My story

I didn't have the "typical" childhood of a female-to-male transsexual. You'll hear stories from many other FTM's, about how when they were kids, they hated dolls and barbies, hated dresses, insisted on having their hair short and playing with "boy's" toys, etc. Well, I wasn't like that.. but not all trans people are the same.. and there's no wrong way to be FTM.
I'm also not one of those transgendered individuals who figured out that they were trans when they were very small. When I was a child, gender was unimportant to me.
I didn't really see boys differently from girls back then. I just sort of saw everyone as equal. And nothing about being who I was back then really bothered me.
Mom did my hair all pretty every day, sometimes in braids, sometimes curled, etc.. and I didn't really mind. I did want a mushroom cut really badly for a while, though.. and kept bugging my mom and grandmother about it.. but they never let me get one. Instead, my hair was always kept long.
I wore dresses like all the other little girls, and while they were annoying at times (I always thought it was gross that dresses were so open.. they could just fly up, and there's your goodies! Pants just made more
sense) I didn't complain much about having to wear them.
In my family, gender is very black and white. Girls are girls, and boys are boys. The boys couldn't play with dolls without getting in trouble from dad, and the girls were encouraged to be as pretty and girly as possible. There was a lot of pressure and expectation from my parents, but luckily, I didn't mind too much at the time.
I was a pretty easy-going kid. Very content and easy to please. I'd play with any toy that was put in front of me. I enjoyed dolls, barbies, cars, trucks, lego, whatever. I just liked to play. You could have given me a bunch of empty creamer containers from a restaurant and I would have played with them happily for hours.
I had a huge imagination, and had fun, whatever I played with.
When I was about 10 years old, I became very infatuated with my best female friend at the time.. but that's not really relevant to this story, unless you think that all boys should be attracted to girls and that as such, all female-to-male transsexuals should be heterosexual in the sense that they only like girls (and that's not really how things work. gender identity and sexuality are two completely separate things.).
So, all in all, while I did have a rough childhood in other ways (I was an abused child), gender was the least of my concerns.

When I hit puberty, however, my tune changed.
As my body developed.. as I began growing breasts and finally, around the age of 15, got my period.. I began to feel like something was really wrong. I was disgusted by these new developments.. and while all the other girls my age had already experienced these changes and I had wanted so badly before to catch up, when the changes finally fell upon me, I hated them.
I felt wrong somehow.
It was around that time when I developed some anger problems. My doctor blamed it on PMS, but I had an abnormal amount of rage.
I punched a window. I had shattered the glass with the impact of my punch.. and cut my wrist quite deeply.
The glass had cut right through to my artery, and I lost a lot of blood. At the emergency room, they had to give me two layers of stitches. Internal stitches, and external stitches. I don't remember the exact number.. but counting the little stitch marks on my wrist right now, it looks like there were at least 18.
That just shows how angry I was. And why? Because I didn't feel right anymore.

It was also around the same age, when I became obsessed with Taylor Hanson (the lead singer of the band, "Hanson".) I was infatuated with him, yes.. (I collected Hanson memorabilia, and had around 500 posters of him and the rest of the band, on my walls AND cieling..) but infatuation was only half the story. I actually wanted to BE him. I thought, "okay.. if he can have long blonde hair, and be a boy, then so can I!"
I dyed my hair blonde, cut my hair the same length as his, got a rat-tail in my hair like he had (a chunk of hair at the center of the back of the head that is longer than the rest of the hair, and braided).. dressed like him for a while.. even tried to act like him.
I copied his speech patterns, his quirks, everything that I could. And after I heard his voice change half way through Hanson's debut album, whenever I had a scratchy throat, I said my voice was changing too.
He was the boy I initially tried to model myself after.
I didn't know what transsexuality was yet at that point.. but I knew I felt different. Felt that something wasn't right.
I refused to wear bras for the longest time.. they just felt gross and uncomfortable. My mom kept bugging me about how my developing breasts were poking through my shirt. (I didn't wear bras for the most part, until I was about 16. I was very small chested until around that time.)
And this may sound gross to you.. but I also, for the most part, refused to wear feminine protection products. They made me feel disgusting.
The truth is, I just preferred kleenex and paper towel.. because it wasn't made specifically for that. Pads and tampons are emasculating. I think I had this hope that I'd somehow develop into a male, physically.
I tried to explore a more boyish side of myself. With my babysitting money, I bought a pair of skate shoes, some cologne, and I chose clothes that were a bit more unisex.. or a bit more like Taylor's. I read fiction books about hockey, and fantasized about being one of the male hockey players. To me, those guys were the epitome of masculine. Those books gave me such a rush.
And in class at the beginning of the school year in grade 9, we had to stand up in front of the class and talk about ourselves and our interests and such. I said something along the lines of "you know.. I like boy's things mostly.. like hockey and skateboarding.." and tried to insinuate that I was a boy.. but I was just laughed at.
This phase of attempting to experiment with a more boyish side didn't last long before people were like "um, you're not a boy.. stop being stupid". Between that, pressure from my family to be what they thought a girl should be, my desire to be noticed by boys, and to fit in.. I began doing my best to do what all the other girls were doing.. and then some.

