The Story of an Ugly Trans Girl

4 min readFeb 17, 2017

I don’t know if Medium is for telling (relatively) simple autobiographies, but since I think mine has some value beyond self-reflection, here it is.

I was born, in December 1990, with Crouzon’s syndrome — (I use a possessive apostrophe since it’s what I learned in the UK). Some say most babies are ugly, and I was a bit uglier. I also needed more care; I had a ventricular shunt installed to regulate hydrocephalus at three months, and then regular skull-shifting surgeries throughout my first decade. My brain needed space to grow.

In the meantime, I went to school in a pretty ‘normal’ manner, besides having a helper who would literally hold my hand due to my iffy balance. My classmates were unmemorable in how they treated a disfigured person, though I’m sure I’m forgetting many microaggressions. You know how it is.

I started fancying girls pretty early, in a deep, floaty way that never felt like how ‘other boys’ seemed to experience childhood infatuation. In fact, though I couldn’t really describe it, I never felt like a ‘boy’. But I shrugged it off mostly as just being weird.

When I was eight, I had a major operation that kind of transformed my face, involving a purple halo and silver teeth.

When I was thirteen, I suddenly had an epiphany of sorts, that it’d just be really nice, wonderful even, to just…be a girl. I can’t remember exactly where it came from, but it didn’t feel wrong — until I thought about it.

You can’t be a girl, because you like girls, and if you change, they’ll make you change who you like as well.

You can’t be a girl, because you want to be feminine, deep down, even if that stuff scares you now — and if you change, they’ll make you masculine.

You especially can’t be a girl, because you already have something wrong with you. You were born with a problem, making another one for yourself is silly, and selfish if you really mean it. And if you want to change, how can you possibly ask for more patience and care from those who’ve been looking after you so far?

So I pushed it down, and grew my hair out, and bought a pair of women’s boots, and tried on a dress in a Marks and Spencer changing room with the accompliceship of my younger sister.

I pushed it down, and started looking at porn, only f/f stuff, eventually seeking out non-erotic TV and film scenes because they seemed to better represent love (I was unaware of good, ethical porn). I read ‘my first lesbian kiss’ stories, both fictional and true, for titillation and because they resonated. I didn’t dream of being sexually attractive myself, because I was disfigured. I wished I was one of those women.

I had my first kiss when I was nineteen, and the shock of actually being attractive enough to someone — of my mouth actually being kissable — disturbed the hell out of me.

I stopped looking, but I kept fancying.

I went on theme park enthusiast trips. Social stuff got easier, I got more confident. I went to Japan, saw theme parks, and kissed another trip participant in the line for the Tokyo DisneySea Electric Railway. We’ve been together for almost six years.

I started feeling ‘cute’, when I realised someone was falling in love with me. I found feminism. I found trans people. I found empowerment in actively identifying as disfigured. I lost my gender.

In my last year of undergrad, at twenty-three, I told my best friends I wasn’t male, and they weren’t phased. My partner had to get used to it, but it’s a necessary spoiler to say that she is an amazing, supportive person who has never looked back.

I tried things out. I increasingly liked ‘lesbian’ as a marker, even though I didn’t think I could claim ‘woman’. I went through a few months of doubt, and then decided to ask my Twitter friends — so far, in total the most important friend group of my life — if I could just be a woman.

And then I became a disfigured, disabled, non-binary trans gay woman, and it felt amazing. And in this world with a dangerous, exclusionary construction of ‘beauty’, I found ways to see myself as attractive.

I’m white; I’m middle-class; I’m thin. I can’t get away from these privileges, and I will use them in tandem with those markers others seek to use to oppress me.

I strive to be the ugly trans girl you’ve never dreamed of.




A disfigured/disabled trans femme who tweets under @guysmiley22.