At the age of 15, I quickly began to realize I was different from everyone around me. Being born biologically male was always odd to me, as my innate femininity pulled me towards wanting to be a girl.

When I was a teenager there was such little education about gender and so few resources out there, I didn’t know what this meant. I had never met a transgender person before.

But one night, in 2008, I found an article about a transgender girl. My mind was blown. I had no idea that was possible.

Alexis Blake
Alexis Blake is a transgender rights activist and social media influencer.
Courtesy of Alexis Blake

For the next 12 years, I buried my thoughts and feelings deep in my longing to transition.

I was so scared of how the world would treat me and that I would never find love. I settled into the ideology that I would forever be a feminine gay man and tried to move on with my life.

One morning, while working on a dance job abroad, I woke up feeling very strange. I hadn’t thought about my gender dysphoria for such a long time that I believed I had finally moved past it—but when I opened my eyes, a thought flashed in my brain.

I am a trans woman and I have to do this now.

I couldn’t continue living this lie as a man any longer. Over the coming months, I came out to my partner Liam, my family, and friends, all of whom were initially shocked, but supported me in my decision to transition to female.

I can honestly say, hand on heart, that transitioning is one of the most difficult things I have ever done—emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially.

Private healthcare for trans people is pricey. The pressure to choose a name, legally change everything about yourself, and find the courage to present yourself in a whole new way to the world, was terrifying.

Luckily for me, my close inner circle helped me so much along the way. I think I would have struggled to do it without them.

So much more goes into transition than you could realize, and it took me by surprise how I had to change everything in order to become who I was born to be.

Early on in my transition, I found public bathrooms a nightmare. For my sanity and to help the people around me with my transition, I didn’t present myself differently straight away.

Over a period of six months, I gradually started showing more femininity, experimenting with clothing, hair, and makeup. Due to this slow transition, I had the most difficult time figuring out which bathroom to use.

Using the men’s bathroom was something that always felt wrong to me, I felt so out of place and uncomfortable in there. Yet, I didn’t feel I had the right to use the female bathroom as I was still presenting as very much male.

For a long time, I avoided public bathrooms as I didn’t want to make myself uncomfortable and I didn’t want to make other people feel uncomfortable. If I had to, I would use the disabled bathroom as this felt like my only option.

Only when I was dressing in full female clothing did I decide to use the female bathroom.

Alexis Blake
Alexis is pictured before her transition.
Courtesy of Alexis Blake

I was terrified of how I would be perceived in there; I felt like an imposter. I was now six months into the transition, my beard was getting lasered off, I was wearing long wigs and surgeries started to happen, but I still felt like I did not belong there.

Maybe it was my gender dysphoria rearing its ugly head, telling me I was not worthy of using a women’s space.

I was amazed by women when I used the female bathroom. They could clearly see I was a transgender woman but they were so kind, always complimenting me and smiling my way.

Without these small acts of kindness I don’t know how I would have continued to use these spaces.

Even now, nearly two years after transitioning, and as someone who for the most part “passes”, so does not get noticed as a trans person anymore, I still sometimes feel like a fraud using the women’s bathroom.

I recently came across an American trans woman on TikTok. She was explaining that if anyone tried to stop her from using the female bathroom, it would be the “last mistake they ever make.”

I was absolutely mortified to see this. The misogyny that was in her video was appalling. To no surprise, many women across the world were disgusted by this viral video.

The aggression and implication of violence in this video made me believe that this person does not belong in the female bathroom. As trans women, we are almost silently asking women if it’s okay if we use female spaces.

These spaces are designed for biological women and I am well aware that being trans does not mean I fall under that category. I am more than comfortable saying I am a biological man.

Alexis Blake
Alexis told Newsweek about her transitioning journey.
Courtesy of Alexis Blake

I believe that the media, governments, and social media are pushing the agenda of some outrageous trans people, and giving their stories and videos the limelight. I believe they are pushing the views of these activists within the LGBT community, who I would consider extremists, to create a divide, uncertainty, and to make people skeptical of us. Then they can slowly bring in anti-trans laws which, we are already seeing happen.

I believe this rhetoric is so incredibly damaging to the trans community and all we fight for, because I feel it is beginning to make people turn on us.

In my eyes, we are at a crossroads now, where trans rights are hanging on by a thread and the extreme views some trans people have are not helping the current situation.

The trans debate is such a difficult one to have, but for me, transitioning from male to female was my only option to find true happiness.

I just want to exist in a world that sees me as equal to everyone else. I will always try to be respectful of others and ask for the same in return, especially when it comes to using female spaces.

Most trans people want to live ordinary lives, find love, go to work, and have families. These are the heroes we should champion and see dominating social media. Not the outspoken and aggressive people who I feel are currently dominating the media today.

I will continue to share my opinions on these topics on social media platforms like TikTok to keep the conversation growing, and to stand up for what I believe in.

Alexis Blake is a transgender rights activist and social media influencer. You can follow her on TikTok @_alexis_blake.

All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

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