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I'm a 14-year-old trans male and I'm pretty happy with myself, but there are struggles I go through. It's not always easy being trans. There are unsupportive people, dysphoria, and discrimination. There are some people I know that I am, or was, close to who don’t support me being trans, and that hurts sometimes. But all the people who call me their brother, son, or guy friend make me feel euphoric and fill me with joy.

Gender dysphoria is the feeling of discomfort or distress that might happen in people whose gender identity differs from their gender assigned at birth or gender-related physical characteristics. Transgender and gender-nonconforming people might experience gender dysphoria at some point in their lives. Euphoria is the opposite of dysphoria. When referred to as their "true" gender, a transgender person feels euphoric or happy feeling. Often used as an indicator of being trans, physical gender dysphoria can be extremely hard to recognize.

The thoughts that go through my head sometimes are not great. I'm not flat enough. Is this too fem? Why are they looking at me like that? You don’t look like a boy. Don't do that, it's feminine. You look like a girl. They probably hate me. Why can't I just be ‘normal.’ All those thoughts go through my head every day. It's like drowning in your thoughts. The weight on my shoulders is a constant headache that never goes away. But when someone says, “This is my brother.” “This is my son.” “Mr.” “His favorite color is red.” Anything that you would call a man, say it once, and those dysphoric thoughts are gone and I have a euphoric feeling for the rest of the day. 

When I wear grunge or gothic clothing, I feel confident and like no one can judge me. When I wear masculine clothes, I feel happy and like myself. But when I'm forced to wear something remotely feminine, I'm quiet and gloomy. I recently got rid of tons of clothes that make me dysphoric, and my dad took me to get a masculine backpack and new clothes. My stepmother told me about HRT and plans for testosterone and top surgery when I am 18.

I feel so happy when my dad takes me to do things he’d normally take my brothers to go do, like going to the shooting range to do archery or shoot around. He asks me to help him make a woodworking project or fix something on a machine. I get the opposite feeling when people in my family look me dead in the eyes and say, “This is a BOY job” to my little brother. I hate to watch him struggle through the task and I hate how I feel when I don’t feel seen for who I am. I am a trans male and there are struggles I go through. It's not always easy being trans but there are supportive people, moments of euphoria, and acceptance. Life has many transitions, and I'm just going through mine.

© Alex Espil. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.