| This is the 330th story of Our Life Logs |
The past has claws—
The future has wings.
Born in 2001 in Gainesville, Florida, I was first taken from my parents when I was just a one-month-old baby boy because of sexual abuse and incest. My father was registered as a sex offender. Over time, my father lost all rights to see me, while my mother’s supervised visits were very few and far between.
In hindsight, I can’t fault my mom for her inability to keep me. She had issues of her own, coming from a household where my grandfather drank and told her incest was okay. But as a child, I hated her. I hated that she couldn’t just get it together while my siblings and I were placed in the foster care system, being tossed like ticking time bomb from one house to another.
For the first five years of my life, I was able to stay with my siblings, but we were always mistreated by each new face that became our guardian. My earliest memories are of my siblings and I being ordered to put our hands out so our foster mom could come through and smack them with a wooden spoon. I remember being forced to stand in the corner with a full diaper. Then, I remember when our foster mother’s 16-year-old stepson sexually assaulted me when I was only two.
I know what you’re thinking. What horrible person could do that? I can’t tell you, but I can tell you that it wasn’t the last time. By the time I was three, I had to grow up and discover things that no little boy that age should endure.
I was eventually separated from my siblings, completely alone and vulnerable. At first, I tried with my foster families. I’d trust them and sometimes grow to like them, but then each time they’d let me down or send me away. There were so many transfers that I can’t even remember them all.
The few that stick out to me are mostly bad. I remember being raped at the age of five. I remember being manipulated into allowing boys at a group home have sex with me. I remember staying with an outwardly religious, yet secretly abusive, family for two years who beat me any chance they could. When I wet my bed, they’d punish me by placing the soiled sheets to my face for hours. I tried running away, but it wasn’t until I started attempting suicide at the age of nine that they let me go.
I was a broken, depressed child. I felt unwanted and unlovable. Imagine thinking about death before the age of 10. I didn’t want to exist and I hated that I was born.
• • •
On top of that, I wasn’t feeling comfortable in my skin. I was a boy but I felt like a girl. With no constant in my life, I never really addressed it, understanding my identity wasn’t as important as my survival, which became more and more uncertain. But it was always in the perpetual waiting room of my mind.
To cope, I’d either act up, harm myself, or try to commit suicide. I was placed in mental hospitals more times than I could count. I almost successfully killed myself at 15 when I had sliced my throat, but lived by the grace of God only because my cut missed the vital vein keeping my heart pumping. I spent a lot of time in the mental hospital after that close call, convinced that this hopelessness would last forever.
It was the kindness of two wonderful ladies that changed my life when I was 15. After being released, I was sent to live in another group home. While I was there, I met Lyn and Gin who became my repeat visitors. They were not scared by my outbursts or my demeanor, and I felt drawn to them. Eventually, they asked me, “We want to help you, Alex,” and offered to foster me. Although I was hesitant, I accepted their offer.
It’s because of them that I’m my most authentic self today. One day while living in their house, we were looking through clothes together. I was probably admiring a pair of high heels. They looked to me and said, “We know.”
I was confused at first. Know what? About the suicide attempts? About my messed-up family?
“We know that you’re transgender,” they said to me.
Sheltered from an ordinary life, I had no idea what being trans was. They explained to me that although I was born a boy, I was actually supposed to be a girl. They saw it in the way I spoke and carried myself. I was shocked but I knew they were right. How was it that they were able to look into my soul and see me? Especially when I had tried to look away for so long?
I had always felt like I was a girl but didn’t know that something could be done about those feelings. I remembered putting on my aunt’s purple faded green heels as a toddler. I remembered wanting to model and wear the latest fashions, but “girl” outfits. It all clicked, and just like that, my life shifted. With their support, I started dressing like a girl and embracing that side of me that was squashed out by my other trauma.
In 2016, Lyn and Gin encouraged me to see a new psychologist to discuss everything. I was officially diagnosed with gender dysphoria (the feeling that your birth-assigned sex and gender don’t match your gender identity) and then made arrangements to help me transition. It started with hormones. I wasn’t expecting to see results for a few months but within three weeks, I began to notice feminine changes to my body, like added curves to my hips. Looking in the mirror sparked a happiness that I had never felt in my whole life. For once, I didn’t hate myself. I didn’t hate living.
Once we got the ball rolling, I didn’t want to slow down. I quickly started inquiring about changing my gender and name legally along with gender reassignment surgery. My psychologist and my foster moms advised me to cross that bridge after more of the hormones kicked in. But I didn’t want to wait. Life as Alex was a life full of abuse and lacking in love, and I, Khloè, was ready to start fresh.
Yet, the hurt from my past abuses still crept up on me. Just as Lyn and Gin were in the process of adopting me, we got into a big fight that led me back to some of my old destructive behaviors I had wanted to leave behind.
The adoption process came to a halt and I was sent back to the foster care system. Still, I was not really mad about it. I was able to recognize the trauma that I still needed to work through, and I was placed in a female group home—I’m the first transgender woman in my area to be permitted to stay in a girls’ home—with people who have supported my dreams and hopes that I never knew existed for me.
In the chaos of being abused, neglected, and tossed around that led to constant thoughts of suicide, becoming transgender saved my life. Once I started hormones and transitioning, my thoughts of suicide reduced from every day to once a week, to once a month, to once a year. I developed a confidence I never had before. Living life authentically has changed everything and given me a way to move on from my past to a better future.
So, what’s next for me? Well, I’ll be 18 soon. The group home I’m currently in is helping me in starting a career in modeling. I think someone like me modeling is so important so that the youth sees that transgender models can be successful and make it. It’s less about the fame for me and more about the message. What I’ve learned is that you may have to walk through hell, but you will ultimately make it out if you keep fighting. Life has been nothing short of cruel to me, but I’ve come out the other side. I’m glad I lived to see the other side because it’s more glorious than I could have ever imagined.
This is the story of Khloè Davis
Khloè currently resides in Florida in a woman’s group home that is helping her find resources to launch a modeling career along with helping her get her story out to the world. Taken from her parents when she was one month old, Khloè has been in and out of the foster care system all her life with over 100 different placements where she endured sexual and physical abuse in many of the homes. This life led her to suicidal tendencies that made placing her worse. It wasn’t until she met two accepting women that she discovered part of why she was miserable was also because she wasn’t living as her true gender.
In 2017, Khloè legally changed her birth name (Alex). In fact, she set the precedent in Gainesville for any foster kid in the future who wants to change their name on their own. By 2018, Khloè had legally changed her gender marker and began her life anew.
After transitioning, Khloè has found hope again and has plans for a bright future now that she’ll be free of the system soon. Khloè hopes to start a modeling career, and given that she writes songs in her free time, she may also try to pursue entertainment. She’s made it a goal to have enough influence by next year to be permitted to attend Coachella in California. Khloè hopes to one day also build a home for transgender youths to find refuge in.
This story first touched our hearts on May 12, 2019.
| Writer: Kristen Petronio | Editor: Colleen Walker |