I’m Just Your Typical Urban Hipster Femme Twentysomething Trans Lesbian

this is me

In many ways, I am your typical urban hipster femme twentysomething lesbian: I work for a greentech startup that has nothing to do with my liberal arts degree. I worry about our generation’s internet addiction (mine included). I spend a lot of money on vinyl and concert tickets. I moved to San Francisco last summer, but I’ll never start saying “hella.” I voted for Prop 19. I’m secretly mad that my love of British slang makes me cliché.

Oh, and I’m a transgender former-University-of-Southern-California-Frat-Boy.

I’ve been aware that I wasn’t “one of the boys” for as long as I can remember, and I knew I was different before ever learning words like “gender identity” and “binary.” In Kindergarten, I skipped football in favor of jumping rope with the other girls. In elementary school, my favorite book was Louis Sachar’s Marvin Redpost: Is He a Girl? (I can’t tell you how many times I tried in vain to kiss my elbow…) and made a habit of discreetly copying the handwriting of the prettiest girls in class.

But I had no idea what these feelings meant. I did know one thing, however — my family and society made it crystal clear that overtly feminine behavior was not appropriate for a boy like me.

I got the message.

In order to blend in and avoid ridicule, I tried to learn how to act in the way that I thought was expected of me.

Then, at 13, I discovered the word ‘transgender.’ I was fascinated. I read everything I could find about hormones but didn’t ever imagine myself transitioning. I was trapped in this suffocating conservative suburb. I was terrified — would my friends and family reject me? How would I explain to them that the boy they thought they knew is actually a girl who is attracted to other girls?

No way.

age 19

Instead, I tried hard to suppress my true self, with the hope that maybe if I acted masculine enough, these feelings would eventually go away. I doubled down on my efforts in college. I made a vow to try to become the man that everyone expected me to be. It certainly seemed easier than the alternatives. I joined a frat and started lifting weights. But the more I butched up, the more miserable I felt inside. I was never comfortable in social situations. I couldn’t fully relax around others for fear of letting the girl below the façade show through. I hated the misogyny and machismo of “bro culture.” But I was paralyzed by fear. I was happiest with my headphones on, where I could safely/gradually give up all hope of ever feeling happiness or real fulfillment.

The story of how I became who I am right now, which is ‘about to finish my second month of hormone therapy and have been “full-time” (whatever that means) for just as long’, begins like all cheap romance novels do — in Paris.

In 2008, I was studying abroad when I met the girl who has now become my lovely brilliant feminist girlfriend-of-three years. On our first date we hunted for Jim Morrison’s grave in Pere Lachaise cemetery, got hopelessly lost, and have been inseparable ever since.

Over the impending months, she helped me to peel away the masculine exterior I’d created in fear and desperation. She introduced me to her intelligent, progressive friends.

Little by little, the unattainable fantasy of ‘becoming Annika’ was seeming increasingly possible — but I was still in the closet.

Last August we moved to San Francisco and it was here that I finally decided to take the plunge. There’s such a proud and visible trans community here and I felt like such a coward and hypocrite, claiming to support LGBTQ rights while not supporting my own gender identity.

I think I knew, though, on a subconscious level, that one day I’d have to acknowledge these feelings. I also knew, on a more conscious level, that the effectiveness of hormones starts to drop off dramatically for those who begin transitioning after age 25, and I wasn’t getting any younger. What if I woke up one day looking like the middle-aged men who sat around me on my morning commute?

Eventually the emotional wall I’d erected around myself was really hurting my relationship and I wasn’t going to lose her over my own gender issues. Last December, things reached a boiling point and I finally broke down and told her everything and then, over the following weeks, started coming out to our friends and family.

The coming out process has been liberating, exhausting, and sometimes heartbreaking. You’ve been there, so I’ll spare you the joy/relief/self-acceptance clichés and just say that looking back it seems unbelievable that I’ve only been out for a few months. So much has changed already. Maybe I’m just making up for lost time?

