Editor’s Note: The following submission is from Elliott VanHorn. Have an LGBTQ+ related experience or story to share? Having your article published on this site will automatically enrol you into a raffle to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Submit an article today via queerdeermedia.com.
[amazon_link asins=’B073XQG3HH’ template=’ProductAdRight’ store=’ourqueerstories-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4e6c01cd-8c9b-11e7-b550-f192ea2314c9′]Hi, I’m Elliott.
Strange how something as simple as introducing yourself can be so life changing.
I am a Transgender man. In the past year, I have made progress that I have been waiting for my entire life. I started therapy with a therapist that I trust and who has experience with transgender patients. I have fought with insurance and found a doctor who is willing to work with me during my transition and I have changed my name. I have also come out at my place of work and had things changed there.
That’s a lot to take in, but like my transition we’ll take it one step at a time.
First, I was able to find a therapist who works with transgender patients. I had tried therapy before and they refused to listen to what I was experiencing and would put all the blame on temporary situations like moving or my biological parents’ divorce. There was more to it than that.
I came out to my friends and luckily they were accepting. I did have a few people that are no longer my friends say very hurtful things such as I was making the biggest mistake of my life and tell me God didn’t love me or care about me anymore and I was going to hell. That part really hurt. Music has always helped me through some of my most difficult things in life. I was largely inspired by Adam Lambert and how he was always true to who he was as a proud gay man. Being a transgender gay man I look up to him as inspiration. I am also inspired by my favorite actor Hale Appleman, who has portrayed LGBT inspired characters and does an amazing job doing so. Ironicaly, he plays Eliot in the SyFy network’s “The Magicians”. His character has a troubled past and discovers he has magic, it is inspiring to me how he discovers greatness out of pain.
I came out to my biological family who does not support me as who I am. They still refuse to use the correct pronouns and refer to me by my old name. I know it is a learning process but they do not try.
Luckily I have had a friend for five years who’s family has pretty much adopted me and they are very accepting and I have even taken their last name as a way of thanks and also stating that this is my family.
I was able to save up enough money to legally change my name. My inspiration for my name came from Adam Lambert’s character in Glee, Elliott Gilbert a.k.a Starchild. I used his character’s first name as I felt it fit. The name itself inspired me and then to find my connection to the character Eliot in Lev Grossman’s books which later became a television series with the same name “The Magicians”. Hale Appleman portrays Eliot and in the show Eliot is a gay character.
I found an endocrinologist located about three hours away from where I live to do hormone replacement therapy. I am now three months into my testosterone treatments and things are going well. I have had to fight with my insurance company to prove this is a necessary treatment and to get them to help pay for these treatments. I also had to fight with them to change my name legally. Luckily through the help of my human resources department at work and the people at the doctor’s office I was not going through this fight alone. Things have been resolved now thankfully.
I came out at work, meeting with human resources to change my name, gender and permissions at work. I was told I was the first transgender person in our company. I told our human resources department I would rather have lots of questions than to just assume. After working through a plan for me on how to change things over they wanted to devise a plan for the future.
They were able to change my name, gender and permissions. Yes, I have a security badge that lets me in the men’s room, my computer says “he” when I log off, and my name in all our systems is now Elliott. Our human resources team has set up monthly meetings to ask how I am doing and how people interact with me. So far, I have been very lucky and have surrounded myself with amazing and accepting people. One friend and her husband always ask how things are going and even gave me a gift on the day my name change became final. It was a small ‘care package’ of sorts that had a few of the husbands favorite things, body wash, hair products, deodorant and even some shaving lotion and face wash. It was amazing.
Human resources has gotten to know me over my few years with the company and have asked me to help put the policies in place for how future transgender cases will be handled by the company. I couldn’t be more honored to help set these things up. Someone in the future may not be as open as I am and they may be scared to ask to use their restroom of choice.
I realize that not every situation is like mine and I have faced some difficulties such as a rough childhood and trying to figure out who I am. I am very thankful that I have the great people in my life that support me and encourage me to be who I am. I have lost friends and while my biological family has not been a source of companionship throughout my whole life they have now cast me out for good. I still have contact with my biological mom who does not use the correct pronouns and does not call me by the correct name. She has used the excuse that I have always been masculine in nature so it’s hard for her to change pronouns and names. I find this hard to believe, as it has now been several months that my name and gender have been legally changed and it seems like she doesn’t even try.
Thankfully things are moving forward and I have friends that encourage and accept me for who I am. I would still like to meet more transgender and gay people in my area but living where I do, it is not widely accepted. I look forward to continuing my journey and becoming even more of the person I see myself as. I am thankful for the people who support me and thankful I am able to go through this transition to become the person I truly am.