Chad Felix Greene writes:
My behavior grew more and more reckless. I even made plans with a stranger I met online who lived in California. He was supposed to rescue me from my small town on the day I graduated from high school. He actually flew into town to attend my graduation, and I discovered he had lied about his appearance, age, and practically everything else. The level of danger that I casually put myself into boggles my mind today. I am genuinely lucky not to have been killed.
All of this occurred in secret. I never spoke about my activities to anyone. Since my father trusted me to take care of myself, no one ever asked. My paranoia about others finding out, my embarrassment and shame over my sexual behavior, and my ongoing focus on radically changing my life the moment I had the chance left me anxious, extremely depressed, and disconnected from my family. It was only because a few significant life events forced me to stay put—my grandfather passed away a few days before my eighteenth birthday, and I moved in with my dad to care for him—that I was saved from running off, becoming homeless, a sex worker, or worse. (…)
It didn’t occur to anyone to ask me why I felt the way I did as a child. We must learn to notice depression or anxiety in children as an extreme warning sign—and then to act on it. Activists today would argue that had I been encouraged to be “myself,” I wouldn’t have experienced this level of depression. But that simply isn’t true. My gender dysphoria was a symptom of a larger issue. Today, many want to turn psychological symptoms into an identity. In truth, what I needed was help understanding and overcoming my social anxiety. I needed tools to build healthy, lasting friendships. I needed exposure to masculine environments and strong male leaders. I needed to understand my own masculinity rather than fantasize about a feminine ideal.