Worth the wait: Evan’s transition story

evan, who underwent gender transition, in a mask
(Photos: Michael Goderre/Boston Children's)

On June 1, 2021, Evan Bonnevie stood outside Boston Children’s Hospital, nervous with anticipation. But he wasn’t there for an appointment. Instead, he was one of two patients who had been invited to help raise the rainbow and transgender flags as part of the hospital’s annual Pride celebration.

For Evan, the flag raising was the culmination of the hard work he’s done to feel comfortable in his own skin. “I tend to get anxious, so I was hesitant at first,” he admits. “But my mom, my boyfriend, and my team in the Gender Multispecialty Service all encouraged me. GeMS has had such a big impact on my life.”

Evan raises the transgender and rainbow flags, along with fellow GeMS patient Brandon Adams (left).
Evan raises the transgender and rainbow flags, along with fellow GeMS patient Brandon Adams (left).

Taking time

Evan, now 18, has been seeing the team in GeMS for about four years, when he first told his primary care physician that he was questioning his gender identity. “My mom has been really supportive, but she wanted me to wait to transition until I was older,” he says.

At first, he was disappointed to discover that his clinicians at GeMS, including psychologist Col Williams and nurse practitioner Sarah Pilcher agreed. “In the beginning, I thought testosterone would solve all my problems,” he remembers. “They wanted me to wait to make sure I was in a good place mentally first. It was frustrating, but they’re so caring — I know they want what’s best for me.”

Evan and Brandon pose with Jim Smith, one of the committee chairs for Boston Children’s Rainbow Alliance.
Evan and Brandon pose with Jim Smith, one of the committee chairs for Boston Children’s Rainbow Alliance.

‘It really does get better’

Today, Evan is happy with that decision. “Now I know I needed that time,” he says. Now on testosterone, he says the hormone has helped address his gender dysphoria, allowing him to finally feel like himself. And while Evan was busy laying the groundwork to begin his medical transition, his mom was educating herself about the process. “She’s my biggest supporter,” he says. “Some people don’t accept me, but she does — and she’s taught me that those people don’t matter.”

Evan, who is passionate about animals, plans to pursue a degree in captive wildlife care at Unity College in the fall. In the meantime, he’s busy playing with his two kittens and expressing his creativity through cosplay. And he has some advice for other gender-diverse kids: “It might sound cheesy, but it really does get better,” he says. “It takes time when learning about your gender identity, but you’ll find something you’re comfortable with in the end. Don’t give up — you’ll get through it.”

Learn more about the Gender Multispecialty Service or make an appointment.

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