I think this is the place to talk about myself a little bit. So, I dropped out of high school the beginning of my junior year. I had changed schools the year before and didn’t have any friends or any sort of motivation to go to school. I played basketball both my freshman and sophomore years, but I cut from the team in my junior year. I was bored in my classes and didn’t go half the time anyway. One day, I woke up and didn’t bother to wake my mom up to take me to school. (Well, that happened a lot, but that day was special.) When she finally woke up, I simply asked if I could drop out. She said told me I could, but I had to have a plan.
That’s when I decided to join the military. I went through the process of getting the equivalent of my high school diploma. In California, you can take a test called the California High School Proficiency Exam after a certain age. So, that’s what I did. I talked to the Air Force recruiters, but they told me I wouldn’t get my choice of jobs even if I had the highest possible ASVAB score because I only had the CHSP Certificate. After that, I talked to the Marine Corps recruiter. They didn’t care about my certificate. The only requirement for them was that I complete 15 units of college classes. Piece of cake. I did as I was told, enrolled in classes, and completed them with passing grades (two of them were PE classes, haha).
I signed my contract and waited for them to ship me away at the beginning of 2003. I spent 5 years in the Marine Corps. During this time, I had a lot of struggles with expressing who I was as a person. This was in the midst of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I fought against staying in the closet as a lesbian. I didn’t think much about being transgender, even though I had feelings of being male inside since as long as I can remember. I was too busy fighting back against the discrimination I felt as a lesbian. I had two very close calls of being discharged, but I remained untouched somehow. Besides, there were other things to worry about like being deployed to Iraq twice.
Finally, I was honorably discharged at the beginning 2008. I actually started taking classes after my second deployment because I knew that I didn’t want to stay in the job field that I had been trained in while I was in the Marine Corps. I buried myself in school work for nearly six years. I have not stopped taking classes since I started back in the Fall of 2007. Even during the summer, I have taken on full loads of classes. Now it’s the Spring of 2013, and I am finally coming up on my graduation. I have double majored in NanoEngineering B.S. and Psychology B.A. which resulted in me taking on quite a coarse load through the years. My course load has lightened up a lot, which in turn has given me a lot of time to think about the person I was before I joined the Marine Corps over 10 years ago now, the person I have become through my many experiences, and the person I would like to become.
I finally came out to my friends and family as transgender. It has been a big relief for me. I don’t feel like I’m hiding any more. As I have grown through the years, I have learned that it’s much better to show people who you truly are rather than hiding and showing them someone that you think they want to see. People appreciate honesty and genuinely want to get to know who you really are. I am glad that I have decided to take this next step in my life, and I hope that I never stop growing as a person.
My name is August, and this is my journey.