For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be like a girl. I can remember dressing up in my sister's clothes and playing with my mother's makeup at a very young age, probably around age four or five. I remember that it just felt good to me. I felt more comfortable being like a girl and being treated like a girl. I enjoyed playing with dolls with my sister much more than I enjoyed sports or other typical boyhood activities. I can also remember being attracted to both males and females at that age. I was certainly very curious about my male and female playmates. I had an unusually keen understanding of sexual acts by the time I was in the first grade (age six). I can remember experimenting with a number of my male playmates just doing what felt good. I experimented the most with my best friend in the first grade. I even remember once telling him that I wanted him to be my boyfriend. I really enjoyed role-playing sexually with him with us as characters from a favorite movie or video game of ours, always with him as a male character and myself as a female. It just felt right to me that way. I remember vividly that I thought of these experiences as deliberate sexual acts at the time, so I suppose that my mind just developed in that way very early. I'm sure that I had heard of things from older kids, but I wasn't molested by anyone or anything like that. On the contrary, I remember being the instigator of sexual experimentation with my playmates in every instance. I'm sad to say that I knew exactly what I was doing and I knew that I had to be secretive about it so that adults wouldn't stop my activities. I also looked at male and female pornography on the internet when I was a little bit older. I was too young to masturbate, but looking at it helped to satisfy what was a well developed sexual desire at this point.
I stopped dressing up in my sister's stuff and experimenting with playmates by about the second or third grade. I remember getting talks from my parents about how boys didn't go around in girls' clothing. The friends I had experimented with told me that they didn't want to do it anymore. So, in the interest of not getting beat up at school for being the boy who did such things, I just stopped doing them and kept my feelings about feeling feminine and being attracted to guys to myself. Oddly enough, I still kept playing with dolls with my sister until I was twelve or so and threatened her with harm should she tell anyone. I think my parents may have helped persuade her too in the interest of protecting me from bullies. I remember my father making many attempts during my childhood to get me interested in sports, Boy Scouts, and other typical boy activities. I tried some things for a little while, but always ended up giving up activities because they just didn't hold that much interest for me. I really didn't feel much kinship with my male peers and I had developed into quite the stereotypical nerd at the time, so I didn't get much attention from my female peers either. So, I just became very antisocial.
I did develop some good friendships with fellow unpopular kids in late elementary school and middle school (about ages ten through thirteen). I even had a couple girlfriends among them. I didn't have the first clue about dating at the time, so they weren't very developed relationships. Hormones were really starting to crank up at thirteen and with that came masturbation. I didn't know what to make of it, but I seemed to think about guys more than I thought about girls. By this time, I had heard the whole deal about how most religions considered homosexuality wrong, but I didn't pay that much heed since I didn't really have any defined beliefs about God at the time and my family had never been religious at all. So, I didn't feel the need to feel bad about my strong attraction to males. However, I felt very alone because I had no one that I could even think of talking to about it.
When I was fourteen, I accepted that I was bisexual and that God had to be okay with that since He made me that way. I also secretly started dressing in my mother's and sister's clothes. It felt so wonderful to wear that clothing. I felt comfortable and confident being feminine. However, I became very depressed because I felt very at odds with the world around me and how my family and peers would view me if they knew my desires. So, I started making friends over the internet who were also gay or bisexual. Developing friendships with them helped me get out of depression and not feel so alone. By the time I was sixteen, I was regularly hanging out with those friends and dating men. I felt comfortable crossdressing and acting feminine around them. I could just be myself and not care about what the world might think. It wasn't too long before my parents found out about my activities, and after some heart to heart talks and also some very harsh statements from my end, they accepted me for who I was and how I wanted to live my life. I had become very rebellious in my previous depression, so I just kept on and really didn't give them any choice. I often threatened them with hurting myself if they didn't just let me do what I wanted.
I developed my feminine identity a lot that year and often found myself thinking of how much I would like to be feminine all the time and not just when I could get away with my friends and boyfriends. Sex felt good, but it always seemed awkward in some way. I eventually realized that I really just didn't feel like a guy in any way. I did some research and quickly found that there were others who felt like me and who had the same feelings of wanting to be like the opposite sex that I had since childhood. I accepted that I was a transsexual female (also called a male-to-female transsexual or transgendered female) and that I had Gender Identity Disorder, which is the diagnosis used by psychologists and psychiatrists to describe these feelings. I sat my parents down and told them about all of this. In my typical style, I informed them about what I felt and what I was going to do about it regardless of what they thought. I told them that I wished to take estrogen to make my body more feminine and have sex reassignment surgery to make my genitals appear female. They were rightfully more than a little worried. They weren't familiar with such things, but at my insistence, they became educated. After hearing from a couple psychologists who supported my decision, they came to support me in my desire to live as a woman.