Ultimately it was meeting my girlfriend that changed everything and I’m grateful that she’s been there to hold my hand throughout the process, sometimes literally, like marching me into dressing rooms in women’s clothing stores.

me and my girlfriend

Most of my fears about transitioning proved themselves unfounded. All of my friends have been wonderful and supportive, regardless of their religious or political views. I’ve learned to never pass judgment on how someone will react to my being trans before actually telling them. My employer has been incredibly accomodating and my co-workers go out of their way to ensure I feel welcome. I’m so hopeful for the future of LGBTQ rights in this country- our generation seems to “get it” in a way previous ones maybe didn’t.

It hasn’t been so easy, however, with my parents. They reacted with shock, grief, disgust, and, eventually, rejection. In mid-February, my father sent me a letter formally disowning me, in which he wrote that my life as a trans woman would be “bleak with much unhappiness.” He questioned the sincerity of my feelings. Then he rejected the possibility that my friends could ever love or support me. He ended his screed by asking me to change my last name — he didn’t want to know me as female, which means he didn’t want to know me at all.

I haven’t heard anything from my parents since then. Their reaction was disappointing, but hardly unique. So many of us trans people are forced to accept that our pursuit of truth and self-fulfillment could lead to losing everything and everyone around us.

Despite being disowned by my family I still feel like one of the lucky ones: I have an incredible support network, a steady income, and a good education. My position of privilege comes acutely into focus as the legal and medical bills start piling up. More than half the patients at the trans youth clinic I go to are homeless. Trans people face a higher rate of job discrimination. I didn’t embark on this journey with grand aspirations of political activism, but witnessing these systematic injustices compels me to step up to do whatever I can in the push towards equality, even if it’s something simple like sharing my story online. Complacency will only hurt me in the end.

this is me

I’m still in the beginning stages of a long and rewarding process. I try to avoid looking at too many transition timelines that I find online. It makes me feel like a child counting down the days until her next birthday. I can’t fast-forward time — so blogging about my experiences is much healthier and more productive.

I hope to provide periodic updates on my transition here on Autostraddle, as well as reflections on how my girlfriend and I are losing the heteronormative privilege that we had taken for granted for most of our relationship. I have no idea about what’s to come in the months ahead, but I do know that I’m no longer filled with dread when imagining my future. One thing is certain– I won’t be invited to the annual frat alumni golf tournament this summer.

Annika blogs at Transgender Express. Follow her on tumblr!

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I'm a 23 year old femme lesbian living in SF. Once upon a time, I was a USC frat boy ;) I ♥ music so please recommend your favorite artists to me!

annika has written 21 articles for us.


  1. Lesbians do golf getaways way funner than frat boys anyway. There’s a little thing called Dinah Shore.

  2. Absolutely wonderful. A beautiful lady inside and out. She will probably never know how many people she will help by telling her story so eloquently, honestly and beautifully as she does, but it will make a difference.

    The story about her trip to Paris with her friend and peeling away the layers, I could see in my mind like a movie….I WANT TO SEE THAT MOVIE!

    The part about her family is sad and all too common from some of the counseling I do, but she has a wonderful, incredibly brave attitude and she’ll be able to get through anything.

    Thanks for this!

  3. Annika, thank you so much for sharing this. I am really excited and interested in your voice and story becoming a part of this community. I hella loved this ;)

    Dear AutoStraddle, thank you for giving this piece a space here! I really love the way you have responded to criticism with action in so many ways from trying to include more transgender authors and more writers of color. You guys rule.

    • hi!
      i’m so glad you liked annika’s piece! fyi though, we didn’t bring annika (or any other writer) on in an effort to fill a quota or because of criticism — we’ve always wanted a variety of voices and experiences, but it takes time to find everyone! it’s a little easier now that AS has a slightly larger audience, but good, compelling authors don’t come out of vending machines in the break room, you know?
      ok, i just didn’t want anyone to think we’re just filling slots here! carry on! xxo

      • There have always been good, compelling writers who were trans. The majority of the world just happens to ignore them.

        Making an active effort to bring such a writer on board isn’t “filling a quota”, it’s simply ceasing to ignore talent that’s existed from the start.

  4. This is so inspiring to me – you have no idea. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing.

  5. Awesome article. You’re gorgeous Annika! We need more voices like yours in the lesbian community and we need to embrace them.

