I never got the chance to come out. My parents looked through my phone and saw texts from my best friend calling me “son,” and me asking her if she had an extra room I could stay in if I got kicked out. A few months later, my mom got over the fact that she was only going to have to buy one wedding dress. I would call that a win myself, but hey, I’m a guy.
Let’s just start from the beginning. Eighteen years ago, at the beginning of summer, I was born. My parents moved to Spanish Fork soon after, and then to American Fork. I can say that that is where my life starts. Life wasn’t complicated. We were just a sweet little Mormon family. Until age six, everything was just a glossed-over happiness. I was a bit of a trouble child, but I kept some of that hidden from my own parents and teachers.
I was suicidal as a kid, even though other adults in my life would say I was always so happy and outgoing. That was the ADHD; I was a compulsive liar, stole a few things, but however my parents punished me, it never actually stuck.
I was so depressed as a child that I can only say that hate ruled my life. I hated myself, my friends, my parents, my relatives. I attempted to hang myself from my bed at seven years old.
It almost worked, but then I remembered that my parents were home. I didn’t let anybody know about that pretty much until I was 17.
I went to a private school until sixth grade. I moved around Utah County several times during middle and high school and often had a hard time making friends, but I did make a few close friends that I could confide in. In eighth grade I had dirty blond hair reaching close to my waist, and I would just sit in class with my head resting on my hands and my hair over my face. That was when I met my best friend Krystal in English class. She brought me slightly more out of my shell.
I had had crushes on boys since first grade. I had my first “relationship,” which lasted three days, in ninth grade, with somebody who is still a really good friend. I remember that I was starting to see some LGBT+ representation in my school that year. I witnessed somebody transition a little bit. He was similar to me -- long hair, shy, not very happy or talkative. His hair was gone that year, and he was getting body hair. At the time, that went right over my head.
I cut my hair sometime during the school year to a little above my shoulders. People laugh at what I used to look like; I look so different now. I had come out to Krystal by that point. Just a “Hey Krystal, I think I’m transgender” text, and something like an, “Oh, ok I’m so happy for you dude,” back. We tried coming up with names ourselves, because as all LGBT+ kids are with very religious parents, I was scared. My parents couldn’t seem to figure out what was going on in my life that year.
My high school started a GSA my junior year. Two students fought tooth and nail with the school board to get it up and running. That year I started to talk to some people online about my being transgender, and was starting to remove the protective facade of mild homophobia. That year I made an effort to not let very many people know my name. It being my second year at the school, I gained more and more friends, but there are still people that can’t remember me as anything other than Masen.
It wasn’t until later, though, that my parents found out.
I never got the chance to come out. I was planning to do it in December. In November 2015, my parents looked through my phone and got some clues from texts from Krystal calling me “son,” and my texts to her asking if she had an extra room I could stay in if I got kicked out.
They waited for a Tuesday when my younger sister was at gymnastics practice, and called me out to the front room. I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I came into the living room, and saw my mom in tears, and my dad looking rather confused and angry. The conversation was mostly “I don’t know”s and tears by me. I honestly can’t remember much more than my dad asking some “Why” questions. Our family got so tense after that. One of my grandmothers admitted recently that she had thought that I was on drugs. My parents didn’t mention anything about our conversation at Thanksgiving that month.
My mom at some point during the next few months commented that she had thought I had only joined the GSA because I was “a nice person.” In January, my sister had caught on a bit. Sometimes she would slip a note under the door, asking if I was doing alright, wishing me some type of luck, and they would just make me cry more. In February my parents gave me the choice to come out to my sister. One Sunday, we all went for a walk, and I took my sister on a different route. She was expecting my coming out somewhat and took the news well at first, not asking too many questions. But for a little over a month after that, she totally withdrew -- leaving her room minimally, not much contact with us, not as much with friends. The whole time, I knew that she was just processing it, but it scared me so bad and stressed me out. I thought that I was losing my little sister over myself.
My parents were still willing to cut my hair short, and the last two months or so of the school year, my mom got over the fact that she was only going to have to buy one wedding dress. I would call that a win myself, but hey, I’m a guy. What can I say more? She wouldn’t throw away boy’s shirts that I had. That was progress. I still wasn’t allowed to be out at school, though.
I had gotten better at track that school year, but I was still pretty depressed. My parents had worked out about three weeks’ worth of counseling appointments with the insurance, and though for the first one my mom wanted nothing to do with it, by the second, she wanted to be there with me the whole time. Those counseling sessions weren’t much of a help for me; I really only went to them because I wasn’t in any kind of mindset to explain it to my parents. After the few counseling sessions allotted by the insurance coverage, my parents didn’t feel the need for more.
I still wasn’t in a very open mind at that point, where even when they would sit down with me to talk through stuff, I would ugly-cry and not be able to get a word in edgewise.
I wasn’t allowed to transition during junior year. Over the summer, sometimes my dad would let me pick out a shirt from the men’s section at the store. My mom later took a huge step and bought me some men’s shirts and shorts. I was beyond grateful for that single act of love. I wore those shirts so many times at school.
It was around this time that Krystal and I had finally found a name. Masen. My parents liked it after about a month, so they let me use it. My parents finally told my extended family, which was scary. There is only one family that I have had to nix out of my life, but overall very few people rejected me. I was allowed to be out a little at school by the first quarter of my senior year. I told every teacher about my name on the first day of their class, and nobody pitched a fit. And a few months into the school year, I got my first actual binder.
I came out online in December, after talking with my bishop for a long time. It was nerve-wracking but I actually ended up gaining lots of popularity from it. I have been so much happier since then. I ran track this year and I ended the school year scrambling for graduation. I got into SLCC, and am taking a summer math class and a rock climbing class. I picked soccer back up after a year without it. I feel more invigorated this time than before.
I’m really just a normal kid. I know Danish, I do accents for some reason, I play multiple sports, I’m short, I’m scared sometimes, and I’m really too confident. I have five pets. I hope I can do well in college. I’m going to major in psychology, and am going to at least get my Associate’s degree, probably Bachelor’s, depending on what road life takes me down.