Dylan Sahar from Israel shares his (FTM) transgender story
At 13 I came out as bisexual and then as a lesbian. At 14 and a half I started to debate about my gender and decided to talk about it with a good friend who supported me. I started to feel Gender Dysphoria (a condition in which a person experiences discomfort or distress, resulting from a lack of correlation between his/her biological sex and gender identity), and came out as bigender – moments when I feel like a man and moments when I feel like a woman. I refused to see myself as transgender mainly because the subject really scared me. Then I shared my feelings with my mother. I told her I felt a mismatch in the sex in which I was born, that there were moments when I felt like a man. I cried a lot to her. My mother hugged me and told me she loved me and accepted me in any situation. I had a lot of questions but not a lot of answers; it’s a very frightening confrontation with the society and the environment.
At the same time I went to a barbershop to get a haircut and found out that a short haircut for women costs more than the short haircuts for men. As a personal principle I refused to pay double price for the same haircut, so I returned to the hairdresser again, but this time I was wearing a chest bandage and a hoodie and I introduced myself as a man. At the hairdresser it was the first experience where I was referred to as a man, and since then I wanted it to continue, because I finally felt all the pieces of the puzzle connect. I felt much freer, I felt complete. I shared that sense of fulfillment with my relatives, and then came the decision to start the change. My mother accepted me as I am, but with my father, it was a little different and a little more complicated. It took him time to adjust to the change, but over time, when he saw the physical changes in me, he started asking me all sorts of questions: like whether I was feeling like a boy. When I said yes, he went on to ask how I wanted to be called now. It was very hard for me, I cried a lot, it was the central discussion that opened up our other talks.
I had problems getting used to speaking of my self as a man next to my father, but I talked to him referring to myself as a male and he was always answering back referring to me as a female -until one day I told him I didn’t demand anything from him, but when we’re around people I asked him to either refer to me as a male or not refer to me at all, and he understood me. Coming out, I learned that it’s very important to talk about feelings and not to attack. One day in a restaurant the most exciting event of my life happened. My father turned to me for the first time publicly as a male, and over time he spoke to me only through male attributes.
My grandmother is the person who’s the closest to me, and I have a lot of respect for her, so it was hard for me to share the change with her. So I did it in very small and cautious moves. At first I asked general questions to check how strong her love for me actually is. I asked, “If I tattooed my whole body, would you still love me?” Later I asked more relevant questions, like, “If I have a beard will you still accept me? ” Her answer was always the same, that she would love me in every situation. Then she noticed that I came to her with an elastic bandage on my chest, and she was very interested and touched it. I asked her why she touched there and she apologized and said it was out of interest, she didn’t want to hurt my feelings.
At 16, after coming out as trans to all my close friends and family, I was still in the closet at school. During the year, I also started to wear a binder to school. People noticed the change and began to speculate and gossip about me, and this was how they discovered my new name – Dylan, which was another sign that something in me changed. The gossip had reached the teachers, and one of the teachers who was a homophobe insulted me directly in front of other students. I didn’t give up and took actions against him until he was expelled from school. This event was posted on Facebook, where I was tagged and called “D. the gay student.” This took me completely out of the closet as trans to everyone, and from that moment it was clear that all the gossip was true. I got compliments on the change and full support in my classroom.My teacher and the school counselor made sure that I would be referred to as a man, as I wanted.
Despite the support from my surroundings, there were several cases of really hard bullying, when other kids at school tried to refer to me as female deliberately to shame me. I ran into condemnation, with insults and physical violence. For example, one of the boys called his friends to scare me; they kicked my school bag and forced me to take off my pants to prove that I was a boy. This case was treated, and the students were suspended from school. Despite the difficulty, I overcame such events after a long process of learning to look on the bright side, in the hope that this will pass and then I’ll get to my goal.
Today I am proud of myself as transgender, and I’m not ashamed. I have an amazing relationship, among other things, and I am a social activist who fights for the rights of vulnerable groups like the transgender community, feminist communities, animal rights and more.
You understand that you are trans once you are exposed to it. Seeing other trans people and listening to their stories makes other transgender people realize that they feel the same.