My name is Alexa. I am a transgender woman from Indiana. I came out at the age of 35, in September of 2021 and began receiving hormone treatments a few weeks later. As our state legislators roll out this slate of hate targeting transgender youth, I wanted to take a moment to share my journey of trans healthcare with you, and how it saved my life.
I originally realized I was transgender when I was 12 years old. I didn't have the language to fully understand myself, and once I did the rhetoric I heard about people like me made me believe it was wrong so I stayed closeted. This lead to a litany of diagnosis for mental health issues, including a struggle with suicidal ideation.
Struggling to understand my role in society, and how uncomfortable I felt in my own skin, I first considered and planned my own suicide at 18 as a senior in high school. I considered it again multiple times for years to come, and every instance was for those same reasons.
In the weeks before I came out, I laid awake at night begging God to kill me because I was afraid I wouldn't be accepted or loved for who and what I am. Thankfully, my loved ones accepted me without conditions. They are a large reason I was able to keep pushing to stay alive and be myself.
After a few months of treatment, my therapist and I started to realize something very promising. Since I had started gender affirming hormone therapy, my mental health improved. My struggles with suicidal ideation started to disappear into the background like a sunset on the beach. I wanted to live. I wanted to go on... I finally could envision myself growing old.
The hormones didn't change my brain, they changed my body to finally match my brain. And, the more I saw the real me in the mirror, the more my anguish faded. Gender affirming health care literally saved my life.
There is so much misinformation about this care. One of the most harmful false opinions is that we transition because it is "trendy". I know first hand that this is false. I grew up in a family where transphobia ran rampant. Awful jokes were made about trans people. I was repeatedly told, "you'd be an ugly woman!" I was just a teenager when I was told this.
Despite growing up in a household pushing the same hate speech that our state legislature is using today, I remained transgender. I stayed closeted simply out of fear, but I never stopped being trans. I never stopped being me. And I eventually still realized that I needed to be my authentic self, and I came out so that I could start transitioning.
No amount of hate or punishment would have changed me, but it did almost kill me. You cannot change who transgender people are, no matter what age they are. However, you can end up with their blood on your hands. That’s what the slate of hate will do: kill kids. Stop this bill, stop this attack, and start saving lives. We have to protect transgender youth and allow them access to their needed medical care. And we need to do it now.