I became one of the very few people that I knew of to have unfiltered access to the Internet in 1993. I found the soc.support.transgendered, alt.transgendered, and alt.support.crossdressing Internet-wide message boards. I had been crossdressing at least since the age of 10, perhaps before – honestly, I don’t remember exactly when it started. It was never sexual for me. It was a relief – I felt more like my true self. I wish I could wear the clothes and express my feminine self all the time, but I knew my parents would not allow it.
When I described my feelings to the anonymous faces on the message boards, they explained to me that simply put, I was transsexual. I was born into the wrong body and there was nothing wrong with what I was doing. It felt good to connect with people who both validated me and were struggling with the same thing that I was. At the same time, I heard about murders and suicides by trans people. I was given the advice to run away from home and to adopt the identity of a recently deceased female about my age. There were lots of other “tricks” I could do that today simply wouldn’t work.
Another nail was driven into the coffin containing my feelings happened one night at Catechism class. (I was raised Lutheran.) That particular night, we were studying what it meant when the Bible says “your body is a temple”. This meant things like extraneous piercings, tattoos, and the like were sins. For whatever reason, the pastor teaching us, someone I had looked up to, mentioned people who have sex changes. His reply was clear “they will not enter the kingdom of heaven”. When he said it, I felt like he was saying it to me directly and the words burned straight through to my heart. I thought to myself, “How could he know?” Then I said to myself, “but I thought God loves everyone? Maybe he made a mistake. How could this be?” I started losing my faith that night. I simply continued to go through the motions of being a Lutheran.