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.
Also by Rogelio Pereda
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