  6. Annika, you are a beautiful person. Thank you for sharing. My experience (with reference to disowning by parent(s)) is that you cannot cannot be upset by ignorance, only disappointed. We need writers like you to share your experiences with the world to educate people to eliminate that ignorance :)

  7. Annika,
    That touched my heart and soul! Your story was amazing and truly touched me! I wish you and your girlfriend all the best in your journey! :)

  8. Annika!
    Congratulations on this- it was beautifully written. I enjoyed reading the condensed version of your blog and I’m so proud of you!!! <3 xo

  9. This story is the perfect balance of cute and brave. It’s awesome that you have a steady income and people that support you and so cool that, when you could easily curl up in comfort, you choose to talk about what you’re doing. I can’t wait to read more!

  10. this is awesome. i’m really excited to read annika’s updates, and maybe ill be lucky enough to run into her one sunny day at dolores or at the lex!

  11. You are so beautiful Annika and I wish you the best. I can’t wait to hear more! It’s great that your friends are so supportive.

  12. Beautifully written. And if I could send you a hug through this series of tubes we call the interwebs, I would. Your situation with your parents is exactly my worst fear about coming out. So it’s a relief to see that even if my worst case scenario comes true, life can still be good. Look forward to your future posts!

  13. I love you for sharing your story and I love Autostraddle for giving you a medium to do it. Congratulations on coming out, there’s nothing like living as yourself! I realized I was bi a few years ago and had the exact same thought process: I couldn’t envision not living openly about it (for me and for others!)
    Great blog, and looking forward to reading your posts here! (also hai you and your girlfriend are gorgeous)

  14. Oh my gosh, Annika, you’re so beautiful! Welcome to Autostraddle, and I can’t wait to read your posts in the future! <3

  15. thank you for this, Annika! you are brave & beautiful and your story is wonderful & inspiring. I’m looking forward to your next piece!

  16. This is so sweet. :) I’m so glad your gf is being so amazing and supportive!

    AND HOW CUTE ARE YOU GUYS SERIOUSLY. I’m sitting here going “awwwwwwwww…”


    You are beautiful (I apologize if you’re tired of hearing that already) and yr story is wonderful and so important. Another great voice to have in the trans sphere… a big thank you (again) to Autostraddle for continuing to represent an ever-expanding community of queers!

    • Also I just wanted to thank you for having the courage to tell yr story and share yr perspective publicly. Being out as trans (to any degree) is not without its risks and concerns and it takes a brave and wise soul to say “yeah I’m a woman AND I’m trans and this is what that means.” (I also have no delusions about the extra difficulties and transmisogyny that trans women in particular face – I admire you in every way.)

    • Sebastian, you seriously rock. I’ve read your blog/articles and trust me, the admiration is mutual!

  18. I’m pretty sure everyone who visits Père Lachaise gets lost in it. I spent the better part of an hour traipsing about there once, on a dusty hot morning, trying to find Oscar Wilde’s and Gertrude Stein’s graves.

    Also, great post.

    • We went in early February- it was completely empty and sooo cold! Did you give Oscar a kiss?

  19. Annika, you are so inspiring. It’s heartbreaking that your parents won’t accept you but I am glad you have found love and support and a way to share your story. You are so effing brave.

  20. What a beautiful story Annika. I hope you feel even more love and support from the wonderful editors and readers of this site. What you are doing, getting your story out there, being honest and not being afraid to live as you are is so immensely important to the world. I’m particularly moved by the story of how your girlfriend has helped you in your transition and her attitude towards your gender identity. I think so many of us, myself included at times in my life, get so wrapped up in labels when just below the surface, she knew Annika was already there and stepped up to support you. Bravo to you both!

  21. I really enjoyed reading this, and I’m so glad that AS continues to strive to find new voices and perspectives within the queer community.

    Look forward to seeing more from you Annika, and to indulge your penchant for British slang, I think you’re a right bobby-dazzler…

  22. I completely agree with the posters above who want to see a movie about you. This is a great article, thanks for sharing your story. Best of luck to you and your girlfriend. I hope life keeps giving you reasons to share your gorgeous smile!

