I've been on dA for eight months, and during that time, my life as I know it changed; nothing is the same.
How deviantART Changed My Life
I honestly did not think deviantART would effect my life.
When I joined deviantART, I had no intentions of using it any more than I would be using my email account. I only joined because my 14 year old brother, who is a regular user of the site, kept telling me to sign up and upload my art for others to see. And so I did. I joined on March 2012, creating my first deviantART account called "pinkblueBiblioFREAK". I emphasized "freak" because that's what I felt like, basically because of my gender identity which failed to match my body and appearance. I looked nothing like a female, yet identified as one. Being on that site and talking to people, I started making friends. Making friends always came naturally to me; the reason I stopped doing it in real life was because no one accepted who I was as in Kuwait it is both illegal and a sin to be transgendered, and went against all beliefs, traditions, and cultural values. But online, where most of my friends were from the states, I felt accepted, and so, when they asked me for my gender I told them that I was a girl. And that was the first step I took to accepting who I was. I always said I wasn't a boy, but was too ashamed to say I was a girl. But this year, on deviantART, I felt empowered to state it.
Now, I didn't wish to deceive any one, and so I told them that I was biologically male. When I heard their responses I was shocked. They embraced me for who I am. I never felt loved like this before. The more I talked to them, the more I wanted to tell them everything. And so I did. I soon wanted to share more than just my art; I wanted to show them what I looked like. And so, gradually, I posted pictures of myself dressed as a girl. They complimented me; this changed everything. For once in my life, I wished to live. However, what happened soon after that made me wish I was dead. My 14 year old brother saw my photos. I discovered this while at the college library. By then I had already started living in deviantART instead of the real world that I needed to get on deviantART 24/7. Now, this was a crisis. I wasn't ready to deal with my family finding out the truth. I panicked and told my friends that I wasn't going to return home. They advised me against it but I couldn't listen to reason and so I stayed at the university. I spent hours there until it started closing, and that's when I knew I had to find a place to spend the night without being discovered by security. I went to the prayer room and lied there. Fortunately, they did not come looking in there. I slept uncomfortably. Around 6 in the morning I woke up hungry, tired, scared. I wanted to go home. And so I did. When I reached there I noticed that no one realized that I was gone. No one seemed to care.
After that incident I felt seclusion would be for the best. I isolated myself from my family. I haven't seen or talked to my brothers and sisters ever since then. I lived in my room; I lived in deviantART. I started skipping college lectures and failing in some courses. Luckily I was a top student so that didn't matter much. I have been getting As for years and this was my last course so I knew that I would pass. I wanted to graduate with flying colors, but the more I spent on deviantART, the more I felt accepted, and the more dysphoric I got in the real world whenever I would step outside my room and subject myself to being seen and addressed as a man. As time flew by my parents and siblings started worrying. They started knocking my door and sliding notes underneath it, telling me to come out. I wanted to, both literally and figuratively, but I was afraid. Afraid that they would continue using male pronouns, which started to hurt more after seeing how accepting people could be, as I've learned from being on deviantART. I have tried several other sites, but deviantART seemed to be the only place I could be myself and be loved for it. So I ignored my family, and announced to my friends on deviantART that they were my family.
With time I wanted to put my talent to use. Being an artist and a writer of prose and poetry, I drew several of my friends and posted them in my gallery. At times I wrote poems to them on their birthdays, special occasions, and whenever they would feel sad. Soon, I wanted to make something special, a novel. And so I asked them to create characters and cosply them so they would be on the cover. I got tons of feedback with a total of 21 characters. I have gotten, so far, over a hundred pages into the novel, but it's still too early to tell when the novel will be finished. If I keep working on it, hopefully I would be able to finish it before 2014 and mail the novel to my friends.
As the finals came, I realized that I wanted more from life than to just sit in my room and be seen as a girl. I wanted to be a girl; I needed to be a girl. I started researching about transitioning by asking my friends who were LGBT and by going out of my room. I started sneaking out of the house, taking the car, and going to hospitals to ask about HRT. It didn't take long before I met the right doctor who treated women through hormonal therapy. I asked her to treat me, to find me a gender therapist who would write my report so she would prescribe Estradiol and Spironolactone pills for me to block my testosterones and give me estrogen. She stopped me there, stating that, by the penal law 198, transgenders are criminals, and that it was her duty to report me to the police so I would get arrested. She got angry at me for meeting up with her because she didn't wish to turn me in. She agreed to not call the police if I left her alone, and so I did. I got home and researched it. It was true. This year alone 3 transwomen were arrested for being trans. They weren't heard of again. This changed my perspective of what I called a safe home. This made me question whether the dark ages were truly over. Like a coward, I remained in my room and stayed talking to my family on deviantART.
