I didn’t know my own body had rejected me. I didn’t realize that my body was simply responding to abuse.

I was born a woman and withstood molestation as a child, which left me feeling unprotected and unworthy of genuine love. I came to the mis-conclusion that "girls are victims and boys are abusers," and those were the only two options I saw. Not wanting to be the victim, I subconsciously decided being a boy was safer. Wearing my brother’s clothes and seeing how I looked in the mirror certainly had an effect on me. I felt powerful and in control; nothing like how I viewed myself as a girl - weak, worthless and ugly. I didn’t know my own body had rejected me. I didn’t realize that my body was simply responding to abuse and that I was experiencing a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

My family took me to University of Minnesota’s Program in Human Sexuality. It was there after much testing that they concluded I had gender dysphoria. The doctor claimed I received the wrong chromosomes in relation to my hormones and told me to either stay this way and face a life of suicide, or have a sex change. A sex change, I thought. That's perfect. I hate my own body anyway. I learned all about about how to transition: if you get your name changed, live full time in the opposite sex, and qualify to have hormone therapy, then you can get the operation. I changed my name and lived full time as a man, but I was never happy. I began to get angrier and more violent, and remembered what I believed as a child: boys are abusers. I became very abusive and ended up in jail several times. I never went further with the process of getting a sex change.

30 years later, the woman I was living with told me if I was going to live with her I needed to attend church and bible study. The first time I went to church, a pastor came over and prayed with me, and I encountered a God that I had never known before. After that moment, everything changed; my understanding of right and wrong became more defined, and my heart began to question the life I was living.

Things began to change, and suddenly I didn’t want to kiss my girlfriend anymore. One day when we were holding hands, I looked down at our hands and said, "Why am I holding a woman's hands? I'm a woman, I'm made for a man!" Soon after, I moved away from my girlfriend. I was met with love by the Christian community and began to learn about absolute surrender to freedom. I've been free 8 years now and I actually love being single.

Bree Stevens