Christine from The Way We Were
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My name is Christine-Jazmin Kaleilani. I was born in Hawaii in 1973, and I realized that I was different when I was four years old. My grandmother was the only person who supported me. When she first noticed that I was different, she called me Tahine, because I was a female in a different form. I was Tahine to all my family, but my given name was Calvin.
Because my parents were religious, they thought I was possessed by an evil spirit. They put me into psychiatric care in order to help me be a male. I even took testosterone pills - but they didn’t work. When I was eight years old, I started to wear dresses in school. I just told everybody that I was an “fa'afafine”, a Samoan word for transgender girls. After five psychiatric counseling sessions at the age of twelve, they finally diagnosed me with gender disorder.
In 1990, I lost my grandmother. I wore a dress to honor her memory at her funeral because I wanted to be present the way she had always wanted me to be. My family didn’t appreciate it; but I wasn't attending the service for them. At my graduation, I dressed as a man to honor my grandfather. Then I entered into the military for six years to prove to my dad that no matter what, I will always be transgender. I got married as a man, but I was unhappy because the marriage was a cover up.
Today I am very happy with my life. I work as a nurse in the Fort Knox Radcliff area in Kentucky, and am an active member of Sienna TG, Louisville Transgender Support Group.
In the The Way We Were photo essay.
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