I am a 30-year-old transgender man. Early in life, I was always confused about why my parents demanded I dress in female clothing when I wanted to wear what the boys were wearing. I grew up in what some would call a loving home, but on the inside, I had to hide my feelings. My parents knew I was attracted to women and for that I was punished, but it never stopped me from making my way out the window at night to go places with my gay and lesbian friends where I felt I could be myself. But my issues were deeper then that.
Every day, I pretended I was a boy named Krys and dreamed about being Peter Pan, a boy who never grew up. In my teenage years, I spent most of my time being depressed and running away because in my heart I knew I was not who I was meant to be.
After failing miserably to find work because of my appearance, eventually I found my way to St. Augustine. Coming here made a little bit of difference; I was then a lesbian who heavily dressed in men’s clothing trying to see how far I could actually pass as a man. Yet my voice was high and I clearly looked like a woman.
At the time, I was in an unsupportive relationship. When we talked about my feelings about my gender identity, she would always say, “Well, I’m not attracted to men — sorry.” For whatever reason, I continued to live my life by other people’s standards.
It wasn’t until I met my current love that I decided to become who I truly was. About six months into our relationship, I started my transition. I was scared; my now-wife was, too, so I didn’t have to go through it alone. I went through the regular gender smackdown therapy, doctor appointments, and more therapy, then finally the hormone treatment.
I didn’t have to watch television and whatnot to see how others started, I simply went about it myself ’cause this was my journey: This was me taking control of my life.
This is where St. Augustine really came into the picture. I had been here for a couple years by then, so being local, everyone knows you. I was most scared of whether people were going to still be my friends when all was said and done. Would people stop me from using the bathroom? At the time, they were trying to pass a bill requiring transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the gender they were assigned at birth.
To my surprise, a majority of the community was very supportive, from the local bartenders down to the man playing that horn thing on St. George Street. I did lose friends, but not many, and I know those I did lose weren’t my friends at all. I heard rumors about how disgusting my transition was from people I had loved, and, “Congratulations, you look amazing,” from people I’d never talked to.
I never really liked the town when I was my old self because of how judgmental people were. After I began my transition, I started work more quickly than ever. Evidently, jobs come a little easier as a man than as a lesbian.
The women in Palencia who always had some kind of gossip about Caitlyn Jenner would never question me, because they had no idea that someone so nice and loving could possibly be transgender. It’s good to smile, knowing they still don’t know. I blend with the people who live around me and some know and some don’t and those who don’t may ask questions, but I’m not ashamed of who I am and the struggles I have conquered.
St. Augustine has taught me that this community is loving and not as horrible as most communities can be.
I must admit, I got a little scared after reading an article about how this year, transgender people should be worried. Why can’t we be understood? No one is perfect; don’t shame those who aren’t. We are people just like everyone; we have a heart and blood that runs through our veins.
I’m proud of where I am and I finally nailed my dream job as a chef in a small craft beer joint in town (Brewz ’N’ Dawgz). I’m happy to be who I am. I didn’t need the world to show me; I’ve been this way since before could remember and I’m thankful to St. Augustine for letting be this person. I once saw on the wall at the Bank of America building a quote, “It’s never too late to become who you are.” I will remember and pass that note forward to anyone scared to be who they are.
My name is Krystopher Ramos and I am a proud transgender man in St. Augustine.
Ramos is a chef in St. Augustine.