Growing up transgender in Ireland: One young person's journey to self acceptance

As part of the GCNnewvoices series, we platform the opinions and thoughts of LGBTQ+ young writers from across the country.

An illustration of scales and candles
Image Source: Illustration by Neave Alouf

GCNnewvoices in partnership with BeLonG To will platform the opinions and thoughts of LGBTQ+ young writers from across the country, speaking about issues that matter to them. Evan Flynn talks about growing up as a transgender person.

Pride, self-love and acceptance: those are three things I believe every person should feel and experience, no matter who they are, what they identify as or who they’re attracted to. It took me years to feel those things myself, but that journey from self-loathing to self-love has been the most important part of my teenage years so far.

Growing up as a transgender person is never fun or easy for anyone, but for me (a trans guy who attended an all-girls school for eight years) it felt like I was going through the worst of it. The thought of me being a boy in a girl’s body was so taboo, that I couldn’t bear the thought of coming out, even to myself.

I still remember the first time I realised I was different to my all-female peers, I was in Fourth Class, around nine or ten years old, my class had gone to Courtown for our weekly swimming lessons and we were all told to get changed into our swimming gear in this big changing room. It was hell. I remember thinking “why am I here?” while keeping my body wrapped up in a towel until my teachers would yell at me to change, I felt so isolated, despite being in a room with my close friends and classmates. 

I was in a state of self-hatred for years due to my feelings surrounding my body and gender without realising why; and in all honesty, the way I discovered that I was trans was a funny story. It was just a regular day for me, I was about 13 years old and watching an episode of Glee on my laptop when one of the characters came out as a transgender man.

I was astounded by this; I knew what being transgender was at the time, but I believed that it only meant going from male to female, so finding out that I could go from female to male made me feel so relieved, it was like a heavy weight finally coming off my shoulders. I realised that I wasn’t alone in how I was feeling. I have even used a quote from that episode of Glee while discussing my identity with uneducated individuals: “It’s not about who I want to go to bed with, it’s about who I want to go to bed as.”

When I was 14, I was outed to my parents by one of my school’s guidance councillors and I thought the world was going end. They were not the most accepting at first, but after years of fighting with them over my identity, they slowly but surely started to come around. Right before I started sixth year, they changed my name on the school’s system, which has allowed me to be my authentic self around my peers and drastically improved my self-worth and confidence. 

Pride, self-love and acceptance: I feel those three things now, and I have never felt happier in my life.

If you have been affected by Evan’s story of growing up as a transgender person, please contact BeLonG To or TENI. Keep up to date with #GCNnewvoices across all our social media.

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