I met the most wonderful people in my life on deviantART. Some I found; others came to me. Some talked to me cheerfully, others had problems. Like family, we didn't just depress each other with our problems, but sympathized with one other. Many of them were trans or gay and understood how I felt. That's how I met my best friend on deviantART. He was always there for me; whenever I would be feeling depressed and suicidal he would sense it by my text and tells me to get on skype so we would vidchat. He is probably the only person who has seen me in tears and didn't run away. Instead, he stayed on for hours trying to cheer me up. We've done that so many times that he thinks now and again that I take him for granted, but I don't. never had, never will. Then I met this girl who started cutting cause her ex broke her heart. I told her to note me to keep it confidential. We talked. I did my best to convince her not to cut anymore. We started making videos and emailing them back and forth. We drew pictures for each other; we emailed each other our short stories as we were both amateur writers. We clicked. Before I knew it, I was only on deviantART for her. She was the person I thought of when I got online, and the person I worried about when I got offline. She became my world. Though it wasn't a sexual relationship. I loved her with all my heart as a sister, and soon enough, we made that clear and promised to be sisters for life. Soon after that I met someone. He was kind and caring and I fell for him. I asked him if I could be his girlfriend and he told me no at first, but after a month of talking, he asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes. I had a best friend, a sister, and a boyfriend. Already my life has changed so much. I had no idea that it was going to change even more.
It didn't take long before I started missing my family in real life. I wanted to be around them again, but I knew that they wouldn't understand unless I make them understand. And so I decided to come out to my siblings. My parents would have to wait as I've already came out to them 7 years ago and they decided to ignore it. They said it was only a phase and it would pass. And so, I started my mission to come out to my siblings. I have 6 brothers and 4 sisters, and each time I came out to one of them, I felt exhausted, emotionally and physically. Like every other thing that happened to me in my life, I recorded it in my journal. I wrote journals before coming out to them, and the results of that coming out. I came out to one at a time so I wouldn't lose them. Some understood, some didn't. Some thought I made sense; some just thought I was gay. After coming out to my siblings I felt a little better, but now was the hard part. I needed to come out to my parents again and ask them to help me transition. I did. That's when all hell broke lose. Both of my parents are calm and loving, but my dad thought if we sought a religious doctor it would help. Knowing how religious people were in Kuwait, I told him no. I knew that he wouldn't be qualified to treat a transwomen so I refused. But he insisted. I lied and said okay then went to my room and locked my door, refusing to go. He banged at the door telling me to open; with every bang I got more scared. I kept telling my friends and family on deviantART how much terror he was causing in my heart. They sympathized with me, but could do nothing. I knew I had to open the door and go with him. So I went. And my dad stood there as the religious doctor beat me, strangle me, and violate my basic human rights. I managed to escape and get home and write a detailed and extremely emotional journal about what happened, and, within a matter of minutes, my life has changed. It was all thanks to my hero. I call him my hero because he always defended me on deviantART from homophobes who said I was a boy. Now, he truly made me believe he was my hero as he saved my life. Literally. All he did was set up a journal with a link to mine, asking people to share it and tell human activists to help me spread the word, that this sort of thing still goes on in this day and age. On that same night my journal attracted more attention than I possibly could've ever imagined. Some called me a lair, others were shocked and moved and prayed for me. I was getting so much mail that I couldn't keep up with the replies so I gave my password to my best friend, sister, and boyfriend to help me reply. When I realized that we weren't enough to reply to all of people's comments I gave my password to four other close friends, including my hero.