I became the best "girl" I could be. It started out slowly, with just a bit of makeup.. then gradually, I got increasingly more girly, and also more troubled.
This phase lasted several years. I think I thought somewhere in the back of my mind.. that it would fix me, to be like that. To be the stereotype of a girly girl.
Eventually, I ended up with no self respect or self worth, because of this, and because of some other factors, such as abuse and neglect.. I was in dire need of attention.
At age 16, I began cutting myself to cope with my feelings of emptiness, and began having suicidal thoughts. My parents kicked me out when I was 17, because I was "hard to deal with"..
and around that same age, I became every (well, most) straight guy's dream. Long blonde hair, ditzy, passive, plucked eyebrows, makeup, plunging necklines, and extremely promiscuous. I looked like the girls that are in porn. Your typical trashy bottle-blonde. I slept with any guy who wanted to. Even guys who were twice my age, strangers, guys I'd meet in chat rooms, on phone chat lines, etc. It was the only time I ever felt loved or needed.

Since I was own and had no help from my parents, and barely got enough money from welfare to survive, I had to make money somehow.
I was too mentally unstable by this point, to hold down a "real" job, so I turned to prostitution. (which made my feelings of worthlessness 10 times worse).
I did that for years. It's how I supported myself. I did what I had to do to make sure I had food to eat and a place to live.. but it was pretty damaging, psychologically.
I kept feeling like something was wrong with me, but I didn't know what it was.. and I didn't know how to cope with it.
I began trying to figure out who I was.. exploring other avenues, other subcultures.. thinking that maybe it was just that the slutty barbie doll persona wasn't working for me.. so I tried the goth subculture.. rave scene.. club scene.. body modification scene.. the fetish scene.. the art scene.. the skater scene.. anything and everything..
So, each time, I'd get really into it.. I'd follow what everyone else was doing.. and when one scene didn't feel right, I moved to the next.. and so on and so forth.. but I just never fit in anywhere. Because I wasn't being ME. But it took cycling through all those different phases, to realize that. And through all those phases, I picked up some bad habits. Drugs, drinking, even more sleeping around, and more self destructive behaviors.

In my late teens/early twenties, I met some transgendered people and learned a bit about transsexuality from them, and from tv and such.. so I finally knew what it was, and that it was possible for someone who is female bodied to also be transgendered. (Often when people hear the word "transsexual" or "transgender", they automatically think of male-to-female (MTF) transsexuals. Many people don't know that female-to-male transsexuals also exist. And up until that point, I didn't know that either.)
Then, in the summer of 2004, I went to a gay pride parade. It was there that I finally realized without a doubt that I was stuck in the wrong body.
I had already known I was into guys, but walking around, seeing all those gorgeous shirtless guys.. it triggered something inside me. It made me wish I was one of them. It made me wish I could frolic around with my shirt off, too.. it made me wish I looked like them.. so that I'd be desirable to other gay guys. But there I was, with my huge E cup breasts, my curves, my huge butt. I couldn't take my shirt off, I couldn't look male if I tried..
This was the first time I had felt gender dysphoria to this degree. It had lingered underneath the surface for years, but I had been so busy doing drugs, drinking, and partying, that I hadn't noticed since I was a teenager. This was my moment of awakening.
It was then that I came out to myself. Acknowledged for the first time that I was transgendered.
I told only one person around that time. My best friend. And he happened to know a lot about transsexuality, and he was very supportive.
He asked me what I wanted to be called. I told him "Dominic". I'd liked the name for years, and decided that's the name I wanted to use. He continued to refer to me as a guy, indefinitely.. but It would be two more years before I would tell anyone else, let alone begin to take steps toward transition.

