‘Even though I was born female, inside, I have always known that I was male. I can remember telling my mom when I was little that I was a boy inside. She didn’t react favorably. So, instinctively, I knew that that was not something people should know about me and that I should hide it. My real first name is Amanda but I started going by Kris when I turned eighteen. Even though I’m really close to my mom and my grandma, they won’t call me Kris even though that’s my middle name. It really bugs me because I’ve never felt like an Amanda. Going by Kris makes me feel so much more comfortable in my own skin.

I wish I could know what my male voice sounds like but, in spite of that, I’ve decided not to transition from female to male. I decided that my husband is more important to me than my body and I’m willing to give up the chance to feel comfortable with my body as long as I can be with him. What if I transition and I’m still not comfortable with my body? I would lose my husband and still not like my body. We’ve been married for ten years and if I were to transition, we would get divorced. It’s the first time there’s ever been a deal breaker between us. I’m also very close to my mom and my grandma and I know that they would not support me if I were to transition.

Being transgender is not fun. If I could choose between being ‘normal’ or transgender, I would pick normal in a heartbeat because it’s so hard to fight with what society says is normal. There are people out there who exist with so much dysphoria and pain that, if they don’t transition, they are condemning themselves to a death sentence. Those people are the ones I really feel for. But I’ve lived with my decision not to transition for a long time. I’ve pushed my male self down as far as I can and I know it’s possible to live as a female. I’m finding ways to be happy even if I’m not the right gender for me. I accidentally came out to my son as transgender when he was nine. He asked me what the letters LGBT stood for. He asked me if I was any of those things and I explained, ‘Yes, I am transgender but that I am not transitioning. That’s why I have short hair and don’t like to wear dresses or makeup. So, I’m just a little bit different from other moms.’ He said to me, ‘That’s OK, Mom. I like you being different.”

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