Welcome to Debbie Ballard's Transgender Information Site.

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When I was growing up, I knew I was a girl inside, and I hated being forced to be with the boys. I also had two cousins who had similar feelings. This may have been genetic (androgen insensitivity syndrome) or environmental (miscarriages were a problem for the family so their mothers took DES).

Until I was 6, I just played with the girls. Sure the boys made fun of me, but I didn't care. I had my friends, and they were girls, and I liked it that way.

However, my grandfather wasn't so tolerant. In church I would hang out with the girls, play with the dolls, rock the baby doll to sleep, play in the "kitchen" in the nursery. It was summer and I was wearing shorts, I was 4 years old and my hair was a little longer than usual. 

The teacher said "Woody, you have such a wonderful granddaughter, thank you for bringing her."

Grandpa decided he would "fix" the problem by shaving my head with sheers and no guard. It pull my hair and cut into my scalp, and I screamed the entire time. It was terrifying. The whole time he was telling me "Your NOT a GIRL, you ARE a BOY, and I will MAKE you LOOK like a boy if I have to shave your head to do it."

After he did that 5 or 6 times, I was 6 years old. I told my mother "I want to be a girl". Grandpa had terrorized me into never saying I AM a girl. My mother hoped that I would grow out of it. She let me dress like a girl for about 2 days and then I had to stop, because Dad didn't like it.

My other two cousins were having similar issues. Their parents were also not supportive.

When cousin David got by a car while riding his bike, Grandpa sent a preacher to "Minister" to David. The pastor told David that he was an ABOMINATION for wanting to be a girl, and that the pain and suffering he experienced as a result of the accident were "God's Punishment" and that Hell would be so much worse.

All three boys were bullied, attacked regularly, because they were so feminine that they couldn't hide it, even when they tried very hard.

David was the first to go. When he was 11 years old, he gave himself a shot of the stuff they use to put dogs to sleep. He had held the dogs when his father put them down. He knew how much to use based on his weight. He knew he would get calm, then sleepy, then die. He wrote his note AFTER giving himself the shot.

Mark, the other cousin, not only had a very strict and religious father, but also had a big brother who was a horrible bully. He preferred to play with his sisters, but his father insisted that he play with the bully. Mark hated it.

Mark was 14 years old. He had told his parents he wanted to be a girl, and they took him to a psychiatrist who put him on sedatives and lithium, "For Depression". Little was known about Gender Dysphoria back then.

Mark took the pills, 2 every 15 minutes for 3 hours, then he chugged down a bottle of liquor. The combination of the Lithium and the alcohol caused his liver to pump his bloodstream with formaldehyde. He wrote his note as he began to get sleepy. He fell asleep in his locked room, chair propped against the door, and was found several hours later when they had to break the door down.

I was 11 when I noticed changes. Rather than try to kill myself right away, I tried to castrate myself. I poured boiling water on them, I tied them with rubber bands to cut off circulation, I even used a board and a large hammer to try to crush them. I even tried cutting myself with an Ex-acto knife. I realized I would never be able to do it myself. At school, when the boys got violent, I'd let them kick me between the legs, hoping this time, the doctor would HAVE to remove them.

When I was 15 years old, I found out that I had a bass voice. I could struggle with being almost six feet tall, but I couldn't accept this. I turned to drugs and alcohol, tried several times to overdose. I walked in front of cars and trucks, careful not to cause an accident in the process. I drank on 40 milligrams of Valium I had received for Epilepsy (misdiagnosis of the drug withdrawals), and had also taken 10 mg of Clor-tremeton.

I must have tried at least a hundred times to end my life over the next few years. Somehow, I always managed to survive in spite of my best efforts. Often it was miraculous. I even drank a pint of liquor after taking Antabuse that morning. It should have killed me but a neighbor girl talked me through it, threatening to call 911 if I fell asleep or hung up.

Today, I realize that I am the product of thousands of miracles, surviving injuries and overdoses that should have killed me a hundred times or more. My mother had survived Polio, my father had survived Asthma. I would have been a miscarriage if my mother hadn't taken DES. I should have died of a dozen diseases, including a few that almost DID kill me.

I realize that maybe God wanted me to survive, and tell my story, so that maybe I could help others avoid the horrors of being gaslighted, tortured, and abused.

Gaslighting, Conversion Therapy, and other forms of denial aren't just harmful to someone emotionally, it can be FATAL!