NOW: Gender Suicide - Lexi's story
FRYEBURG, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- We hear many stories from the LGBTQ community, and often times, many say early on they knew what their sexual preference was, or that they struggled with their gender identity.
But what if, as a transgender person, you don't feel like you fit the bill because you didn't go through those same struggles?
That's how Lexi Barrington of Fryeburg has been living for the past 17 years.
When President Trump issued a ban on transgender people serving in the military in August, Lexi reached out to NEWS CENTER. As a veteran who served our country before her transition, she took issue with that.
But what I discovered upon meeting with Lexi and getting to know her was that it was just one piece of her personal journey.
"I don't fit in with transgender people," she said. "I don't exactly fit in with men. I get along with everyone fine, but I just don't know my place in the world and it's extremely troubling."
Lexi was born a male and says the gender was ruined for her after a history of continued sexual abuse. "My gender was stolen from me, basically by someone who took something that was good and ruined it — not just one person, many many people did. And I just don't like what it stood for," she said.
"When I was very very young, four or five years old, I would be left in the backyard to play with my Tonka toys," said Lexi. "The neighbors, two teenage boys, would come get me and then they would have me drink alcohol in their basement. And they would do just unspeakable acts. This continued all the way to high school and then it started with the athletic trainer. The trainers are doing it to me in high school, and the priests."
Lexi said that one of the things she's learned is, "when you're molested at a very young age, you don't understand what boundaries are, so you let anybody do anything because you think that's normal."
Lexi was living and working in Washington D.C. when she was introduced to her first drag show, a few doors down from a club she normally frequented.
"I was 30 at the time, and I had no idea what it was," she said. "And I ended up talking to somebody who was a male that was dressed up in women's clothing, and people are buying her drinks and people were just constantly asking her to dance. And I thought, 'wow!' And she was saying, 'yes, people treat you differently.'"
"Through that person, we went out and bought clothes. It was really weird and exciting to at the same time."
Lexi went out one night dressed as a woman and sure enough, she says, more people approached her.
"I always wanted and craved nurturing and attention and you don't get that much as a male – maybe you do, but I didn't. Not from the right people. So I noticed that dressing up as a female, that I got the attention I never got when I was younger."
But it turned out that it would cause more confusion for her than before.
"It was like throwing gasoline on a fire because now, the men can be with what they consider a female, but they're having gay sex," she said. "But they don't feel that they are, so they're able to deal with that more. So it got worse, and I never saw that coming."
"It just kept driving me to that one solution, that, this has to go, because not only did I hate the fact that men wanted it more than anything, it stood for something that I couldn't stand. I hated it on my body. This had to go."
Lexi said she believed that changing her gender could save her life and keep her from committing suicide.
"That was a path I felt I was going down because it was just so daunting to have a part you hated on your body, and have people that just were continuously pursuing you."
"I've been trying for a long time to figure out how to explain this to others. How do I explain this to myself even?"
Lexi believes had she had good counselors and more resources to truly understand gender identity, she wouldn't have gone through the sex change.
"I could've been a whole person and lived, and not be in such a confusing atmosphere that I'm now in where I don't really fit in anywhere. I came up with 'gender suicide' because I thought about what I did. I basically killed that part of myself that didn't have to go away, but at the time, it was the only solution I could think of. Changing your gender like I did, you can't go back."
Lexi hopes by sharing her story, she can meet others in the LGBTQ community who may be dealing with the same internal conflicts.