Representation — accurate, diverse, honest representation — is incredibly important for everyone, but especially for those people in the LGBTQ community. As a trans woman, you could even say I was lucky in some ways. However distorted their image was, the existence of trans women was at least acknowledged in the society I grew up in. Had I been a trans man, or nonbinary, I wouldn’t have known that there was anyone like me at all.
We are all born knowing nothing, and we have no choice for the most part but to believe what we are told. And when what we are being told doesn’t fit with what we know of ourselves, that dissonance is incredibly painful. I was told that I was a boy, and that boys’ minds had certain characteristics, certain interests, desires, dreams and tendencies. I knew that my mind didn’t work that way, but in the absence of any other option, I could only assume that I was a failed, flawed boy. And that belief, planted in me so deep and so early, took decades to let go of — and for all that time it made me miserable; robbed me of confidence, self-worth, optimism, hope.