*This article is part of “TransMagazine”, the only online magazine dedicated to the Transgender community in Albania.
I am a 17-year-old transgender. I do not belive that there is a certain phase when you become aware of your true gender identity. When I was 12 years old, I started to experience the gender dysphoria. After two years, I started to read more on the Internet regarding the transgender community. Through this exploration I came to the understanding that I am not alone and there are other people like me.
Afterwards, I told to my close friend about my gender identity. She was quite supportive and eventhough today we are not as close as we used to be, her support back then really meant a lot for me. Regarding parents, I have told only to mom about my gender identity. My parents are divorced and I have stronger connection with my mother. Her reaction was positive towards it, quite the contrary of what I was expecting. I have been raised in a conservative family but nonetheless my mother told me that she was always suspicious of my gender identity.
Do you usually open up with your mother about your gender identity?
Yes, we talk a lot about it. She considers my gender dysphoria as a stage, that I will surpass very soon. But she is not pushy and lets me live the way I want. I have gone to a psychologist and I also go to “Alliance LGBTI+”, where I am provided with psychological counseling. Through this service, I have understood the importance of self-acceptance. My desire to start the gender transition grew bigger.
Did you tell to your mother that you want to start the gender transitioning?
Yes, I have also told her about this thing. She said that if this is something that I want to, then there is not any reason why she has to oppose it. But she also said that she will not financially support it (laughs).
Given the high rate of hate speech and discrimination that the Trans community faces, have you ever faced any bullying case?
Fortunately I have not any recorded case of discrimination, nor bullism. I have been a straight-A student, very dedicated to school and with good grades. Additionally to that, I have been always very sociable. But I can not deny that sometimes people give me weird looks because of my ambiguous appearance.
Who else knows about your gender identity?
I have told to all of my friends that I am trans. All of them support me and I am happy that I did not lose any friends because of it, as I have heard that this is the case very frequently. They respect me by calling and naming me with the name and pronoun that I identify with.
Before this interview you told me that you have started to take some T-blockers in order to start the hormonal therapy. How did you get informed about them and most importantly, how did you get the access to buy them?
Since I was 14 years old I have read about gender transitioning and a range of procedures. At the moment that I started the intake of T-Blockers, I had informed myself on possible side effects. I took these T-Blockers without medical prescription, because I knew that there is not any risk for health.
Did she refuse at any moment to give them to you?
Hmm, not at all. She gave them to me, eventhough I did not have any medical prescription. I used them for a period of two months.
Do you have contacts of LGBT+ NGO in Tirana?
Through my friends I have frequented the “Alliance LGBTI+”, where I go a lot. I have access to the services that the center offers.
What are some of your hobbies?
I like a lot designing clothes and art, basically everything related to art.
What is a message that you would like to spread among the Trans community in Albania?
A message that I repeat to myself and to others is to choose living a life where we are open to ourselves and self-acceptance because life is too short to lead a double-life.