In fact, I even found other boys like me there, and I eagerly gravitated to them.

The insults reverberated off the lockers and echoed down the school hallways.

Though I was never physically threatened and never feared for my safety, the harassment was relentless.

They congregated outside our school at night, where they practiced the dance routines of Mariah Carey and Toni Braxton.

They were a revelation, and I was emboldened just watching them.

One of them joined me as I introduced myself to teachers as Janet and helped them get comfortable with calling me that name instead of the one listed on the attendance sheets.

There are key moments in a person's life when you just know your destiny is about to change.

After high school graduation, many of my classmates were throwing big graduation parties and buying new cars.

Those kids went looking for good times and great memories, but I was desperately searching for one thing only: a chance to be in the right body for the first time in my entire life.

Even though I'd spent the last three hours on the operating table — I could already feel the first tinges of pain in my lower body — I felt completely reborn.