On Being In Your Body: Chloe Meyer
Chloe Michelle Meyer's path to finding womanhood is different than most, but what's important is that she found it and it's given her strength she never knew she had. Chloe is a transgender woman, an activist, a nursing student, and a YouTuber. She started YouTube to document her transition and shortly after beginning this transition, began to face the many hardships most trans women face. She's now dedicated her life to raising awareness about trans rights and creating a space for trans women in normative society. Other than YouTube, Chloe is a nursing student in her final year and obtaining a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Working in the healthcare industry, she's learned what obstacles trans women and women in general face while trying to access quality and informed healthcare. Chloe is incredibly passionate about changing this issue by working to create a Minnesota based organization with her friend and cofounder—where they'll address the inequalities that transgender people face, raise awareness, and create a self sustaining community that strengthens the voice of trans people. Chloe is a Male to Female (MTF) Transgender Woman who's been fighting for women’s and trans rights through social media and community outreach. She deeply hopes to strengthen these efforts through collaboration with other strong women.
"I believe that in order for you to be heard
you have to create a space for yourself
in society and fight to be heard.
Let’s create a space for ourselves.
It is time to be heard.
It is time to take action."
I was assigned male at birth based on the appearance of my genitals, only to grow up to become a woman. I was born Philip Anthony Meyer II to two loving parents Phil, my former namesake, and Sherry. I was born in Texas and lived there till the age of eighteen, which didn't provide a safe environment for self-discovery. I can recall being feminine all of my life and suppressing it from a very young age. At the age of four I vaguely remember myself calling out to my mother and great grandmother, saying that I was going to dance for them. I proceeded to come out of my mother’s room with a vibrant red pleated skirt, a pair of heels that clacked against the tile, and a pair of clip-on earrings I found in my mother’s vanity. I then began to spin in front of them to show off my brilliance, the skirt ruffled in beautiful waves of red fabric, and I remember the feeling of pure comfort for a brief moment. In that moment I forgot what I was taught about being who I was—I could just be. My mother really never showed disapproval, she just dismissed my performance, thinking my son may be gay. My father saw my femininity too, but he actively fought it. When I went to school I remember playing house and always being the mother, yet feeling it was fine until I was told that it wasn't okay. In Texas boys are taught that being feminine is weak. I soon began learning that to survive living and growing up in Texas, I was going to have to put up a front. I began to play sports but still held onto to my long hair. One day in fifth grade I walked down the hall only to be confronted by a group of boys who told me, “You are a fag” and “Only faggots wear purple shirts and have hair like yours.” I learned that any attribute of me that was feminine was going to be shut down by my peers, and on top of that, I began male puberty which brought on the beginning of experiencing Gender Dysphoria.
I was uncomfortable in my own body and contemplated suicide. Many trans people feel that it's easier than living a lie, but I knew I had a future, and maybe being a woman could be possible. To lessen my burden I came out as gay at the age of eleven because to be honest, I didn’t know what a transgender person was, and gay was the closest thing I could relate my feelings too. Following my coming out, I faced hell in middle school and the beginning of high school. I was bullied, hurt, taunted, and cast out from the crowd. I used to sit up at night into the early morning and think about what it would be like to be myself, to be a woman, to be Chloe. At thirteen I finally found out what I was, I was transgender. I fought this identity all throughout high school, but when I moved to Dallas my senior year, I met so many amazing people at the small charter school my brother and I went to. That year, 2011, I came out to my brother and some of my closest friends.
After graduation I was off to Minnesota to begin college and my transition. I slowly began to feminize myself, until I met a man. I was eighteen and thought that love was most important, but what I didn’t understand was how hard loving someone is when you feel you are incomplete. I struggled with my identity throughout the first two years of my undergraduate career. I found solace through performing drag. Drag was the only time I felt comfortable—the only time when I felt something like myself. Being in drag brought me back to that feeling that spinning around in my mom’s red pleated skirt gave me—I could just be myself. After getting pretty serious with my boyfriend and putting a lot of effort into my drag, I began to feel empty again. I did drag whenever an opportunity presented itself just to pacify how incomplete I felt. My boyfriend and I parted ways after two years in a pretty messy break up, and I spiraled deeper into depression. I was accepted into nursing school that year and began a new journey, as Chloe. After a year of drinking, sleeping around, and feeling isolated, I found it in me not to give up on myself and began what's been the hardest journey I've ever been on. I finished the first year of nursing school and began my transition from male to female. Finally living as the woman I knew I always was gave me the greatest sense of accomplishment, but I was faced with more opposition, hatred, and misogyny than I thought I'd be.
It's been a year and three months since I decided to begin my journey into womanhood and femininity. I started to understand the inequalities women face, how real male privilege is, and how hard being a trans woman is in present day society. My womanhood was constantly met with questioning, dismissal, and hatred. I began to get cat called on the street: “I am going to have me a piece of that ass” or “Damn bitch, you’re fine” and “I can tell you are a man but I’d still fuck you” were among the many things I heard daily. Looking for love as a trans woman was also hard and not only did I face misogyny from men, but some of these very same men even fetishized me. These men gave me a false sense of security and would tell me they wanted to be with me and loved me, but when they got what they wanted sexually, they'd leave. Some were even embarrassed to be seen with me in public. Everyday my hope to be in love, to be a wife, and a mother left with every dismissal of my womanhood. Facing this daily struggle gave me a reason to fight. Now I no longer seek approval from others, and I fight everyday to change how people treat trans women, because I don't want anyone to feel like people have made me feel. I don’t want trans women to go to the doctor and have their identities dismissed, misunderstood, or not know how to be treated. I want the murder of trans women to stop. I want people to realize that trans women are lovable and beautiful. I want people to realize that trans women aren’t taboo, fetishes, prostitutes, and outcasts. I want trans people to be accepted into society like cisgender people are. I want cis women and trans women to fight for the equality of women together. Most of all I want trans people to feel like they won’t be killed for being true to themselves.
My life has taught me to take my struggles and sadness and harness that energy to make a change. Telling your story makes people like you relate and humanizes people who are different, like me. So share your struggles and triumphs because you could save a life today.
What is your manifesto? I want to share my story with people who are like-minded, but vastly different. I think as women we need to share our struggles and find ways to band together. Being a part of a group of amazing women is an honor.
(Ryan Coit Photography)