  23. Thank you for your amazing story and well-written article, Annika! I really hope you continue to write and share your experiences with us!

  24. stories like these really lifts my spirits :)

    my cousin is in a very similar situation to you. She’s fully transitioned now (at 40) and couldn’t be happier. She’s had the support of her whole family (except her dad but he was always a bad seed), friends and co-workers. Which is exceptional considering we live in Glasgow.

    It just goes to show that even if coming out seems like the most terrifying thing to do, the acceptance and support that you could have is totally worth it.

  25. Thanks autostraddle for finding another great guest blogger!
    And thank you annika for sharing with us.
    I just read your whole blog, and i appreciated the frank honesty and truth of it while dealing with such an important life change.
    i look forward to seeing you around here more.

  26. Thank you so much for sharing, Annika. I’m glad to hear you have a great support system with your friends and girlfriend. You two look so beautiful and happy together.

  27. I am incredibly impressed by your strength, lady. So glad we’ll be seeing more of your excellent writing here!

  28. Fantastic! And also, please tell your girlfriend that she’s one of my favorite people.

  29. Wow, this was so well written. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Another writer adding to the awesomeness of autostraddle!!

  30. I showed this to a straight friend of mine and her reaction was “She’s prettier than me! You go girl!”

    Thanks for sharing your story. :)

    • word seriously. i’m a trans man and handsomer than a lot of dudes. you can be super attractive & trans ;-)

    • maybe it is less that they are surprised and more that they are drooling because annika is very attractive

  31. Uh wow congrats to Autostraddle for finding such an intricate example… it took me like 5 minutes to actually understand the situation. Anyway, can I just say something cheeky? You look terribly hot both as a guy and as a girl… sorry about that, had to get it out my chest. :) Thanks for the article and sharing your experience!

    • “You look terribly hot both as a guy and as a girl”

      hmm you really shouldn’t say something like that without knowing her/knowing if a statement like that is OK

      cause if someone said something like that to me about before i transitioned i would not be ok with it..

      • why wouldn’t you? because you never felt like a guy/girl? so if i see a picture of a “before” then i’m supposed to ignore it? then why did autostraddle even post it? i’m really confused now. tell me please.

        • Hi Ryan! Thanks for looking out for me- but I’m not easily offended :) Even though I would have to disagree with Luisa’s opinion of me as a boy- I *hated* the way I looked! For example, I would avoid sitting opposite mirrored walls at restaurants because catching glimpses of myself would totally ruin the meal…

          But don’t worry, Luisa, you saying that I looked hot as a boy doesn’t do anything for me, positive or negative. It’s as if you’re talking about a completely different person.

          Just wanted to clear that up ♥

          • great. thank you for replying. it’s very important that more people in your situation (transgender or whatever they might want to call themselves) speak out because most people don’t know of anyone in their lives that is in transition/transitioned, so they can’t understand many things, and secondly you are still the most discriminated letter of the LGBTQI family (probably as a consequence of the first).
            regarding my faux-pas, two are the possibilities: either i try to be super attentive about my words in order not to hurt anyone, and end up censuring myself and ultimately being false, or i say what i have in my head, conscious that i have no preconceived prejudice, so all the shit that will come out is due to ignorance and lack of education on the subject. which reaction do you prefer to face in your real life, really?

          • Thanks so much Annika for taking the time to write out your story. Your courage and your vulnerability is inspiring to me. I think about how we are the only ones who stop ourselves from true happiness. Thanks for sharing your story. I would LOVE to hear more if you are inclined to share. Lots of love and light to you on this pride weekend :) Cheers!

  32. Oh wow. Hi, you are really great.

    You editors are full of so many perfect surprises. Like Christmas, but ALWAYS. As soon as I find a real job I’m donating monthly, swear.

  33. you are beautiful! thank you so much for sharing your story. i wish you nothing but the best of luck and look forward to hearing more from you!

    sidenote: AS is the best website EVAR

  34. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful story. Thank you, Annika, and I’m so glad you’re here (in every sense of the word).

