grade brother wanted to give me the birds and the bees talk though I was only eight turning nine and hadn’t even started my first puberty. I not only felt ashamed about feeling like a boy but also for having romantic attractions for girls. So I kept everything hidden and pretended to be a cisgender heterosexual female.
Trying to hide who I truly was wasn’t helping anything. The rumors about me being a lesbian began when I was in sixth grade, all because I’d played softball when I was in fifth grade with a group of mostly sixth and seventh graders. I would constantly deny my attraction for women and get defensive about it. Then when I was in eighth grade and I had started my first YouTube channel called Sologirl505 the internet began calling me words like Lesbo and Dyke and later, tranny.
When I was a sophomore in high school going by the name Ducttaperaver on
YouTube, someone messaged me saying she was a girl one grade below me. She said that she and another girl were fighting over my love. I was flattered and so I messaged the person on Facebook. Later I found out it was someone from the football team at Avonworth High School who kept hearing I was a lesbian and I had made it look like I confirmed it. I was humiliated and had to turn to my friend Lauren. She was the first person I officially came out to as a “lesbian,” but I was still feeling deep inside that I was actually a straight man.
Hiding who I truly was caused so much hurt and pain. It caused me to live with depression and anxiety. At the age of 21 I finally came out as a Transgender Man. Sadly my father and my one half-sister disowned me. Even though I have felt accepted with Christ in Action, LGBTS Alliance, SAC, and SGA there is still a fear of being the next victim because of transphobic violence. There is that fear that if I were to start dating again that my girlfriend and I would both be harassed and could be victims of a hate crime.
I started testosterone in January 2015. When people say I am not a “real man” because of the junk between my legs, or my chromosomes, or my body figure they to me don’t understand that we are in a modern era. They don’t understand that research has been done and that science has proven that children know their own gender identity at a very young age. Studies have shown that there are more than two genders: some cultures even recognize three genders.
So yes I am a real man. I may not have been born biologically male but I am in fact 100% biochemically male. My body parts don’t determine whom I am.