Guest Contributor: James Knapp
My name is James, and I’m an aspiring attorney in Ohio. My background is in criminal defense and appeals, and I’m sure I would bore you to tears with the details of my legal research and “that one perfect case” that I still haven’t been able to find on point. I studied English and Philosophy in undergrad, and I’m still just as geeky now as I was then. Back when I had free time, I spent much of it writing. And I can actually read Beowulf with the Anglo Saxon accent. I’m single, and I live alone with my 3 rescue cats, which started out as 1 cat; but, I’m almost positive he sat in the window and put out a bulletin to the neighborhood animals that I my bleeding heart was showing, because in the following 2 years, 2 more cats snuck their way into my home before I shut the door to any more animals. I’m really a dog person, but don’t tell them.
I’ve been through everything you’ve been through or eventually will go through. We have that in common. I’ve been in transition for 10 years. I’ve been angry, frustrated, discouraged, and confused. But the good news is: It gets easier. It all feels like so long ago now…
I grew up the oldest of 3, 1 of whom being a twin sister. I went to a private, single-sex school until high school. While I can’t complain about the education, it was easy to tell that I didn’t belong there. In high school, I was active in forming and leading our GSA… and the
school board politics that went along with it. I was quite the little activist, actually. I split my time in college equally between the GSA and ROTC, which now sounds ridiculous. But at the time, there were 2 very distinct and very different sides to myself. I lead a double life for about 5 years, walking the fine line between male and female, before I stopped hating myself enough to do something about it. I went to GID/BDD therapy in secret. I took E blockers and low-dose T pills without telling a soul. I came out to my family over Easter dinner (this turkey is good, I’m having a sex change, pass the potatoes). I got my T script and did my own injections. I legally changed my name 3 months later. I funded and scheduled surgery before I had any support what-so-over. But those days passed; and regardless of how your days are going, you don’t have to go through it alone.