  35. i am so happy and impressed that you’re willing to make yourself so vulnerable in order for others to hear your story, and you’ve chosen this space to do it in. you are so brave! and your first date was so cute! thank you!

  36. Your story is truly insipiring and I admire you immensely for sharing it with us. You are a brave, wonderful person and I wish you the best of luck.
    Also, your girlfriend is amazing :)

  37. Annika, I have re-read your story about 4x since this morning to fully digest every detail and nuance and I keep coming back to the fact that it is very much a love story. You have an incredible romantic partner who has helped you from the beginning and been there through the whole process. Wow – simply beautiful. You both are incredibly lucky to have each other. I amend my earlier comment slightly “you both are beautiful ladies inside and out”.

  38. YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!!! Inside and out.
    Your story really yanked at my heartstrings on a day where, frankly, I wasn’t banking on that kind of feeling being possible. I am so sorry to hear about your parents’ reaction, but am thrilled that it sounds like you’re creating your own unique, incredibly close family. I hope we fellow Straddlers can be part of that family.
    Four for you, Annika. You go Annika.

  39. Annika – I was just in SF for two weeks. I got home last night. I LOVE the people I met in the LBGTQ community there. I have never experienced anything like it nor have I felt so comfortable with my own sexuality in my entire life. It wasn’t questioned, second-glanced, or even stared at. I loved the freedom of the people and the vibrancy of the city. I am so incredibly proud of you and begin to wonder how many more males and females are out there who don’t feel right in their bodies. I will forever stand next to LGBTQ rights until the day I die.

  40. Well this is one of the best articles I’ve read anywhere in the last month or so.
    Thumbs up, a lovely tale to come home to.

  41. Your story is so inspiring! It makes me so glad to see that you’ve found what makes you happiest despite your struggles, and are able to live it! And I know everyone is saying this, but I couldn’t stop saying, “She’s so pretty!” the entire time, and not because I expected a transwoman to not be as pretty… You are just that gorgeous!

  42. You’re amazing, I’m so glad you’re going to be contributing to AS! Thanks for sharing your story.

  43. annika, i found your blog through a usc friend and i’m also an alum. following your blog has been a pleasure– lots of strength, intelligence and good taste. i’m a straight female who supports LGBTQ rights and i think that you sharing your story in such an articulate and emotional way is incredibly powerful in helping to combat the ignorance out there. one thing i wanted to bring up was usc. strange, because my friends and i tend to be dismissive about our alma mater, but lately i’ve felt the need to defend it with all the recent bad press. because while the greek system tends to be the face of the school, it still only makes up 25% of the student population. all of the friends i made there have extremely progressive politics or are LGBTQ themselves. i think that by making it known that we too are a part of the student population will make people realize that there is acceptance in places that don’t necessarily project it. and of course, there isn’t always (as freshmen, we went to the row, and my boyfriend and one of my gay friends had their arms around each others’ shoulders and some frat guys yelled FAGS GO HOME). but who needs to go to one street, when you’ve got the whole of LA as a playground? anyway, looking forward to reading more of your posts and P.S. you look hot.

  44. I love everyone
    in this space, in this moment.
    Annika you (Auto)win and Autowon our hearts :)

  45. Brilliant article, so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your story and I look forward to your future articles.

  46. Thanks so much for sharing your life with us, Annika. I can’t wait to read more of your pieces.
    Also, has anyone ever told you that you look like Anne Hathaway? Because I totally see it.

  47. Why is the whole Autostraddle team so damn attractive? Everyone who writes here is super hot. Can I cuddle all of you, please?

    Annika, your article is an eye-opener. I have a friend who is going through some of the problems you discussed, and I am so excited that I have a good resource to give her. I can help her with the lesbian part, but not necessarily the trans* issues people are throwing at her. Thank you so much.


    I’m sorry for objectifying you, but you also have a beautiful soul, so thats probably okay (?)

  49. This is a super amazing fabulous article and I love it a lot. Annika and AS, y’all are all my favourites.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Annika. Though I’m not trans* myself I know many of my friends who are often talk about how hidden their lives and their stories are, so I really, really hope this helps them and all the others that I’m sure are trapped out there, not understanding how much their lives could change for the better, even if they are (like you were) stuck in some mega-conservative hellhole.

