Kristin

Abingdon, VA

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My name is Kristin. I’m a sister, a daughter, a community leader, and I’m also a transgender woman. I was raised as a boy, but I know myself to be a woman. For the longest time, I was scared to tell anyone I am a woman. I remember the night I first admitted to myself that I was transgender. That night I felt a joy I never felt before. Now I feel that joy of self-realization frequently. Talking to the people who had known me for most of my life was not easy. Telling my dad had to be the hardest. To him, I had been a son. My dad had taught me so much of what he thought a man should be. I still honor all he taught, as I feel being strong, supportive, honorable and loving is something that is not tied to gender, but instead learned and earned through a lifetime of lessons and challenges.

My dad wanted to be supportive. He supported me in the ways he knew how. He made sure I knew I was loved. He may never have understood what I meant what I said when I said I was a woman. He never really knew what being transgender meant. But he knew he was proud of me for doing what made me happy, even if that was hard. And I did have a hard time. I had a hard time finding the confidence to let the world see the woman I knew myself to be. I have a very hard time getting the medical care I need as a woman. And I struggle to understand how I fit into a world that seems to not understand me.

But, it has all been worth it: the good, the bad, and even the ugliness I have seen when people who don’t understand me think they know me better than I know myself. I have an amazing family of both those bound to me in blood and bound to me in love. I am seen for the person I am and I am loved by a spouse who knows me and who I have seen blossom and become more of the person they know themself to be. I am thankful for all that have, but I am saddened for all the hurt and discrimination I have seen others endure. I hope that we can ensure all Virginians can get what they need to live their best life, and passing nondiscrimination protections in housing and public employment for transgender people will go a long way towards that.