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My Personal Struggle as transgender

Updated on March 2, 2015

I knew I was different since age 3

The name I use today, though not legal is Emily and I have always identified as the female gender though I was born male. I know from personal experience what being transgender is all about and the difficulty, heartache and pain associated with knowing your body does not match your mindset, I always felt society was and still is very narrow minded in their expectations of how a child should develop and be raised at birth solely on their physical characteristics and not what they believe in their mind, heart and soul.For most children this is not an issue as they are very comfortable with their body and how they perceive themselves. They may exhibit traits that are considered masculine and feminine which explains sensitivity in some boys and "rough and tumble" in some girls.This is normal but transgender children don't see it that way at all.

When I was a child I always felt comfortable around the girls because I always felt that was my destiny to be one of them even though I was very different and knew it. I can't tell you how many times I cried myself to sleep desperately hoping and wishing that by some miracle I would wake up and be a girl. I felt like I was going crazy and at the age of 16 I tried to overdose on aspirin but all I experienced was a bad stomach ache and managed to survive my struggle although I was in deep pain and could not tell anyone. I was a very sad and painfully shy child and depressed most of my life and what saved me was the love of my parents though I could never tell them what I was going through because my mom and dad suffered in their life with depression and my dad also battled alcoholism but they still were very devoted to my two sisters and I.

I survived my gender dysphoria by wearing girls clothes which I did all throughout my life and I knew as early as 3 years old that I was very different but I did not know what to do about it so I lived in what I felt was a fake reality where I pretended and lied about who I truly was. I had to live as a boy and deal with the pain and isolation that many transgender youth experience. I did have two things that helped me get along and find some friends as a boy. They were baseball and my devotion to my school work. I was encouraged to do my best and I also was gifted with the natural ability to play baseball and other sports. So I was accepted as one of the boys but this was a facade. This was not truly who I was inside.

I always wanted to dress as a girl and loved to look at myself in the mirror wearing a dress and as I mentioned I started doing so at a young age. I truly knew in my heart, mind and soul I was a girl but there was nothing I could do about it. I was trapped and I suffered all throughout my life for my perception of who I truly was. I felt betrayed to be a boy with a girl's mindset, girl's feelings and girl's emotions. I was a complete mess and I had no one to help me sort it out. I had to live with this virtually all my life.

I have also been blessed with many good things as I was accepted by people but that was based on their perceptions of me as a boy and as I grew into adulthood as a male. I had to overcompensate and pretend all my life but deep down I was crying and in pain. When I was growing up I knew I had a major dilemma that I had to deal with but the time I was a young child growing up we lived in entirely different times where society was much more narrow minded then it is today and you dare not say a word if you felt at odds with your body and your gender identity.

I knew I wanted to live as a girl as early as the age of 7 but I grew up in a different generation and I was unable to communicate this to my family or anyone for that matter and it really broke my heart. I don't know the statistics today but I believe that a lot more young male to female transgender children are coming out much earlier then I ever could and luckily many have the love and support of their families which truly is a blessing so they can be spared the pain of what transgender adults like myself have gone through.

I tried to live by the rules as a male and I was very fortunate to marry a beautiful and special woman and become a father of a son I love dearly and forge a career for myself but I never could resolve my gender dysphoria which became my lifetime struggle and continues to be for me. I can't escape the fact that I have a male body but a female mind and female core identity and I recognized this at the very young age of 3.

I think young male to female transgender children today are very lucky to have such caring parents who accept them and are doing what they feel is appropriate and I feel the transgender kids truly are girls and deserves to live their lives as girls and not have to go through male puberty which for me was truly heart breaking and really damaged my emotional well being and outlook on life. I was truly struggling all my life with my sex and my gender identity and I could never reconcile it in my mind, my heart or my soul.

I also was very blessed in that I actually managed to study Mechanical engineering and follow up with an accounting degree and become a CPA. I have struggled despite all my good fortune with my gender situation and depression for a lifetime and have also battled guilt in my decision to finally accept my female gender and start the process to transition from male to female at the age of 51. I am currently on female hormones and had started a new job where I was accepted from day one as Emily but sadly my world came crashing down on me when I was let go after only 7 months and I put forth my best effort.

I have since struggled to live life and tried to take my life just a month ago. I am still struggling with depression and I feel very guilty about my transgender situation because I have a son and I feel very conflicted. I feel sometimes we live in pain and just have to do our best to survive. I dress as a woman in my life outside of the house but my contact with the outside world is very limited now given my jobless situation and I feel very vulnerable as I am battling depression, being out of work, identifying as female and living a male life at home for the safety and well being of my son who is autistic and a female life outside in the world but as of now I am very isolated and feel like I will most likely be out of work for a while due to a bad economy and the likelihood of facing discrimination in the job market for my transgender situation and most likely I will lose my house in the process and may decide my life is not worth the pain any more though I still have so much to live for.

