By Josh Saunders
A transgender man is asking strangers to help fund his £5,000 dream of becoming a father after his girlfriend helped him to accept he is a man.
Ethan Greenwood, 25, from Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, started transitioning last year after spending two decades in denial, believing he could never live as his desired gender.
From the age of four, he despised everything ‘girly’, refused to wear dresses and longed for short hair instead of his lengthy ginger locks.
His wishes to live as a boy were dismissed and refused by his parents, leading him to struggle with depression and bury his dreams.
Until last year, during an argument with partner Shauna Devlin, 23, who confronted him about his desire to transition and allowed to feel accepted as a man.
Now, he’s been transitioning for a year and since becoming Ethan, wants to start a family to fulfil his desire to become a father.
The couple are trying to raise £5,000 to pay for IVF, which is the only way they can become parents and have even moved into a three-bedroom house, believing they are destined to have twins.
Ethan, a landscape gardener, said: “I’ve known I was a boy since I was four but it was ignored every time I tried to speak about it or ask out for help, it just got invalidated.
“I used to have a long fringe of hair, when you’re a child nothing makes sense and especially with the hair on my head I wanted to cut it off to be just like my brothers.
“My mum tried to get me in dresses but I was having none of it and at school, girls were meant to wear skirts but I was only one who didn’t, I always wore more tomboyish clothing.
“I wanted to play with Action Man toys and would cut Barbie’s hair off, I liked football and was always outside or climbing-up trees.
“Living as a man always felt like a dream, it was something I thought would never happen and I could never do, even as a child I never thought it was possible.
“There wasn’t anyone I could open up to about how I was feeling, it completely messed up my head not being able to talk about it until I met Shauna.
“We were in the middle of an argument and she just looked me in the eye and said, ‘You want to be a boy, don’t you?’
“It completely overwhelmed me, nobody had ever spotted that in me before and validated it, she made it into a good thing rather than something to suppress.
“She told me everything I needed to hear all my life, she never once thought it was strange or made me feel odd for it she sees it as normal and completely validates me.
“We spoke about having children early into our relationship, now the biggest problem is how we are going to conceive and have children.
“We are eager to become parents but due to our circumstance, with my lack of certain organs, it will cost us around £5,000 to conceive by IVF treatment.
“I would be over the moon if we were able to start a family, I’d be doing backflips and it would just be unimaginable.”
Ethan suppressed the urge to transition for 20 years, due to not wanting to disappoint his parents and being unable to talk about his feelings.
While battling with the sorrow of never becoming a man, he suffered with depression and at times considered suicide.
He said: “Because anatomically I was my mum’s only daughter and the youngest child, it pulled on her heart strings more, she doesn’t have daughter she always dreamed of having.
“Everything was holding me back, I tried to forget about that part of myself by putting it to the back of my mind, I was trying to suppress that side and be what my mum wanted me to be.
“She still thinks I’m making the wrong decision but she speaks to me and is civil, she’s still my mother, she just doesn’t understand why I’m like this.”
Ethan thought he would have to suppress his feelings forever, until partner-of-three-years Shauna who confronted him about his desire to live as a man.
Shauna, a health and social care student, said: “We were having an argument and Ethan was being so self-destructive and so I just spoke to him about being transgender.
“I asked him if he wanted to be a boy and he just froze for a moment, he suddenly realised it was ok and acceptable.
“I feel like I always knew that Ethan was meant to be a guy from the moment I first saw him, he was always in competition with other men and since he ‘came out’ he has been very calm.
“He finally free to be himself now, before it was like he was imprisoned in a gender he didn’t conform with.”
Ethan changed his name online on January 1st last year and will start testosterone treatment in the next two months.
He hopes to have full gender reassignment surgery to complete his transition within five years and celebrated the couple’s new life together by having a family.
Ethan said: “For me it’s completely changed who I am as a person, I’m who I really am now and there’s no hiding or trying to escape.
“Before I met Shauna I didn’t see a future at all for myself I didn’t want to be alive at that point, the last thing I was thinking about was having children.
“She’s supportive of who I truly am, she’s made it possible for me to transition and now we will fulfil our dream to have a family.
“I don’t mind whether we have a boy or girl, gender is no issue for us, I don’t care as long as the little one is healthy and happy – we are convinced we will have twins.”
The pair are now trying to fundraise £5,000 so they can have IVF treatment using Shauna’s ovaries and a sperm donor to fall pregnant.
Shauna said: “Our friends think we’d be great parents, we’ve had no negative feedback and everybody is looking forward to us hopefully having children.
“For me it’s very important, I want to be a mother and I have that dream of having a happy family.
“Being pregnant will be amazing and going through the whole process together is very exciting for us.”
To donate visit: www.gofundme.com/ivf-for-tansgender-mans-girfriend