Abra / Canada
“I am Abra. In grade one, all I wanted was to hang out with the girls, where I felt I belonged. I was shamed for it and forbidden to do so, so I became a loner. I was bullied by the boys until about grade 8, at which point I had learned to form an alliance with a small group of other outsiders. I became a class clown.
I grew up in a fundamentalist Protestant household and community, rather isolated from broader society and culture, so I was at once deeply indoctrinated in a very simplistic, binary, worldview and also kept from developing the vocabulary to help me understand myself. By 17 I left home and church. It took me until the early 2000s to begin exploring who I was and why I felt so disconnected from myself. By this time I had been married to my wife for close to a decade. At first I thought it was all about sexual orientation, so I explored my attraction to both men and women, ultimately identifying as bi or pansexual.
I had always felt feminine, but tried to make sense of it by thinking of myself as a feminine man. But after my wife was severely injured by a careless driver in 2014, I began slipping towards a nervous breakdown. I had to give up my small business and become her main caregiver. With my defences worn away, the egg began to crack, and I began to explore my gender. But it wasn’t until I reached a point where I began to have suicidal ideation that I knew I had to transition to survive. By the spring of 2016, having done much reading and research, I made an appointment with a gender clinic. That summer I attended my first trans march at Toronto Pride. I began laser hair removal. On October 12th, 2016 I began HRT (hormone replacement therapy). By January 2017 I had changed my name and gender on all government identification, and soon after began voice therapy. On June 26th, 2018 I went to Montreal for GRS/vaginoplasty.
I am so happy, despite it taking me over 40 years, to have been able to transition and to feel happy and whole in my body. I am also privileged to have a wonderful partner by my side throughout my unfolding, to be surrounded by friends who supported me, to have access to lifesaving medical help, and to be able to live and work as the woman I am. I remain visible as light and inspiration to others still struggling.”