Imagine waking up every morning, looking in the mirror, to not recognize the person staring back at you. Can you fathom feeling that inner turmoil your entire life? Your frustration grows as you feel trapped in the wrong body. A few years ago, Aiden Mann was a strong, athletic-woman, the face and staring player of the women’s basketball team at Charleston Southern, a historically baptist school. Aiden knew from an early age that he was always meant to be man. I interviewed Aiden to shed light on what it means to be an openly trans-gendered in America. It’s imperative to continue to educate and spread awareness and understanding of the trans community.
Before transitioning, Aiden would get out of the shower, stare into the mirror, and cry. He felt ashamed of his feminine figure, he hated the sound of his voice, he hated being told he was “pretty”. His only saving grace was the gym where he felt the strongest and most carefree. For the longest time he wasn’t able to do anything about it, he simply masked his emotions. After college he finally was able to cut his hair. A year after chopping off his hair he began taking testosterone (known as T). His voice started dropping, his facial hair started to grow and for the first time in his life, he felt relief, this was how it was always supposed to be.
From the age of five, Aiden has always felt like he was supposed to be a boy. Growing up with his older brother, people often thought they were twin boys. His mother let him keep his hair short and when they’d play baseball, someone came up to him and said, “You guys are such cute twin boys!”. Aiden’s six year old face beamed at the comment. “I always wanted to be one of the guys and not just hanging around them, but physically be a guy” Aiden thought a lot of lesbian’s felt this way. He had no idea that there was a community or possibility of being trans gendered.
Being the face of the women’s basketball team he knew that he couldn’t start his transition while he was playing sports in college. He confided in a few friends about his realization of being trans and was quickly hit with discouraging words of, “You’re too pretty to be a guy. You’d make an ugly man”. There’s huge anxiety that comes with transitioning, especially not knowing what you’ll look like as a man or woman. These words weren’t meant with malicious intent but heightened Aiden’s anxiety about transitioning. As mentioned before, Aiden’s face appeared on every banner, flyer and poster related to Charleston Southern’s women’s basketball team. Charleston Southern has always been a historically baptist school. He wasn’t allowed to have short hair, he was strongly discouraged to bring attention to his appearance. He also wasn’t allowed to wear bow ties to the sports banquet. He was often asked why he felt the need to dress gay.
Majority of people have a lack of knowledge on how to approach someone who’s trans gendered. It’s never and I repeat, never okay to ask someone that’s trans:
I asked Aiden, what’s the hardest thing that you’ve had to go through being trans? He explained that although he had an easier process than most in changing his name and gender on his I.D, he’d run into awkward situations purchasing alcohol, at the doctor’s office and going to the bars before those changes were finalized. He was questioned because his I.D had his dead name and female gender. Luckily, Aiden has support from his family and friends and a large community of love that pours in from social media (minus the small amount of bible humping trolls that write outlandish comments under his photos). He’s never cared about the judgement he’s received from his decisions. The fact of the matter is, how could you judge someone who’s being their true authentic self?
That Tall Redhead