The only thing that could save my family concerning the house and prevent them from being homeless which would ease my mind is knowing 2 of my life insurance policies will pay out due to the two year suicide clause. I would gladly sacrifice my life as Emily to save my family and give them some measure of financial security in my absence and i would finally be at peace but the reality is I truly do want to live to see my son do well and graduate high school and hopefully go on to college and find happiness in his life and enjoy the joys of friendship.

I know the feeling of losing a loved one to suicide and it really hurts deeply and no matter what you go through you will always feel responsible and I just can't put my son or family through that but the desperation I feel is very real.

I have really suffered recently with self esteem, confidence and I have lost my whole trust in society and feel so sad because as Emily I am truly happy but I am not receiving the understanding and help that I truly need. I am however seeking medical help and been hospitalized on several occasions as I am very fragile in my mind right now.

The statistics don't lie! The suicide rate amongst transgender individuals is nearly 44% and I heard it could even be as high as 50% which is the highest amongst any group of individual groups. This is a real tragedy and I blame society for this because of their narrow mindedness and their inability to accept differences such as transgender.

It truly is a life struggle and I know because I live it every single day. I just hope one day transgender individuals will be accepted and treated with respect and finally have people and society realize that transgender individuals are good people and should not be afraid and feel they have to live in shadows their whole life. We as a society have to stop all this hatred and discrimination towards transgender individuals or any minority and show respect and admiration.

I live everyday with gender dysphoria. It never goes away. It is my lifetime struggle and it always has been and the real sad thing is that my son also has struggle though vastly different from mine but I know his pain in being autistic and struggling socially and making friends and it just seems a replay of my childhood and I just can't help but cry for my son and I just feel so much to blame for it. I just feel so sad and question why we must suffer so much just because we are different. No one is perfect and we should never judge others just because they don't fit the norm. After all what does normal really mean?

For me normal means living as a female and dressing up. I realize i am not nor could I ever be perfect but that doesn't make me a bad parent or role model to my son as been suggested and I truly feel society and people as a whole are very ignorant as to what gender identity disorder is and the pain and suffering transgender people go through each and every day when they face the mirror or dress for their day. It is a real heart breaker and more people need to understand the pain and struggle and learn not to judge. After all what makes them so special or high and mighty to make lives for transgender individuals intolerable with the emotional pain they inflict.

They should be taught to accept others and appreciate each others differences as that is what truly makes us all so special and defines who we are as people. I feel I have to express my feelings on this to raise awareness for the transgender community and hopefully invoke a little sympathy for our struggle if nothing else. I only wish the best to all the ones going through this struggle and their families who are trying to understand it and cope with it and hopefully try to help their child going through it. They are the ones who need the love and compassion in addition to the understanding and acceptance so they don't grow despondent and feel they have no choice but to end their pain and that sadly is a reality for many who bear this difficult burden. Hopefully our families and God will help us find ourselves and find comfort and peace in our lives despite our transgender identity. Let's pray for all those whose lives were cut short way before they could experience the joy and uniqueness they knew they were dealing with. I just wish I could advocate and have a positive role in helping myself, my son, my wife, my family, my friends and most people in my life and do something special with my life to encourage and inspire my son and help him with his autism with my wife by my side and for those like me who struggle their whole lives as transgender. We can hopefully find peace and happiness in our lives if we believe and surround ourselves with kind and caring people and maintain a positive outlook. I truly am inspired by Jazz's story and I only wish her the best. She is my hero and so is my son.


Emily Iannielli

Emily's birthday video

Emily talking about being transgender


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    • dpercept profile image


      3 years ago from California

      This story is beautiful and I can totally relate to it. I am in the same boat, and I'm not even fully there, but we have to believe that we can get there.

    • ediann profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Thank you Carlotta for sharing your experiences in your transition. I am on estradiol and spironolactone for past 2 1/2 years. It has made a big difference. I wish you the best in your transition. Love, Emily

    • profile image

      Carlotta Sklodowska 

      3 years ago

      I also am transitioning, though I am not actually taking estrogen yet. I must be getting it from something though, because I now have actual boobs (small, but I don't dare shower with men anymore; I jiggle too much) and a booty(although I still have to use pads for saddlebags). I dress and act as female 24/7, except when I have to be with my family, who will only accept me as a male. I don't spend too much time with them anymore. "Your friends are the family you choose for yourself." I have found many accepting female friends through the local Unitarian Universalist Fellowship; they give me pointers about how to be more feminine and dress appropriately for church services (miniskirts may be no more than an inch or two above the knee, most outfits should feature two colors plus an accent color, you don't mix gold and silver jewelry, if you wear high heels, always bring a pair of flats or other comfortable shoes with you in a bag, etc.) I also found ULTA to be excellent for face and hair treatments, they don't charge much more than local beauty shops, and they will treat you just like any of their genuine female customers.

    • Mish McKinney profile image

      Mish McKinney 

      4 years ago from Independence, Kansas

      Wonderful and inspiring

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i salute you for being different and dare to chase your dream. It is hard to control or change your body hormons. You are not wrong, you are being yourself.


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