    Also, I don’t understand how your parents, or anyone’s parents, can just… Drop their kids like that. I just can’t wrap my heads around it. THEY’RE YOUR KIDS. END OF STORY. Short of your kid killing one of your other kids, or something, I just… They’re your KID. I feel like that should just override every other thought in your head, ever. Augh.

    • To your second point: YES. My mom says this is why she can’t join PFLAG, because she’d have to be able to say “I understand you’re going through a hard time right now”, and all she wants to do is bash them over the heads and say “This is your kid, dammit. Get over it and show them the love they deserve.”

  50. You are so awesome! I’m really excited that you’re writing for autostraddle and I look forward to reading more articles!

  51. as eloquent and articulate as ever Annika! you are providing a voice to the trans community in so many ways. such an inspiration to us all! xo Bo

  52. Thank you for sharing your story<3 It was well written and moving- and new fresh voices at autostraddle are always welcome! Can't wait to read more!

  53. I loved your story and can’t wait to hear more from you. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  54. it makes me wanna cry, your story. but I’m really, really, really happy for you. by the way, You are so beautiful. thanks annika…

  55. Me too~! What is the oppisite of a tomboy….no word. Dang, as a poetress I call us transvesbians! “The only hard on I’, into is my own” LOL or “any pokin goin on around me..I’ll be doin it lol

    THe Irony of life

  56. :D

    Wow. Words cannot express how I am feeling right now. I am in love with AS and every single one of you. Thank you thank you thank you for being such kind and wonderful people! ♥♥♥

  57. Have y’all checked out her blog yet? I mean not only is she smart and pretty, she has some AMAZING taste in music! Girl could be a music blogger any day.

    So glad you joined the team Annika! Can’t wait to read more from you :D

  58. I absolutely love your blog and even bookmark your blog. It is really well-written and I can’t wait to read your next posts.

  59. I bookmarked it as well. I love that blog so much!! Annika is quite the lady. A real inspiration.

  60. Yay! Glad to see you here, and already a big fan. :)

    *secret trans lesbian official handshake*

  61. Good for you. As my kids would say “go for it”. Forty years ago I had conversations with a guy who was transitioning. It was amazing what he was going through.

  62. Thanks for sharing this, I’m very happy that you are able to become who you really are.

    Really sorry about that letter from your Dad. That had to be hard for you and I was glad to hear about the support from your friends.

    Welcome to San Francisco! Wishing you and your partner much happiness.

    • Not stupid at all! A lot of transgender people don’t know what it means yet either!

      Trans* is a pretty new way of talking about the greater gender-nonconforming community. Trans was often used as an umbrella term but this is a way to highlight that it is being used in an all-inclusive way.

      Ppl who are bigender or gender queer or gender neutral or who identify as a different gender but do not plan to transition in anyway or anyone who doesn’t fully identify with the gender they were assigned at birth falls under the category of trans*. It also is a way to include intersex people who have transitioned to some degree but whose identities and experiences are different from transgender people.

      I see it as mostly a respectful tip o the hat to all the gender diversity amongst humans

      • Thanks! I kept trying to search it but google wasn’t recognizing the little star.

        Now I’m just left to wonder how you say this. I’m imagine that you say trans and then make some kind of star-indicating gesture because that sounds fancy.

        • I assume you say trans and then make exactly the excited hand motion you’re making in your avatar.

          • Ha, Lizz, that’s hilarious! I’ll probably do that from now on. Not that I ever have the opportunity to say “trans*” out loud but hopefully in the future.

            Sebastian, thanks for the explanation, and Laura, thanks for asking! I’ve been wondering myself. I used to look for the explanation of the * down at the bottom of the article as if it were a highlight to a reference LOL

  63. There was something incredibly beautiful and eloquent and touching about the way you wrote this piece. I love it.

  64. Hi Annika! It takes a lot of courage to live as your true self in a society like our, so I really admire you! I really hope your parents come around eventually, but even if they don’t know that there are people out there who are pulling for you and wishing you all the best.

