At 21 years old, after a history of being treated for social anxiety, clinical depression, panic attacks, self-harming behaviour, and a suicide attempt, Michelle Zacchigna thought she might be a man.
She was unhappy and depressed and had dropped out of university due to her declining mental health. She became fascinated with a “gender nonconformity” subculture on the internet and believed that once she took on a new identity and gender, the depression would go away.
At the time, videos on social media of people documenting their transition were “really popular,” she said.
“It was almost indoctrination,” Zacchigna told The Epoch Times.
“You could watch someone as their body changed, one week on testosterone, two weeks, and their voice would change. It draws people in. … It was interesting and very novel. You can’t think about how it’s going to affect the rest of your life—you’re only thinking about what it’s going to do for you right now.”
In 2010, she went to a support group at a health centre in Toronto. There, a psychotherapist who also happened to be a trans man and transgender activist, suggested she change her sex, and connected her with doctors who treated transgender patients.