Alec Gray, 21, who grew up in the Glasgow area as a girl, explains his transition to becoming a man
At a young age I felt like I was a normal child.
My parents didn't make me wear any clothes I didn't want to or play with gender specific toys. I could be anything that I wanted, wear anything that I felt like, be who I wanted to be.
School was a different matter however. My primary school made the girls wear skirts and I wasn't at all happy with this idea.
I would be dragged to school in a nice ironed skirt and bright white socks and at the end of the day, after all the climbing trees and kicking footballs and stomping through mud, I would return home with yoghurt stains across my skirt and socks caked in mud.
At that time I never saw myself as a girl. I always played with the boys; whether it was wrestling on the grass or rolling down the hill or a little football in the field.
Where there were dresses and skirts, there were tears and tantrums. Weddings, school, birthdays; you name it.
All of these and more have genderisation where girls are expected to wear make-up and dresses or something of the sort. I was made to "look pretty" going to many of these and I probably didn't because I wasn't comfortable and my un-amused face showed that.
At the age where your parents stopped dressing you and everyone wore what was popular was a somewhat awkward period for me.
Instead of being myself and dressing how I liked, I caved to social conformity and was a sheep to current fashion, fluttering around the corridors of my high school. I didn't feel myself at all, as though I was pretending to be something I wasn't.
After I left school and gained different interests, it was an entirely different ballgame. I felt as though no one could judge me in this vast world outside the concrete walls of the school.
I was happier about myself, if even a little. I dressed how I wanted, cut my hair as I saw fit and had friends that had the same interests as me rather than in the same class.
It was then I started to question my gender. I had no idea what the term 'transgender' meant and I found out through the mass of videos on You Tube, coming across a vlog of a transgender person.
It was then I researched the term, finding that the definition fit me perfectly. I then knew what I had to do, and that was to 'transition'.
I changed my name, came out to my family and friends, and referred myself to a Gender Identity Clinic. It's not the easiest thing in the world to do.
There are many hoops that a number of trans people have to jump through in order to receive hormone treatment or surgery to make them more comfortable with their own body. There's a waiting list to even get seen by the clinic on the NHS.
In my case, it took ten months to get my first appointment. I also started to attend the Trans Youth Scotland group (part of LGBT Youth Scotland), which I was a little wary about at first.
But after getting my first meeting over and done with and meeting everyone there, it felt like I had gained another family, one that understood me more than the average person ever could.
I've just started this journey to become the person that I am on the inside. Even though it's a long and winding road, at the end I'll be a much happier person and I'll be me.
In this video, using my nickname Chibi, I talk about my Dad. Knowing that out there in the world there are trans people with no support, I felt that having such a good support in my family and friends meant a lot.
My Dad has supported me throughout my life, through the normal ups and downs. When I came out to him as a transgender person, he was very understanding and told me that I could do anything as long as it made me happy - and that's just what I plan to do.
Read Chibi's A girl to a Man blog here.
For further information:
LGBT Youth Scotland is the largest youth and community-based organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Scotland. They hold regular Trans Youth groups for young people who identify as transgender or are gender variant.
All About Trans is a project run by On Road, a not-for-profit organisation that works in partnership with communities to solve social problems using the web and the media. All About Trans is about encouraging better understanding between media professionals and transgender people and inspiring more accurate and sensitive representation in print, broadcast and online media in the UK.
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