    To Autostraddle: I’m loving all the trans* writers you’ve been having recently. There’s such an amazing diversity of people out there, it’s great to see them get a place to be heard.

  65. You’re amazing. As part of my own coming out, I have faced up to a lot of self-denial and misconceptions about the LGBT spectrum. I am SO looking forward to my move back to the city, and the chance to meet and support more people in our community with my newfound perspective. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m looking forward to updates.

  66. Hey thanks so much for sharing. You rule– I can’t wait to read more from you.

    Also might I just add (based on three pictures) you dress adorably. Thus, might I propose as a takeaway from this (for everyone) the all important/useful time-line:

    Go to Paris; fall in love; find yourself; dress awesome

  67. Hi Annika, I know you said you’re not easily offended but I don’t want to be a dick so I’m phrasing this carefully. Does your girlfriend now identify as lesbian/queer? Given that she fell for you before you began transitioning, I imagine she must’ve gone through some difficulties regarding her own sexuality? Feel free not to answer as I’m just being nosy! Your story is inspiring xx

    • Hi Alexa! Good question! And no, not too nosy at all :) It’s something that my gf and I have discussed a lot. She’s always been involved in the queer community, but had only been with boys before dating me. My coming out hasn’t fundamentally changed her identity, and yet we are still together and very much in love. Is there a label for that? Annikasexual, maybe? ;) Here’s my her response to your question: “I’m a queer girl who prefers that my partners of whatever gender have a penis. This experience has made me understand my sexuality more, but it hasn’t changed it. ” So there you have it!

      • That fact that you assume your girlfriend is exclusively attracted to you, and therefore “Annikasexual” is rather narcissistic, isn’t it?

  68. can i just say that i cried a little? this was SO beautifully written. and also, btw, you are GORGEOUS!

  69. aww yay hello :)
    good to hear SF’s been good to you. I’m going there myself for a residency but mostly it’s also to find a place to work out who i am in an area that probably has a lot more resources. <3<3

  70. Okay. As others before me, I am going to be as super-PC about this as possible (which means don’t say too much), but it’s always been a curiosity of mine: How did you choose/realize your name Annika?

    • Growing up, my mother always told me that me that if she had had a daughter she would have named her Annika. So this was my way of reclaiming what is rightfully mine ♥

      My middle name (Penelope) was the winner of a contest among my friends.

      btw…my name is pronounced AH-nih-ka (rhymes with electronica); some people have had trouble with this- it’s Swedish!

      • Aww, that’s a beautiful back-story =) Annika is a really pretty name – one of my favourite high school teachers named his daughter Annika, so it’s a familiar name.

        I, too, have a difficult-to-pronounce-for-Anglophones name, so I can relate to the immediate phonic explanation =P It’s stupid because my name *is* spelled phonetically which throws people off.

      • I love your name, I used to have a Swedish tutor who was later sort of a friend who was amazing, and we nicknamed her ‘perfekt Annika’ her licence plate said Annika as well. and now whenever I meet Annikas I’m like, ‘you’re a perfect Annika!’

        sorry thats a bit inane but it makes me think of that =p

  71. I’m confused…I have to start saying that Annika is a talented writer and I am sure she is an amazing person…what confuses me (and I don’t want to sound offensive here) it’s the fact that her gf expresses her preference for a “penis” when I am assuming Annika will want to get rid of it some point. I see a conflict there? Is it only me?

    Best of luck Annika :)

    • “when I am assuming Annika will want to get rid of it some point.”

      that’s the problem, mate – you’re assuming. assuming anything about someone’s genitalia or relationship to their genitalia is a bad idea. some trans people accept and love their bits downstairs and some don’t and some are ambivalent and don’t particularly care. surgery isn’t a requirement for being trans.

  72. Annika –

    Thank you so much for your open, clear, honest, courageous and beautiful writing about your life experiences. You are a fantastic writer and I feel totally privileged to read your story. Please keep writing and sharing on Autostraddle!!

    I think it’s rad that you take the time to individually answer people’s questions – helping everyone better understand your personal experiences and potentially better understanding the experiences of other trans* folks. Of course, each person is different and may have different feelings subject to subject – but it creates this really open and safe space for dialogue. Cool!

