My dad, a transgender man, is a veteran of the war in Iraq, and my mother, a former soldier, spent most of her life in the military, serving in combat zones around the world.
But their relationship started when my dad was in the Army.
At the age of 12, my father took me to a birthday party at his home.
At his invitation, my mother sat next to me and we all drank champagne.
It was one of those times when we felt like we were having a great time, like we had no obligation to drink.
We both started to cry, my dad said, and we decided to tell each other what had happened.
“He’s so young and we’re so old,” my mother told me.
“You will NEVER get the feeling of joy as I had,” my dad added.
When I grew up, I thought I had a good sense of humor, my mom said, but I grew increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of telling people who I was that I was transgender.
After my mom told me that I had been “tricked” by my dad into being transgender, I began to think, I really need to get this straightened out.
That’s when my parents began to worry.
I wanted to tell them, my parents told me, but they couldn’t be bothered.
My mom was an attorney and my dad a businessman.
They told me my dad’s life was in danger if he went public.
I felt trapped.
What if he didn’t want to come out?
What if I was going to lose my job and my home?
What would happen if he were fired from his job?
They told my parents I needed to be careful because if they knew about my dad being transgender and I told them, it would put us both in danger.
My parents told my mom I needed help, but my dad wouldn’t listen.
He just wanted to keep telling me, my family told me he told me to keep my secret.
My dad’s friends began to talk to me.
One friend, a young man in his 20s, introduced me to another friend who also had a transgender brother.
“It’s not your fault, and if you can’t fix it, you need to be strong and stay out of trouble,” the friend said.
My friend and I continued talking to people and we became friends with one other transgender person, a 22-year-old transgender man from New York.
We would meet at bars and clubs.
We’d go out and party.
We drank and got wasted.
But it was not what I had in mind when I was 12.
As my friends were growing older, I stopped seeing them, and I began having suicidal thoughts.
My brother’s parents took me and my brother to a psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist said that it was my “way of saying no” to my brother.
He said I needed a change of lifestyle and said I should take hormones to change my body to be more like a woman.
But my parents insisted that I would have to take the medication.
My sister’s parents, too, started telling me to stop taking the medication, and they didn’t have any other option.
My mother became depressed.
I was alone with my brother and his mother, I told my psychiatrist.
I needed him.
“I’m sorry,” the psychiatrist said.
“But you’re doing something you can never do again.”
I felt hopeless.
I didn’t know what to do, my psychiatrist said, so I asked my parents to call the police.
“Tell the cops,” my mom begged.
My father told the police that he and his sister were worried about my father’s health, so he called the police to tell the cops what happened.
My family’s relationship with the police deteriorated.
They asked me why I was so upset about my brother’s suicide, I said.
It’s because he is a coward, my brother told me as he leaned against the wall.
I said, “Why would I want to kill myself?”
My family, the police said, was worried that if they told the truth about my identity and told my father I was a transgender person I would end up in prison, they said.
So, the next day, I went to the police station and said, I want a lawyer.
I want the police investigated.
I went back to the psychiatrist and asked to be released from my medication.
I told the psychiatrist that I wanted a divorce and that my brother was going back to live with his mother.
I wasn’t sure what was going on.
The next day I went into the courtroom, the psychiatrist told me: This is what you want to hear.
I’m going to tell you the truth.
I asked to have my brother freed, the doctor said.
I took my brother out of jail and