Real Life

Real life: I was a boy trapped in a girl's body

By the time I was 16, I knew in my heart what I was.

By As told to Take 5

Angus Coleman, 19, Wellington, NZ, shares his true life story;

Whizzing around the skate park on my board, I looked up to see two older skaters watching me.

"Hey, check out that dude!" one of the guys said to his mates. "He's better than you."

I felt my cheeks burn crimson.

On one hand, I appreciated the compliment, but I had to tell them the truth.

"Ummm, thanks," I muttered. "But I'm a girl."

To my relief, they weren't bothered.

This kind of mistake has become more common since I'd entered adolescence.

Most of my friends were guys, and I stopped wearing dresses, instead choosing baggy, loose-fitting pants and a shirt.

In fact, my only feminine features were my long hair and breasts.

I had to tell them the truth: "I'm a girl."
I had to tell them the truth: "I'm a girl."

I knew that my life of skating and playing drums in a rock band was a long way from what other 13-year-olds were doing, but I'd always felt more comfortable with the idea of being a boy than a girl.

By the time I reached 16, I knew in my heart what I was.

Sitting down to speak with Mum and Dad, I felt butterflies in my tummy.

"I'm transgender," I told them.

They looked at me completely nonplussed.

"Poppy, we already knew that," Mum said, wrapping me in a hug.

I felt so lucky to have such accepting parents when lots of other teens get rejected or even kicked out of home for being gay or trans.

Playing guitar is how I spend most of my free time.
Playing guitar is how I spend most of my free time.

I decided to change my name from Poppy to Angus – my family background is Scottish, and I thought it suited me.

Friends soon got used to calling me Angus.

"Life will be hard for you sometimes," one friend said.

I shook my head.

"No, cancer was hard," I replied. "This is just me being me."

At just 16 months old, I'd been diagnosed with cancer behind my right eye and had to go through extensive chemo.

Thankfully, I'd gone on to live a cancer-free life, but battling an illness like that at such a young age had taught me how short life could be.

If being a boy was what I really wanted, then I wasn't going to let anything stop me.

Once I began taking hormone replacements, my voice deepened and hair crept across my chin.

I was the happiest boy in the world!

I had relationships with both guys and girls and think it's a great sign of the times that none of them had an issue with me being transgender.

Sexuality is a spectrum. Below, the Take 5 team heard from an asexual woman who LOVES her sexless relationship! Listen to Take 5's Ripper Real Life Podcast below!

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Angus with his parent's dog Billie.
Angus with his parent's dog Billie.

But one issue remained.

Or rather two: my breasts.

A double mastectomy costs a fortune so for the past year, I've been flat-out working as a chef and saving every cent.

I'm about to have my first consultation with a surgeon to get the procedure underway.

For now, I'm helping other trans teens to see that it's never impossible to be the person you really want to be.

WATCH: Parents open up about their transgender child:

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