It remained like this for days. Everyday I would wake up to tons of messages and notes and emails, and would ask my friends to help me with the replies. I tried to not think about that night as every time I do I would start crying. People and friends started linking me to articles and newsletters, and one of them mentioned how the Kuwaiti government monitored online activities, and, by having a record of my trans activities up there, I was at risk of being arrested. So I decided to leave my account. However, leaving deviantART was easier said than done. My heart was attached to deviantART, and so I made another account, "BeCarefulILove". I noted close friends about this account and tried to refrain from writing journals and uploading art as I was now in hiding. Yet, seeing how I was talking to the same people, it didn't take long before others found me. And so, I moved accounts again, this time it was called "imxx". Again, I was in hiding, but did a horrible job at it. I didn't talk about that journal, however, that journal remained. More and more people read it, and that's when my personal savoir came across it. She was told about it by a friend, and decided to help. She found my new account through friends and asked me what I wanted. I said I want to be myself, and for that to happen I need to leave Kuwait and be somewhere where it wasn't illegal to be trans. She offered to take me in. I was shocked. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. She didn't even know me, how could she be doing this. We started looking into ways to seek asylum to be able to come to the states legally. When I asked her where she lived, she said in Washington. I mentioned that it was ironic that I would be going there seeing how I was born there. When she heard that I was born in the U.S. she said welcome to the states. She told me no asylum is required seeing how by law I was an American citizin. And so, we started planning on getting me out of there and, within a month, I left Kuwait and went to live with this kind stranger whom I've only met on deviantART.
Being here, I thought the deviantART drama would be over. I was wrong. Some of my closest friends that I talked to day and night were feeling forgotten. When I first got here, there was so much paperwork that needed to be done and so I didn't have as much time to get on deviantART and talk to my family and friends as I did back in Kuwait in my room. Some of them even shut me out of their lives, claiming that I was ignoring them on purpose. I wanted to go to deviantART, but I didn't have time. And so, I began to lose close friends and family. Some began to hate me. Hurt, I left my account. However, by now deviantART was an addiction. I had to be on it, even if it was for only a few minutes a day. I had to have my deviantART. And so I made a fourth account, it was suppose to be my fourth and final account as I hated moving accounts, I called it "Battery-Girl". I chose a username, avatar, and style very different from what I usually use in my accounts. Because now, I wasn't hiding from the government, but from my ex-friends. No one knew it was me except for my boyfriend. He somehow had a feeling it was me so I told him the truth and asked him to keep it a secret. Soon, I started feeling as if I was lying to my friends, so I noted them, telling them that it was me, Josie. Some forgave me for hiding, others got angry and left. Besides losing close family and friends, I had other problems; I became jealous. My sister and best friend have became close and decided to exclude me from their conversations. This made me suicidal.
I have been suicidal several times throughout the years, but this time it was worse. My sister was my world, and hearing that she preferred to talk to my best friend over me destroyed me. I threw away everything I had; I killed myself as a vegetarian as I ate meat for the first time; I drank alcohol for the first time; I cheated on my boyfriend for the first time. I ended up at the railroad waiting for the train to come so I could throw myself in front of it. It wasn't about transitioning anymore, or about my boyfriend and the life we promised each other to have, but it was about me. A close friend noted me telling me that it wasn't possibly all their fault for leaving me. If one friend left me, then the problem would lie in them. But if more than one, then maybe the problem lied in me. I started to believe that. I hated the monster I have became. I was ready to end my life but one of my close friends on deviantART decided not to give up on me and reminded me that there are some who cared. I stayed and talked to her. Shortly after that I told my boyfriend that I cheated on him by making out with another man and we decided that it was for the best that we would end our relationship as a couple, even though we still love each other. I still try to talk him into coming to Washington so we would be together and work things out. The ironic thing is, he and most of my close friends live on the east side of the states instead of here on the west. Since then, I've been telling most of my close friends and family on deviantART to come to Washington so we would be together.
A few days ago, my therapist finally wrote my report and gave it to my physician, allowing me to start transitioning into becoming a woman. This gave me hope to life. It has started a new chapter in my life, but, at the same time, I realize that I must end the previous chapter in my life. The deviantART chapter. I must say goodbye to deviantART because I have gotten so emotional this year without going on the pills, and now that I have started going on estrogen, my therapist and medical doctor and friends all warn me that I will be getting even more emotional in the following months. However, that isn't the main reason of why I am leaving. I'm leaving because I'm going offline soon. According to my savior's lease, I'm not allowed to stay in her appartment. The longer I stay, the higher the chance become of her landlord finding out and, most likely, evicts her and her boyfriend. The only logical choice here is for me to leave. I will be leaving shortly and will keep looking for a room in a house in exchange for housekeeping or other services. I will also keep searching for jobs. I'm writing this using my savoiur's laptop; I'm still at her appartment working on getting my own as well as a job to be able to afford rent and pills, but I decided to take a moment to write this so deviantART would know how it saved my life. During my stay on deviantART from March to October, 2012, I've had four main accounts in eight months. I forgot the password to the first one that started it all, but in the others I will put links in their journals so people would know that I made it out of Kuwait in one peace; that I am still alive and well; that there is unbelievable power in this site called deviantART.