AUSTIN, Texas -- Adolescence is a time for discovering who you are, but for Teddi Reed that was more complicated.

“I had a hard time when I was young, kind of sorting through my feelings of like my gender identity," said Reed. “Everyone thought, because I was attracted to females, you know, everyone thought, 'Oh you're a lesbian,' and to me that didn't really sit right. I didn’t - I never identified as that, because I didn't feel like I was a female.”

It wasn’t until after high school that Reed realized he identifies as male.

“I actually started transitioning while I was in the Marine Corps. That’s actually why I was discharged from the Marine Corps. I was discharged before the open trans identity policy," said Reed.

He loved being a Marine, and said it was heartbreaking.

Teddi Reed appears with his parents while enlisted in the Marines. (Courtesy: Teddi Reed)

“It really hurt me. I really wanted to medically transition. And I was told I couldn’t have surgery," said Reed. "At the time I wanted top surgery. And it was very important to me. So, I guess in a way I did have a choice, but to me that’s not really a choice.”

But for Reed, top surgery was the next step toward feeling comfortable in his own skin.

“After top surgery, just walking outside for the first time and really feeling a shirt against my skin, I remember that very distinctly and that was, that was a very freeing moment to me," said Reed.

Today, Reed is a paramedic in Missouri, and has a wife and an 18-month-old daughter.

“I know as a kid I never thought that family would really be something that would happen for me. I guess I was just so unhappy with myself that I thought if I'm not happy with myself, how can I ever be happy with someone else, you know?" said Reed.

Teddi Reed appears in this undated photo. (Courtesy: Teddi Reed)

But his years-long journey has one more step.

After years of research, Reed chose a surgeon in Austin to perform his phalloplasty, a type of female-to-male gender confirmation surgery.

He took months to prepare for the operation, which was originally set for the end of March.

“I was just preparing with my family, preparing with child care. Just financial stuff. I paid all my bills in advance so I wouldn't have to stress or anything about the financial aspect of it," said Reed.

But when Texas ordered all elective surgeries to be postponed due to COVID-19, Reed’s operation was rescheduled for August.

He was initially devastated.

"I was really bummed," said Reed. "[It was] really disheartening, but now I’m glad it was postponed because I didn’t have to be away from my family during all this, and I don’t have to worry about being, you know, states away from where I live. I’m excited to have it done when everyone’s happy and healthy, and is back to normal operations.”

While he may have to wait a bit longer, to him the journey is worth the wait.

Teddi Reed appears in this undated photo. (Courtesy: Teddi Reed)

“I think that it will be surreal. I’m not really sure how it will feel, but I can only imagine I’ll be happy, feeling complete. It’s just something that’s literally bothered me or been on my mind every day of my life, 27 years so far. I think, I think it will be a good thing," said Reed.