I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit forum for true lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories. Earlier this year, founder and Executive Director Nathan Manske and two companions successfully completed a four-month, 50-state Story Tour collecting LGBTQ stories from towns and cities across the country. They're pulling some of the most relevant, important and sometimes just enjoyable stories from their archives and sharing them with HuffPost Gay Voices.
Krystal Summers, from Laurel, Miss., was once a little girl trapped in a little boy's body. From the time she was very young, she and those around her knew she was different:
I changed schools when I was in sixth grade. The first day of school, the teacher took the whole class to the bathroom, and you divide up and go to your respective bathrooms. I, of course, went into the boys' bathroom, and the teacher ran in behind me and told me, "Oh, you're in the wrong bathroom, you're in the wrong bathroom." And it was so embarrassing because all the kids were laughing at me.
The ridicule didn't stop there, even as Krystal grew older:
The kids used to make fun of me at the swimming pool because I didn't want to take my shirt off, and all the other little boys would take their shirts off and go swimming. When they would play basketball and they would pick teams, there would be shirts and skins, and I would not want to be on the skins team. And it was just little things like that, and I've been put in trash cans, I was shoved against my locker, the name calling, it's just something I'd never want to relive again.
Krystal grew up in a Southern Baptist family, so she was not optimistic about her family accepting her identity or her transition. She had to wait until she went to college, immediately after high school, in order to properly match her body to her gender:
My parents dropped me off at school at my first apartment, and I went and got my first caboodle, bought a bunch of makeup, and I would just sit around in dresses, and it was just a very happy time in my life.
From then on, Krystal rarely dressed up as a boy, except to see her parents. Once they did find out about Krystal's transition and her identity as a woman, they were not onboard at all. It took several years of not talking and a few more years of adjusting before they finally started coming around. In the meantime, Krystal started living her life as female full-time:
They're finally starting to accept me for who I am. And that is just cherry on top of the cake, you know? It's just awesome.
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