Photo by Molly Belle on Unsplash

In 1965, I was 6 years old and unceremoniously informed that I was, in fact, not a girl. The next 53 years were filled with deep depression, anger and extreme violence aimed at those who certainly did not deserve it. The anger and violence resulted in my incarceration within the Missouri prison system in 1979.

2015 would serve to open my eyes, to permit me to see past the haunting images and glimpse a faint light through the darkness. It was then that I first heard the term “gender dysphoria.” 

“Really?” I thought. “This is real and there is treatment?” I read, studied, and asked questions. I discovered there are others like me in the world.

But discovering I wasn’t alone in my struggle didn’t make it easy when it came to convincing others who had control of my life. Instead it was the beginning of my three-year ordeal, fighting against the voices from the darkness who tried so hard to pull me back until, at long last I was permitted to talk with a psychiatrist. 

I cried when, after only 20 minutes, she began using female pronouns and, at last, she confirmed to me that I was not some freak, that I truly was a woman! The State’s contracted health care provider soon fired the doctor who diagnosed me with gender dysphoria and would not let me see another doctor for nearly a year. 

When they did at last permit me to see another doctor, they asked that I be reevaluated. Again, much to their dismay, the new doctor also made the same diagnosis as did the third doctor, So much time, so much effort, so much money spent in an effort to prove I wasn’t in fact a woman. And at the end of the day, all three doctors came to the same diagnosis: I AM A WOMAN!

On May 6, 2018, at 10:30 a.m., I was at long last given my first dosage of estradiol. The nurse at the medication window must have known this would be something very special, as she called me to medical after all other prisoners had received their medication. When she pushed the little cup containing three tabs (1mg each) of estradiol through the window, I found myself so full of emotion, unable to take the pills at first due to my sobs of blissful joy.

On September 17, 2018, the Circuit Court of Cole County Missouri made it official, when the order was made final, changing my name legally to Patricia Elane Trimble.

To all of my brothers and sisters in the world, let your light shine so that it can push back the darkness that seeks to engulf many in our communities!

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

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Patricia Elane Trimble

Patricia Elane Trimble is a transgender feminist writer, activist and author incarcerated in Missouri. She is an advocate for the fair and just treatment of all incarcerated LGBTQ people. Her book “Finding Purpose: One Transgender Woman's Journey" is available on Amazon.