I don’t want to keep secrets.

I always find it easiest to write about any piece of my life that may be difficult to have a conversation about.  It could be because I want to give the person I’m talking to a chance to reflect and think about what I’m sharing or hear my entire truth before they comment. I’ve gone back and forth about sharing this with everyone because it’s not really any one’s business. I am who I am and that should be expected to evolve as I get older. Despite that, I’m here sharing what makes ‘me’, well, me.

Before we go any further though, let me introduce myself.

I’m Ash and my pronouns are they/them.

This may or may not be different than how you address me every day, however it’s important to me that you understand I don’t go by Ashlie anymore. I also don’t identify with she/her pronouns. Consider this your notice to only use Ash and they/them.

I feel like ending the story there, but I think I owe some of you more than just my name and pronouns, even though I shouldn’t feel that way. So, here’s your chance to stop reading if you aren’t interested in my journey or ‘transition’ as its most called.

Right before Aria entered the world, I started to question what type of parent I wanted to be. Deep thought went into how I was going to explain how she came into the world, that she has two moms and that she should feel empowered to be her true authentic self as she grows up. It wasn’t so much about the “do as I say” but instead more “do what I do”. How can I tell her to be authentic and true to herself when I’m not with myself? Does this start when she’s old enough to comprehend or does it start when I’m ready? Is there a forcing function that says, “Okay now’s the time to change”? Unsurprisingly, there isn’t. It’s just a process of discovery.

I’ve been on a deep journey of figuring out my identity for a while now. It’s not a straightforward process nor is it easy to understand. For some of you, you wake up and are just ‘male’ or ‘female’ but for me, it’s not like that. Gender is truly a spectrum for me. There is no hard and fast definition for what my gender is. I was born female physically, but I don’t ‘feel female’ and at the same time I don’t ‘feel male’. I identify more with a male person than I do with female person. It’s so important at this point that I take a second to say, gender really is a construct that was created by society. Wanting to play sports and not shave my legs or armpits shouldn’t be classified as “manly” or “boyish” and taking dance class or painting your nails shouldn’t be seen as “feminine” or “girly”.  I refuse to be stuck into this construct of being one way or another, therefore I won’t.

About five months ago, I decided to start hormone therapy by doing weekly injections of testosterone. So much has already changed within these fives months and it’s only going to continue. If you’ve talked to me in these last months, you’ll likely notice I sound different. I may even look different to some of you, and you might see the start of a baby mustache. I’m quite literally going through puberty by taking T and the physical changes are the most apparent. As time progresses these physical features will evolve, as will the rest of me. Part of the process of becoming “myself” is also being comfortable in my own skin. To support this, I will be having top surgery in August. As I mentioned before, this is a journey and there isn’t a destination. The goal is to develop the truest sense of myself I can to be the best parent and partner I could ever be. Okay, phew. That’s off my chest – literally.

This is the part I’ve probably lost most of you but also likely grew closer to a handful of you. Those folks that stuck around and are saying “Fuck yea, that’s awesome” truly embody unconditional love and support are the ones that I’m so incredibly grateful to. My wife, Mo, has literally been the best support system I could ever ask for. When we were early in our relationship and trans people started to be more prominent in media, she asked me if I’d ever consider transitioning. I very strongly said “no”. Well, fast forward years down the road and we’re here. We’re doing it. I ask that you keep in mind this isn’t a journey for one of us, it’s for both of us. It’s common for a person to morn the person who is no longer and that’s totally acceptable and expected, however she hasn’t skipped a beat. Being public about my gender identity hasn’t changed who I am, what I believe in, or what I stand for, instead it made it possible to love deeper, laugh harder and speak louder. Anywho, now you know and now you can ask questions. For those closest to me, I’m an open book. If you’re not in my inner circle and have questions, use the damn internet. There’s so much information about our community, the trans community and how you can support us. If all else fails you, the best thing you can do is just love without borders or stipulations, just love.

I won’t subject myself to masking or being even 1% less of myself. I am who I am, and who I am is trans.