At seventeen, I started dressing as a woman all the time. I had been homeschooling since I had fallen into depression at fifteen, so being out in the community wasn't an issue. I also started taking a testosterone blocker and estrogen, which effectively stopped my male puberty and started changing my body through the redistribution of fat to be more feminine (face, breasts, thighs, butt, etc.). I also got a court order from a sympathetic judge to have my name and gender legally changed. I graduated high school a year early, and headed to college two states away where no one knew me and I could live freely as Desiree. I was completely enabled to live as a woman. At eighteen, I had sex reassignment surgery to remove my male genitals and have the appearance of a vagina. I was so happy. For the previous year, I had mostly avoided sexual activity because it felt so awkward still having male genitals, but now I was completely free to be how I wished in every setting.
I went off the deep end and loved every minute. I had sex with lots of people, male and female, some good friends and others complete strangers. I dressed in provocative clothing and ate up every compliment and sexual advance that I received. I had a number of boyfriends and girlfriends; mostly boyfriends and the girlfriends were on the tomboyish side. It worked better that way for me because I could be the feminine one in the relationship. I identified as agnostic, so I ignored any implications that what I was doing could be wrong. I figured that God made me with the desires that I felt, so I was perfectly justified in acting on them. My entire life had become one big lie. I lied to myself and I believed every word.
It was as I was graduating college in May 2009 at age twenty-two that I really reflected on what my life had become. I realized that I felt a void in my life that no relationship had been able to fill. I realized that I envied my friends who were Christian and seemed to have a higher purpose in life. So, I resolved that I would give the Bible a fair shot, despite knowing that it did not speak well of my chosen lifestyle. I had pretty much burnt out on sex at this point and realized that it was unhealthy to base my feelings of self-worth on who was attracted to me, so I didn't mind the prospect of cutting out the casual sex and possibly even waiting for marriage. I even figured that I could maybe accept not having homosexual relationships anymore, which in my mind meant not dating girls anymore. It was certainly too far of a leap in my mind to accept that God wouldn't understand my feelings about being female born in the wrong body. So, as I started reading the Bible, I approached every passage talking about how women and wives should act as applying to me. However, I had a nagging doubt in the back of my mind that I just might be wrong. Maybe I really was a man in the eyes of God after all. The thought of going back to living as a man again was incredibly painful. There would be no way that I could possibly do that after all I'd been through, right? However, being the seeker of truth that I always had been, I resolved that I would seek the truth, whatever it may be. Over the summer following my graduation, I read scriptures and thought about this a lot. Though it hurt to even think about, I realized that being a Christian might mean living as a man as God created me.
As lost as I felt, I realized that I should probably find a church to go to. I briefly considered going to a very liberal church that wouldn't raise any issues about however I wanted to live, but quickly rejected this idea since that would just defeat the point of wanting to truly follow the Bible. So, I talked to a Christian friend of mine who I'd met while in college about his church. I'd moved to Orlando, Florida after college, so he suggested that I try the local sister church of his church back in our college town. I looked up the details about the Orlando Church of Christ and showed up one Sunday. My first impression was of how incredibly friendly everyone was. I felt so welcomed. I quickly started making friendships with some of the sisters and a few of them volunteered to study the Bible with me. However, I quickly realized that I was being deceitful by hiding the fact that I was not the average female. So, I went to one of the female leaders and poured my heart out. I told her that I didn't know what to do but that I wanted to do what God wanted me to do, even if it hurt to do it. I was ready to accept that I really was a man and not a woman as I had previously convinced myself.
The next few months involved a lot of Bible study and a lot of advice from various leaders (Thank you Guy!). I realized that living as a man again was the only way to let go of my sinful life and give myself over to God. I knew that it was going to hurt so much to go against my heart's deepest desires of living as a woman and dating men, but living my life for God had become my greatest desire. I decided to cut my hair short because I loved my long hair and took a lot of pride in how feminine it made me look. I got rid of my feminine clothes and started wearing masculine clothes. I started going by my birth name, Brandon, again. I was determined to live as a man, as I was meant to. On October 18, 2009, I was baptized in front of the entire church. I shared with everyone about how God's love and mercy had inspired me to live as I was meant to. I was received by my brothers and sisters with a tremendous amount of love and encouragement.
I'm not going to say that life was easy right after baptism because that would be a giant lie. I struggled every single day with wanting to live as a woman and wanting to date men. I felt such intense pain in my heart some days that life just seemed hopeless. It was so painful to think of how I had mutilated the body that God gave me and how I would never be able to undo that. However, despite the challenges that I faced, I can honestly say that my life was the most fulfilling and joyful that it had ever been. I had a relationship with my Father in heaven that was so much greater than any relationship that I could possibly have had with someone on earth. Living for Him and obeying His will for me was so much more fulfilling than following any of my own sinful desires ever had been. I was brought to my knees and humbled whenever I felt the pull of sin because I knew that Jesus died on the cross for those sins so that I may be forgiven. God knows what is best for me because He is perfect, so I put my trust in Him. His love made me strong when I was weak and gave my comfort when I was sorrowful. I didn't know what the future held for me, but I was confident because I put it completely in His hands. It was the best decision that I ever made.
I hope that my story has been encouraging to you. Please know that there is nothing that God can't handle and there is no one that is too broken for him to show mercy and love.
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