My mental state got worse in those two years. I was still resorting to the same self destructive behaviors I was before.. and some of them got worse.
By 2006, I was attempting suicide on a regular basis.. my cutting got worse - to the point where I required stitches almost every single time (I was mostly slitting my wrists), and I became extremely addicted to the street drug, Ketamine.
I had begun coming out to everyone that year, and dressing a bit more boyish (though I continued to keep my hair long, wear makeup, and wear bras), though, I was too scared to cut my hair..
so I bought a short haired wig.. and wore it from time to time.
In November of 2006, I found out who the gender specialist in my area was, from an online transgender support group, and went to my doctor.. and for the first time, just came right out and told her I felt like I was stuck in the wrong body.
She didn't know much about transsexuality at all.. but she sent a referral letter to the specialist, anyway.

I came out to my mom on that same day. Over the phone, because she didn't live in the same province as me. She was not okay with it at all. She, and the rest of my immediate family, are evangellical christians, and they take it to an extreme. They don't believe in things like transsexuality, because they believe god makes people physically male or female, because that's what they are. Male if you're born with a male body, and female if you're born with a female body. They believe their god does not make mistakes (meaning that no one could possibly be born with a brain and body that don't match).. there's no room in that theory for things like transsexuality. To them, gender, sex, and even sexuality, are all the same thing.
Anyway, I knew they were evangellical christian, but I didn't know before I called and came out to my mom, that transsexuality was a sin to them. I'd kind of hoped my family would accept me for who I am.
Instead, mom completely lost her mind. She went through about 10 different emotions during that phone call. She  said everything from "you're just doing this for attention", to "someone put these ideas in your head" to "you're a sick, twisted freak".. to "you're going against God's plan".. that she had a daughter, not a son..  that when I have completed my transition, she will never want to see my face or speak to me again.accused me of trying to hurt her, she said it was just a phase, that I couldn't possibly be a guy because I was so feminine and never showed any signs of "wanting" to be a boy.. she said there's no such thing as transsexuality.. that she wanted to be a boy too when she was younger and that it's just a phase that passes.. and she said that one of her friends had just recently told her "Gee, your daughter has sure hurt you alot in the past several years.. the only thing she could possibly do now, to hurt you more, is if she got a sex change.." -- she said her friend actually told her that before I came out to her.
She said a lot of other things, but I can't remember everything off the top of my head. It was pretty intense though.
My family never did accept me for who I am. They still, to this day, think that I just transitioned because I'm confused, and that one day, their daughter/sister is going to come back to them.
They are mourning the loss of their daughter/sister, but won't embrace me as their son/brother.

In December of 2006, I had reached an all-time low. My drug habit was consuming me, and so was living as a girl.
I slit my wrist quite badly around that time.. and lost a lot of blood, once again.
My best friend Ryan told me, "Dominic, if you don't begin to transition now, you are going to kill yourself."
I knew he was right.
It was then that I decided to cut my hair short. I also quit drugs and prostitution not long after that. I've been clean since then. I also stopped self injuring, for the most part.. and never went back to being promiscuous. I just didn't feel a need to overcompensate anymore, because I was finally being true to myself.
I began living male full-time (living as a guy, full-time) not long after that. I bound my chest on a regular basis, went by my chosen name at all times, and dressed completely male at all times. I never went back to being the girl I once presented as.

