In honor of LGBT Pride Month, Rosy Delamarter, a 17-year-old patient at Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic, shares her story about discovering her gender identity, the happiness that it brought her, as well as the support she found from friends, family and others in her life during her transition.

For years something inside me felt “off.”

As a little kid I never thought much of the fact that I had been assigned male at birth. Gender roles were equally unimportant in my mind — I played with Hot Wheels and Polly Pocket toys without a second thought. I was a little kid, after all.

It wasn’t until elementary school when I started hanging out with macho, playfully aggressive boys that I became critical of my own gender expression. I didn’t just stop playing with Polly Pocket toys; I was embarrassed that I had ever even touched them. After all, I was a boy, so I was supposed to shoot Nerf guns, punch my friends and gag at everything pink, right?

In junior high I became good friends with some girls at my school, and I slowly started to realize that the way I policed myself when it came to gender was actually making me unhappy. I didn’t like talking to anyone about it, but on the inside I found myself saying, “I would have been better off as a girl.”

At the beginning of my freshman year of high school, one of my close friends came out as a transgender boy. I tried to be supportive, but I was mostly confused. Before that day, my knowledge of transgender people was limited to “they exist and sometimes they get surgeries.”

Over time, thanks to this friend and others who came out later, my understanding of gender was broadened and I started to realize that some of the feelings my trans friends talked about applied to me as well.

Once I had a bit more knowledge, I tried on a label for myself. For almost a year I identified as genderfluid, and I felt like that term described me better than “male.” But still, something inside me didn’t feel right. I still had the feeling that I was somehow lying to myself.

My “eureka moment”

It was December 2016 when I finally figured myself out. I was lying awake at 3 a.m., thinking about labels and identities, when suddenly the realization hit me like a freight train.

“I’m a girl!”

From that moment on, my whole life made more sense. I understood why I behaved certain ways when I was younger, why I had felt so weird all those years, and I finally understood who I really was. It took months before I was able to come out to my family, but once I did, I was so much happier than I had been in years.

It’s been over a year since my “eureka moment,” as I like to call it, and I’ve made great strides in my social and medical transition. On the social side, I wear a lot of women’s clothes and pride buttons, I like to style my hair, and every now and then I put on some makeup (even though I’m not a huge fan of it).

Finding happiness and support through my transition

I first started going to the Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic after coming out to my mom. She was the one who initially proposed the idea, and I was more than happy to oblige.

When I first went to the clinic in the spring of last year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had heard all kinds of stories from other trans folks about doctors, both positive and negative. I was a bit nervous — I had heard stories online about trans people having to “prove” that they were really trans before their doctors would permit any kind of medical transition. I was afraid the Gender Clinic would turn out to be more harmful than helpful.

My actual experience at the clinic was so much better than I expected. Soon after arriving, I was introduced to Dr. David Breland. He asked me lots of questions, including how long had I known I was trans, how had I found out, and what were my transition goals. Even though some of the questions were uncomfortable, Dr. Breland never talked down to me or dismissed my feelings at all. And even though it took many more appointments, Dr. Breland got me prescribed on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Put simply, he is one of the best doctors I’ve ever had.

Thanks to the support from her parents and many others in her life, Rosy has become more confident, enthusiastic and happier.

Another major event in my transition came in the form of a salon visit. At Salon Tagua, a stylist named Derik partnered with the Gender Clinic to provide free styling lessons to trans teens, and I got to be one of the lucky participants.

I went to the salon earlier this year, and it was one of the best experiences. My past styling attempts have been less than successful (one time a barber gave me a bowl cut when I asked for a pixie cut), so again, I was nervous.

Rosy and Salon Tagua founder, Derik, who partnered with the Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic to provide free styling lessons to trans teens.

Just like the Gender Clinic, Salon Tagua exceeded my expectations. Derik taught me more about hair and makeup in an hour than my friends had been able to in years. He listened to my requests and gave me great tips. And not only that, but he made conversation throughout the whole appointment. Most barbers I’ve had practically act like I’m not there.

To top off the whole experience, he gave me free hair and makeup supplies as I left. Thanks to Derik and the salon, I’m able to present myself in a way I’m much more comfortable with.

As I look to my future, my transition actually isn’t the most important thing on my mind. Most of my thoughts go to my dream of being a filmmaker, and further transitioning comes second to that.

I hope to get certain surgeries and present even more feminine when I’m an adult, but there are also aspects of myself that I like the way they are now. For example, I have very little desire to change my voice. For the most apart, I like myself the way I am, which is more than I could’ve said before starting my transition, before coming out to my family, or even before coming out to myself.

Thanks to the friends, family members, doctors, stylists, and everyone else who has helped me in my journey, I’m more confident, more enthusiastic, and just plain happier than ever.

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