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A glimpse into Emily Iannielli's transgender life

Updated on January 1, 2015

Who is Emily and what is life like for her

.I am a very sensitive person and have lived a very sheltered life. I have struggled with shyness and insecurity my whole life. I also felt very different inside my mind, heart and soul. I could not understand why I felt this way and it took me a long time to figure it out. I had a good upbringing but I felt very lonely and isolated. I could not understand my feelings but I knew that I had to keep it to myself and I always feared that someone would eventually find out so I kept my inner feelings inside telling no one, not even my parents. I tried to fit in and conform to be and act like the boy I was born as but I was extremely sad and depressed. I never felt comfortable or happy. I pretended to be but I was miserable and in great pain.

It took me awhile to figure out what was going on with me. I was only happy dressing as a girl which I did in secrecy. It was very comforting and made me feel happy with myself. I wished I could talk about my feelings with my parents but I was very scared and unsure how they would react to me. It was very frustrating having such feelings and not being able to share them with my family or my friends. Imagine not being able to express your true self. It really is sad and extremely painful and completely cuts you off from establishing healthy relationships.

I had a hard time in school and relating to others as a boy. I was very envious of the girls and so wanted to be like them. I used to dream and pray that one day I would awake to become the sweet and pretty girl I felt I always was in my heart and soul. I was only 3 years old when I knew there was something wrong with the way I felt and it was very confusing and heartbreaking. I cried a lot to myself and when I did smile I was pretending to cover up my tears of sadness.

Growing up I had very few friends and I pretty much kept to myself. I always lived sharing this big secret about myself trying desperately to fit in and find my way. I never could dress the way I truly wanted so I withdrew from everyone and just felt hopeless never feeling I would find true happiness or friendship.

I was 14 years old when I realized what was going on with me. I used to go to the library to learn about others who felt the way I did and I remember coming across a book about someone who identified as a female even though they were born male. I was very intrigued and started to read the book and that was when I came to realize what I felt all along in my heart. I learned I was transsexual. I didn't know the word transgender at the time but I fell under that classification and I also identified as a female even though I was born male. I was confused but felt I made a breakthrough and was relieved to finally understand my situation.

When I became a teenager I felt very awkward and I struggled with going through male puberty. I was very depressed and very jealous of the girls at that time in my life. I remember being so desperate and heartbroken. I just wanted to die and finally be out of the pain I felt since I was a 3 year old little boy wishing he were a little girl. I even considered suicide but I really wanted to live and just be accepted as I felt which was a girl. I obviously realized that I would have a life long struggle with my gender but I tried to hold on and just try to find the strength to go on as I didn't want to hurt my parents. I loved them but wish I felt comfortable enough to tell them. Unfortunately I never did and that makes me feel very sad.

I did manage to get through my teenage years and was cross dressing often to escape into my own world and to be the girl I knew I was. I only cross dressed in private and also underneath my male clothing. I felt more at ease wearing girls clothes. It made me feel very happy. I realized as I was nearing young adulthood I would have to make many decisions and sadly I did not have the opportunity to explore transitioning. I was too busy with college plans and what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

I managed to go on to college and eventually work but cross dressing was always a big part of my life even though it was in secret. I lived in the closet all my life. I never dated because I felt very awkward about my personal situation. I was caught up with working and was very isolated with very few friends. My mother battled depression and was in and out of hospitals many times. She eventually succumbed to her depression and died at age 49. This was very devastating to me and pushed me into therapy. I opened up with my therapist at this time. I was 29 when I lost my mom and I started to see a therapist at age 33 after losing my job. At that time I was single and wanted to explore transitioning from male to female. After seeing my therapist for a few years she suggested I try dating before considering transitioning. She introduced me to a shy girl who was from the Philippines. I finally summoned the courage to ask her for a date. After a while of going out we decided to marry and after marriage we had a son.

I was very happy and I thought this would help rid myself of my transgender feelings but eventually I found myself secretly cross dressing again despite having a wife and son. I really tried to hide my feelings and suppress them but it was very difficult for me. Eventually my wife found out about my cross dressing and she was very unhappy about it. I still managed to continue doing it and even wore dresses underneath my men's suits. No one ever knew but me. I was very closeted and felt trapped. I was trying to be the best husband and father I could be. My son was diagnosed with autism so that was always a constant concern for us. I was very stressed out about my son's situation, my work, my relationship with my wife and our financial situation. As a result my cross dressing intensified.

My dad was a big part of our life and visited us many times and spent a lot of his time with our son Matthew. I never told him about my transgender issues because he had his own struggles with depression and alcoholism. The most difficult time for me was when I learned my dad committed suicide. I was in shock and devastated. I was able to eventually get through it with the help of a good friend which made a big difference. Sadly he died two years later in his sleep at the age of 40 leaving behind a wife and beautiful baby girl. After going to his wake I was devastated and needed to start going back for therapy. After seeing my therapist I shared my transgender feelings which we focused on and after several sessions it dawned on me that I had to go forward with transition from male to female. I had no choice. I realized life was uncertain and I needed to be true to myself. It was a very difficult decision and I certainly knew it wasn't going to be easy. I certainly was concerned for my wife and son.

I eventually had to come out to my employer which was difficult and it did not go well and eventually I lost my job as a result. I managed to find another job opportunity where they accepted me in the female gender but I was terminated after only 7 months on the job. This put me into the hospital due to having a complete emotional breakdown. I wound up spending time in many hospitals for severe depression, suicide ideation and my transgender related issues.

Most recently I was in Nassau University Medical Center 3 weeks ago after posting a video on youtube claiming I was planning to commit suicide. This landed me in the hospital for a week as someone saw my video and called 911 on my behalf. I am eternally grateful to them as I certainly needed to spend this time in the hospital.

My son is doing well in school and is very accepting of my situation. My wife quietly accepts my situation. I am out of work recovering from bi-polar disorder and continuing with my male to female transition with hopes of eventually having gender reassignment surgery to construct a fully functioning vagina which would make me feel very happy finally.

I will always be a father to my son but I need to do this for my own well being otherwise I will lose my desire to go on. I need to transition to become the woman I always knew I should be since I cried myself to sleep as a 3 year old little boy hoping to be a little girl. My hope is that people come to understand and accept transgender individuals for who they are.


Emily Iannielli

Emily Iannielli


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