After spending six years medically transitioning to a male, Alia Ismail is now de-transitioning to female.
Alia, from Michigan, came out as trans aged 18, switching to male pronouns and more masculine dress.
In the years that followed, Alia had a name change to Issa, and aged 20 she started a medical transition that included taking male hormones to increase testosterone and undergoing a double mastectomy.
Alia said: “Socially at 18 years old I came out, used male pronouns and dressed masculine.
“By 20 years old, I underwent a medical transition where I started hormones and changed my name legally in August 2015, and then had a double mastectomy in 2016.
“When I first came out as gay, it was quite easy with my family. As far as transitioning, my grandparents were very accepting but lacked understanding, and my mother came to understand my feelings better as my transition continued.”
However, after the transition, Alia, now 27, felt that the new identity didn’t really represent who she was and after some careful consideration decided to de-transition to female, and now uses they/she pronouns.
Alia explained: “I do not regret my decision to have surgery or taking hormones. That was a key time in my life of self discovery into the person I am today.
“My family were neutral in their feelings. They knew that I was strong enough to put myself through this unknown journey again and were proud of me for being true to myself.
“I have stopped taking hormones and I have received laser hair removal. I don’t have a plan to do anything else, but I do understand that things could change in the future.
“My testosterone dropped tremendously, but my oestrogen level has stayed the same. I have only been off hormones for a year and I was on testosterone for almost seven. My body just needs time to adjust and we will decide in time if I need to take anything to boost my oestrogen.”
Alia has been incredibly open about her journey and hopes to help others who are struggling with their identity.
“I feel like the people who don’t understand are choosing to do so out of ignorance and a lack of empathy,” Alia added.
“Decisions are hard, no matter what they are and I hope that we can all stay open-minded to understanding why, instead of projecting our insecurities and judgement.
“There will always be moments when people misunderstand me, but I can’t allow that to defeat me. I have helped so many people who were questioning their sexuality and gender by sharing my experiences.
“I’ve had many people message me looking for guidance and I enjoy instilling a feeling of trust in others.”
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers