“My name is Julien Jayden, but most call me Jay. I’m transgender, which means I cannot identify with my gender given to me at birth. I grew up in a small town in Germany near Hamburg. I had a relatively normal childhood, but I wanted to have short hair at the age of 5 and only played with boys.
My mother was very relaxed and allowed me to have my hair short. I finished primary school, went to secondary school, and unfortunately, that’s where the problems started. I remember my mom would introduce me to friends and they’d ask, ‘Who is that boy?’ To which my mother would reply, ‘That’s my daughter.’ I didn’t know why, but at the time, I remember being really bothered by that.
When puberty began, I grew out my hair in order to fit in, but I still wore boys’ clothes and refused to wear makeup. Still, I got on because I wasn’t like all the other 16-year-olds my age. I found guys interesting, but there was never more. I didn’t know why I didn’t think, feel, or look like others, which made me sad and alone. I was always told I behaved like a boy, but that bounced off me. I finished secondary school and went into training. At the age of 19, I noticed guys didn’t care about me. I came out as a lesbian and cut my hair short again. This was not a problem for anyone. But I have to say I didn’t feel more comfortable with it than I thought. Something was missing.
My body didn’t match what was in my head. At 21, I saw a report on TV about a transgender person and started researching. Really everything suited me. It took me days to realize I finally had the answer to why I am the way I am. At that time, however, I did not dare to say this out loud and continued to hide for 2 years. In the end, I couldn’t hold it anymore and became mentally ill. I didn’t want to ask anything at the checkout in the supermarket or hello and bye, because you could hear in my voice I was a woman and that bothered me.
Unfortunately, all this got worse, so I lost my job, started not leaving the house, and had many thoughts of taking my life. The only way out was to seek help, to finally accept myself. I did just that and came out to friends and family at the age of 23. Surprisingly, I didn’t get a single negative reaction. My family said it finally made sense why I am the way I am. They wanted to support me in every situation, as did my friends. I grew up without a father, so it was very important to me what my grandpa thought of me. I didn’t go to them for a year because I was scared of what might happen. But my concerns were completely pointless. He saw me and took me directly in his arms. I cried. He told me he doesn’t care if I’m a boy a girl as long as I’m happy, and he doesn’t want me any other way. These were some of the most beautiful words anyone ever said to me.
Now I finally dared to start my life properly. I was looking for a therapist, which takes a long time, almost 3 hours every week. In 2018, I received my long-imagined testosterone. I cried with happiness as I got a little closer to myself. I couldn’t wait to see the first changes, but you should also bring a lot of patience because everybody is different. We don’t have to pay anything for testosterone, just a supplement of $12. My beard was growing a lot. I made appointments for the removal of breasts. In Germany, the entire operation is paid for by the health insurance company, you only have to apply for it. In the clinic, I was very scared because I had never had such a large operation before. The team was really great at it and took away my fear.
After 3 days, I was able to see my result for the first time. I’ve never been happier in my life. I cried and could hardly believe my luck. Never again would I have to wear a binder or a sweater in the summer. Every day, I stood in front of the mirror for several minutes and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It is no longer a dream, but reality, and this piece of freedom to which I have come closer, no one can take away from me anymore. I am finally happier with myself and can make peace for myself. By the way, I sat down with my first name change and my gender will be changed. This worked out quite quickly and since then, I am officially Julien Jayden.
For the future, I definitely plan for the removal of the uterus and will plan the penis build-up. But I’m taking my time. Step by step. I was nervous for a while about the uterus, because it takes away my chance to ever have biological children of my own. One of my biggest wishes is to have a family and children at some point. It took me a lot of time but in the end, it doesn’t matter how I have a child. Whether artificial insemination or adopting a child, there are so many possibilities and so many children who want a home.
So it’s okay for me to take the next step now. I can only advise you to take your time and be sure what you want to do. In some things, there is no way back and you should never regret anything. You should live the way you want, even the people who don’t want surgery downstairs and feel so comfortable.
When I see myself, I keep saying, ‘Dear younger me, we made it,’ and that makes me so d*mn proud of myself for having the strength. The scars on my body are not a weakness for me. Rather, they show my willpower to stand by who I am and what I have achieved. I can only advise everyone to stand by who you are. It is your life and you must be happy! I can speak for myself that even if all my friends and family had opposed me, I would have gone down this path.
I live my trans life openly and have no problems with it anymore. To be happy, you have to accept yourself. I am happy to help and support, even if it can only be heard, but no one should be alone. Through all this, I have met a lot of new people in the LGBT community and I don’t want to miss many of them from my life. We are like a big family and are always there for each other. Coming out can be scary, but it’s freeing.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jay from Soltau, Germany. You can follow Jay’s journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more stories about the transgender community here:
‘When you were born, I vowed to love you no matter what. I will continue to do that.’ I returned to school for the first time, as myself.’: Trans woman finally ‘living her truth,’ ‘I will never regret choosing my happiness’
‘I know you’re a boy,’ she whispered, kissing my forehead. I’d be able to start my senior year comfortable with myself.’: High school senior comes out as ‘transgender’ and begins transition
‘Trans men have periods, too.’ If my 4-year-old son can grasp this, so can you.’: Mom teaches son ‘inclusive’ menstruation lesson to create ‘safe space’ for transgender, non-binary individuals
‘Just give her time. She’ll come around.’ My mom has yet to use my correct pronouns. To her, I’ll always be her first ‘daughter.’: Trans man finds courage to live his truth, ‘Transitioning was the biggest act of self-love’
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