My Note: This is not just about hair. This is such a universal truth for all transgender individuals. Well stated with a happy ending.
By: Charlotte Clymer*
I did the things I was told a “male person” should do, believing I’d eventually be cleansed of this painful longing. Instead the facade exacerbated my depression and anxiety. I went to therapy for years, had numerous uncomfortable conversations, and came out as a trans woman in late 2017. It is the best choice I’ve ever made. It saved me.
The Story Begins:
Even at six, I knew better. I was raised in deeply conservative Texas, in a world with firmly cemented gender roles. I was a boy and I had better keep to “boy things.” The bouncy ponytail of my dreams? Not a boy thing.
In 1999, when I was 12, the U.S. Women’s National Team won their second World Cup, and Mia Hamm became a personal icon. For weeks I dreamed of what it would be like to have the freedom to sport a ponytail like Hamm's. By then I was fully aware of a desire within me to be a girl, but I kept it buried in the back of my brain, suppressed whenever possible. Still, it sometimes crept up, summoned by the most mundane signifiers of femaleness. Mia Hamm was confident and beautiful and successful, and although I had no sense of what womanhood meant to me, I couldn’t help but feel that her hair represented all the things I was missing. I wanted an authentic life. I wanted to feel confident. I wanted a ponytail.
I got through high school by pushing these thoughts down deep and leaning into whatever “male” things I could stomach. I played football. I engaged in some sort of half-hearted male performance when I interacted with relatives, including one who told me to “stop listening to faggot music” and was deeply upset after I purchased a scented lotion from Bath & Body Works. I joined the military—and even went into the infantry, which at the time coincidentally excluded women.
|Transgender Activist - Charlotte Clymer with Joe Biden|
*Charlotte Clymer is a press secretary at the Human Rights Campaign. She is a writer, military veteran, and proud transgender woman living in Washington, D.C