2007 was a rocky road. I became homeless, lost everything I owned, had trouble holding onto jobs..
But I was living as my true self.. and because of that, I got through every hardship that came my way, a lot easier than I would have if I had still been living as HER.
March of 2007, I came out to my grandmother on my mom's side (my nannie). She surprised me. I made it sound like I had this huge thing to tell her.. and to me, the trans thing actually was huge.. well.. once I'd told her, she said "is that it??".. she was actually relieved it wasn't something else, and was completely accepting and supportive. She said "You will always be my grandchild, male or female.. I don't care, as long as you're happy and healthy.. you're still the same person.. it doesn't matter to me what gender you are. If this is what you need to do to be happy, then you DO it." I was floored. This made me so happy. To have someone in my family who actually accepts me for who I am, and would support me in my journey.
December of 2007, I finally got in to see the gender specialist. I finally got my official diagnosis.. and not long after that, I began testosterone. I started out on testosterone gel (you rub it on your skin and it absorbs into your bloodstream.)
2008, I got back on my feet. Got a place to live, finally had a source of income again..
In August of 2008, I managed to convince my doctor to switch me to the testosterone injection, because with the gel, the changes were coming too slowly.. and it wasn't enough to counteract the estrogen in my body. I was so happy when I was switched to injections. It wasn't long after that, before my body started to change very rapidly. My voice deepened within weeks, I began growing facial hair, my body shape changed, and so did my mentality. I was feeling better, mentally, and physically.
I began passing as a guy more often.. it felt pretty awesome to be recognized for who I was inside.
Not much else happened in 2008, transition-wise.. except that I continued to see my psychiatrist, and he wrote me a referral for chest surgery.
In early 2009, I had my consult with the surgeon that would be doing my chest surgery..
I saw my psychiatrist a few more times that year.. and he sent in a referral for a hysterectomy.

My chest surgery happened on November 25th of 2009.
My nannie came over from England, to look after me while I recovered.

In December of 2009, I posted photos of my healing chest on facebook.. and someone reported them, and I ended up being banned, and my photos being removed.
Since it was a male chest in those photos, I had done nothing wrong, and facebook was in the wrong for taking the action that they did against me.. I was angry, and wanted to fight it. Not only for me, but so that no other trans guy would ever have to go through that. I was fighting for the right of all transmen to post their bare post-op chests on the site.
I did a few interviews for assorted LGBT news sites, etc.. a facebook group was started, for people to show their support.. and next thing I knew, thousands of people joined the group.. and the news traveled around the globe. There were articles written about me in at least 10 different countries, and several different languages.. I was mentioned on television in Germany.. it was surreal..
I had the press contact Facebook, since myself and everyone else couldn't get ahold of them no matter what we did.. and finally, we were able to make some headway.
Facebook reinstated my account, and issued me an apology.. and promised to do their very best to make sure photos of post op transmen would be safe from deletion and that the owners of the photos would not be banned from the site like I was. We were victorious.
I dealt with a similar situation again in May, with Youtube. I went about it the same way, and also had success. I joke now that I'm just waiting for myspace to have a problem with my bare chest. I say "bring it on!".. haha ;)

In January of 2010, I had my hysterectomy consult. I had the surgery on March 30th.
In summer of 2010, I went swimming shirtless for the first time ever. It was one of the most amazing, liberating things I have ever experienced.

My transition is now complete, with the exception of weight loss (I want to lose some weight, mostly in my belly, and tone up a bit.. but it's not a huge concern right now, as I'm not nearly as overweight as I used to be.), name and ID gender marker change (which I can't afford), and a chest surgery revision, which will happen after I've lost weight.
The surgeon doesn't want me to end up with a concave chest, which I will, if he removes the excess fat and skin from my chest BEFORE I lose the weight. I'm pretty happy with the way my chest looks already, but I do have some extra fat and skin, left in there deliberately, so that 1.) my pecs would be proportioned to the rest of my already overweight body, and 2.) so that I wouldn't end up with a concave chest. He definitely knows what he's doing.

And that's about it for my story. At least for the time being. Thanks for reading!