Ashley Marie Turi

1.6 Million Males 13 years or older have this crisis of gender identity.  Many of them are unwilling or unable to show the inner truth that they feel deep inside their souls. Kevin P. Donaldson shares a remarkable story: Ashley Marie Turi

Transition from Chaos to Comfort

Every day we do something to change our appearance so that we may become more comfortable in our own skin. Go into any gym in January and you will see how packed it is from those wishing to start off the new year correctly with new resiliency in their resolution. A little shot of Botox can take years off your life and bring back that youthful vigor that stunned everyone around you in your youth. As we age, it’s inevitable that gray hairs will begin to slide out from every angle until the day we become embarrassed by them and choose to cover them up with the dyes sold in every corner store and supermarket.

The ready-made conduits to youth are a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Laser eye surgery, breast augmentation, toupees, and fillers are some of the ways that we can regain our former glory. Thousands of apps for our cell phones can change any ugly duckling into a beautiful swan with the swipe of a finger.  There is always a way to make ourselves feel more comfortable when we look into the mirror with the honesty that you can only give to yourself.

Ashley Marie Turi is a child of the 1980s in the ever changing and dynamic landscape of how we viewed our own sexuality as well as others. From all outward appearances, Ashley grew up much as any other child, with two loving parents and two brothers. The textbook nuclear family. Ashley‘s mother and father were the proud parents of three boys. Yes, that is not a typo. Ashley was born male. 

At a young age, Ashley couldn’t understand why she felt the most comfortable wearing the clothes of her mother and playing with toys that would be considered best suited for females.  Her identity was confusing as she would see those around her act and react according to their gender identity but she felt trapped inside a body that did not belong to her.  

Gender identity has little to do with sexuality.  It’s how you feel most comfortable inside your own skin.  Although Ashley had this affinity for dressing and acting the part of a female, she had no attraction towards men but still felt deeply connected and attracted to females.  One would think that the two go hand in hand which further confused the young child who was only trying to find her place in this world.  

Hiding in plain sight, Ashely hid her growing identity crisis and buried it deep under the disguise of “normalcy” continuing to present herself as male.  Adolescence hits like a sledgehammer as it does to many young people, where the raging hormones seem to take over and control the thought process.  This overwhelming urge to present as her true female self would have to be buried deep and covered up so that no one will ever judge.

Ashely was not alone in her struggle.  According to UCLA’s William Institute of Law:  1.6 Million Males 13 years or older have this crisis of gender identity.  Many of them are unwilling or unable to show the inner truth that they feel deep inside their souls.  This does not mean that those who suffer with gender identity issues want or desire a sex change but rather presentation of the outer to reconcile with the inner self.

Years went by and Ashley found a way to escape into what she saw as her “secret”, masking herself inside the world of substance abuse.  With the assistance of substances, the courage to interact as a female became less conflicted and normal in her own mind.  Once Ashley found drugs she was able to finally break through her hesitation but with awful consequences and still in secret.  

The National Library of Medicine’s National Center for Biotechnology Information reported: Despite growing acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community over recent years, this subset of the population remains at a significantly elevated risk of addiction compared to the general U.S. adult population.

Before Ashley knew it she was a full blown addict trying to drown out her “secret”.  She was functional still maintaining her ability and acumen as an EMT but behind closed doors her life was beginning to unravel.  Both her brothers had already come out as gay which would have made her acceptance easier had Ashley seen her true self as something that could be accepted.  Finally, Ashely hit bottom and on one drug fueled occasion, she overdosed.

Her brother Mark was seeing this from a distance and luckily, being a trained medic, he took Ashely to the emergency room for treatment.  While in treatment Ashely awakened and finally realized that her life was normal.  Normal to her didn’t have to be normal to others.  Finally accepting what was inside her, Ashely began to make the transition while in rehab.  Her brother Mark says with a smile, “I dropped my brother off at rehab and picked up my sister.  If you think you’re confused by this situation, join the club”.

Ashley emerged from rehab with a fresh start and new eyes.  Finally at 28 years old, this beautiful human being who has dedicated herself to the assistance and helping of others can be her true authentic self.  Seeing herself as she truly is, a strong confident woman that is merely looking for acceptance and not affirmation.  We should all accept one another to allow us space to present how best makes us most comfortable.  This does not mean you have to affirm their lifestyle or even agree with it. 

Those in this situation are not looking for your approval, just your willingness to see them how they really are.  Whether that be with cosmetic surgery, a toupee, and yes even presenting as a different gender.  Ashely took her pain and now advocates for the change of policy inside facilities to allow space for those struggling with the same conflicts that caused her decline into the world of drugs.  Still maintaining the highest standards in her EMT profession, Ashely is a beacon of hope for those struggling in a world of changing identities and acceptance of what makes that person most comfortable, being who they are.

Kevin P. Donaldson
Kevin P. Donaldson

An accomplished author, seasoned Motivational Speaker and Podcast Host, Kevin P. Donaldson is known for transforming the lives of audiences. His talks are attended by people of all ages and backgrounds. Kevin's approach toward finding success and healing is approached by embracing your pain and running toward it head-on.

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