    As a shout out to my pal Gwen Haworth – I would strongly recommend the documentary film “She’s a boy i knew” to anyone wanting to know more about one person’s trans experience – through interviews with her family, friends, and wife. Gwen’s parents in particular certainly struggled with her transition, but the good news about this story is that her parents have really come around and now Gwen’s mom does presentations with her!! :) This is an exceptional film, and I feel it offers another open and honest look into one person’s experience, much like Annika is doing here.



    p.s. Annika – when I saw the title of your article, I thought it might have been written by Gwen before I saw your name, because she is totally a “Typical Urban Hipster Femme Twentysomething Trans Lesbian” (**except she is a thirtysomething**) :)

  73. So excited and proud of you. I know it took a lot of courage. Finally you can be your true self and live the life YOU want.
    It’s very depressing about your parents, but you’re right – you have so much love and support from your friends and from the many of our generation. I applaud your efforts to tell others and hopefully provide someone else in your same position the courage to change their life too.

    God bless.
    Rachelle Palmer

  74. So excited and proud of you.
    I know I’m trans and I couldn’t resist
    My family was angry & cry at my face when i told them what’s going on with my body.

    I don’t even want this. But I couldn’t do anything. I tried to be normal, but I can’t

    I’m 22 years old right now. and want to prepare my career, Luckily, I have very good education and want to find a girl who can accept me.

    Who want to have this kind of feeling? I hope that i can be just a normal boy. But yes, God gave this feeling for me. Just want to be a girl, a normal girl.

    I’m really proud of you who already made a change, soon i will follow your path.

    May God Bless You Annika :)

  75. Love it, hunnie. It was hard for me to become me but once I made that decision and told my mom and my sister they supported me. My sister bought me my first dress and paid for me to see a doctor so I can be hormones. I never really looked like any of the boys but then I did start very early.
    TTYL Hunnie

  76. Hi, im trans as well and i must say that your story is pretty similar to mine. thanks so much for everything you do! You now have another follower!



  77. “Trans people face something like a 70% unemployment rate”

    No we don’t, unless 16% is something like 70%.

    • Hi Valerie! Thanks for the correction. We’ve re-worded that portion of the article.

  78. So, this is a really late comment, but just want to say, Annika, that reading this was one of the best things I’ve done all week. I’m just starting this process myself. Being able to read an honest story like this gives me the courage I really need right now to be true to my own life.

    Just, thanks.

  79. I love this article! It’s great to know that you’re doing so well and all. I have a lot of hope now that I’ll get along just fine once I’ve transitioned; in your 19 yr old pic, you looked much like I do now, and I’m only 18 and starting E soon! :D
    I shall be following along with your future articles! :)

  80. Pingback: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started My Transition | One Dollar News

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  83. Annika, I miss you on Autostraddle. And hope you are happy and healthy and all the good things you want wherever and whenever you are in life. It was you who helped me understand and accept who I am after a lifetime of confusion and pain. I will forever be in your debt. Love you. Alyson.

  84. Pingback: TransSupport.Org | 10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started My Transition – TransBliss.com – Transgender Awareness – Gender Identity Resources

  85. YAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY ANNIKA!!!!! :-) :-) :-)

    I am *so sorry* your parents have rejected you. Something similar, but not as final, has happened in my own family. My spouse and her family have actually been far more gracious with me then my mum and siblings.

    Like you, through the difficulties, I have been *blessed*, AND though I have started late on HRT, estrogen works *very well* for me, so I hope that can encourage older ones among us.

    Oh!! Keep writing please – you are a joy to read!!


  86. Misogynist techy frat boy who abides by harmful gender roles to female colonizing “trans lesbian.” Sounds about right.

  87. Thanks for sharing your stories and feelings. Im so sad to hear about your parents. Family is very important in my life. I want to transition, but my biggest fear is that my family will reject me. Even though that would be completely ignorant, I don’t know if I could deal with being ostracized by them. I see this article was written a few years ago know, I hope you provide us with an update soon that your family has come around and gotten in touch.
    Paul for now

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