A little about me
Describing who we are is a difficult thing to do at the best of times.
Before I really start waffling I'll tell you a little bit about myself. To start with, I'm trans - Although I was born physically male, my mind and emotions are female. It took me 28 years to come to terms with this, and when I did it tore my family apart.
It's amazing the effect this admission can have on people. Most will express sympathy, say you're "brave" (whatever that means) or possibly be bemused or confused as to why anyone would want to go through the upheaval, risk and cost that's part of my everyday life. A very small minority will be openly hostile - but I'm glad to say that I haven't experienced that directly so far. Regardless, I hope that I can help you understand people like me. There are far, far more of us than you think, and we're just ordinary people at the end of the day.
The way I am was caused by a birth defect (I just thought I was weird until I discovered that), the medical name for which is Gender Dysphoria. It's a truly horrible condition which is often made far worse by society's perceived lack of understanding and prejudice. Even today, many transsexual people attempt (and all too often) succeed at suicide, or are victims of transphobic violence. I'm one of the lucky ones.
I won't dwell further on that side of my life except to say thank you to all the friends who've supported me over the last few difficult years. You know who you are, and I know I couldn't have made it this far without you.
Enough about gender stuff for now. Welcome!