Writing helps me think things through and distill my thoughts. It's a form of therapy for me. Some of it I keep private. Other parts I feel a need to share. Here are twenty personal truths about my transition that I'd like you to know. These are not universal truths. These are MY truths, from my story. If you happen to be trans, feel free to cherry pick and share the ones that tell your story. Or share the entire document. I don't mind.
Oct. 9, 2011
Twenty Things I'd Like you to Know (about Me)
- Being transsexual is about me, not anyone else. I've been this way since birth. No one else caused this. No one else is responsible for this. Any pain that I cause someone else is not intentional.
- This is a medical condition I have, not a psychiatric one. It needs treating. The treatment is conforming my appearance and gender presentation to match what has been true along (female, not male). If this was surprising to YOU, imagine how shocking it was to ME when I realized what needed to happen.
- I did not choose this for myself. I really don't want to be this way. I would far rather have been what passes for "normal" these days, but that was never in the cards for me. So, I am choosing to do something positive about this. Changing my gender certainly beats being terminally depressed for the rest of my life.
- I want you to know that I'm happy. Really happy. Perhaps for the first time in my life. Who knew? Because I love myself and what I am allowing myself to become.
- I'm changing my name and my gender presentation, but I have not become someone else. I'm the same person. Having said that, there are likely to be minor differences. If you knew me before, you have a running start on knowing me now.
- I chose my new name with a lot of thought and am particularly comfortable "wearing" it. It's affirming to me when you say it or write it ... and use the female pronouns associated with it. Especially right now, before I go full time.
- If you are willing, it's possible that our relationship can become stronger because of this. It's amazing to me how much easier social intimacy has become as I free myself of keeping my darkest secret hidden.
- I'm not gay. Gay would be so much easier by comparison. Gay doesn’t have a “cover charge.” Gay doesn’t require a complete (and seasonal!) wardrobe change, burning the hair out of one’s face, makeup, hair care, nails, accessories, jewelry, weight loss, hormone treatments, witness-protection plan level facial reconstruction, or surgical origami on one’s nether regions to make it work.
- Gender is about identity. Sexuality is about who you choose to love. I know my gender. As my treatment progresses, I'm no longer quite so naively certain about my sexuality. Right now, I'd just like my libido back ... before I try to figure out what or who wakes it up and gets it moving.
- I'm not here to glamorize the "transgender lifestyle", to brainwash, to proselytize, or otherwise make children, teens or other adults want to be transsexuals. I would not want this for them. If someone isn't transsexual already, nothing I can do will "convert" them. If they are transsexual, then seeing a happy transsexual in person could mean the difference between life and death for them. Literally.
- I have no interest in stealing away anyone's sexual partner. To be honest, if someone is worried about that, then they have bigger problems to resolve than my gender presentation.
- Changing genders doesn't significantly change my ability to do my job, just the clothes I choose to wear to work. It also means not having to wear the damn ponytail all the time.
- I believe tolerance is a two way street. That means that not only do I want you to tolerate me being the way I am, but that I recognize that I have to tolerate you the way you are. Two way street. I've already started doing this with you. I hope you'll join me. Once we have toleration going, that can easily escalate to respect.
- Don't pull a "God guilt trip" on me. You see, I believe that God does not make mistakes. There's that passage of scripture where it says that God knew me in my mother's womb and made me as I am. EXACTLY as I am. Which means that He had a reason to make me transgender. I believe God made me different, NOT wrong. There was a reason for it. It just took a very long time for me to understand and accept it.
- If I was romantically involved with you in the past, please understand that was real. My feelings for you at the time were authentic. Perhaps a bit confused, but still authentic.
- Changing genders is a status change. You wouldn't discriminate against (or fire) someone who had some other status change ... like getting married, or divorced, or having kids, or discovering that they liked coffee, or that they liked the music of David Hasselhoff (OK, maybe that last thing is ok to discriminate against).
- I need to be able to use gender-appropriate bathrooms in public places as much as other people do, including the mall, parks, and of course, the office. The only thing that's going to happen in there is that I'm going to sit down, do my business, clean up (probably check my makeup and hair, fix what needs fixing) and leave. And for the record, I'm not curious about anything someone else may be trying to keep covered.
- I have no interest in denying anyone insurance-paid access to any type of necessary health care procedure. In fact, you'd probably be pretty upset if I lobbied to deny you healthcare coverage for things like ... oh, maternity care, or cancer treatment, or gall bladder removal because they added to my insurance premium cost. Generally speaking, even the most expensive procedures that directly relate to treating my Gender Idendity Dysphoria condition are cheaper than a lot procedures you take for granted in your health care coverage. Something to think about and discuss with your own insurance provider. Doing so may save a life.
- If you were born genetically female, understand My decision to live as a female is not a challenge to or mockery of your feminity or experiences as a woman. That's what drag queens are for.
- My wonderful therapist once noted that the noisiest detractors about social issues involving transsexuality or homosexuality may be dealing with that same problem in their own lives, maybe even with themselves. Be extra nice to them. They're hurting inside.