Transition: A Long and Winding Road
Coming to terms with the fact that you are transgender is never easy. If you are questioning your gender, all I can tell you is that most people don’t. There is a reason you are questioning. The best way to answer that question would be to ask it of yourself as if society would have no problem with it. If your family, friends, and everyone you work with were to be 100% supportive without question, would you transition? Usually you will have your answer there.
If you reach the point where your “bell” rings and you know that you are transgender, I say congratulations on figuring yourself out. If you are terrified of this new understanding of yourself, know that this is normal. You are facing a road of unknowns, and you may feel like you don’t know how you are going to get through it all. You may feel like you are not strong enough, that you can’t possibly do this. You can. You are stronger than you think.
“FOR THOSE WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT COMING OUT, THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO DO IT.”
For those who are thinking about coming out, there is no right way to do it. Every situation is different. What I can tell you is that some people will surprise you while others may disappoint. Be patient with those who want to support you but may not understand what it all means at first. As long as they are willing to understand there is hope. Always remember the people who are close to you are transitioning as well. Be supportive of that process and do your best to help them along. For those who take issue with who you are, it is usually for their own selfish reasons. It may be hard to see at first, but you are better off without them. Be prepared to have to let some people go.
The early steps of transition can be frustrating. There will be times when you will feel like you can’t do it. That it is too hard. Keep going. Transition is a process, and you will get better at being you as time goes on. Remember that gender is fluid. You will find your place. There is always someone who is less masculine or feminine than you are by society’s standards. There is no right way to be female, male, or non-binary. Be yourself.
For those of us who experience dysphoria, there will be times when you feel better. There will also be times when it seems as though it is worse then it has ever been. Know that the reason it seems so bad is because you are no longer used to it like you were in the past when you felt that way every day. When it does happen you will get through it.
There will be times when you feel like the entire world is against you. There will be people who try to hurt you, erase you, and tell you that you don’t exist. This is because they are uneducated about what it is to be transgender. Take advantage of the opportunities to educate these people when they present themselves, and don’t waste your time with people who are more concerned about winning rather than understanding.
Have a plan for your transition. Figure out how you are going to save money. You will need it. You will also need to have a strategy for where you will go if things don’t work out. Devise a plan to sustain yourself. Figure out what you will need to have healthcare. Research what resources are available to you. Be prepared. It will make things much easier down the road.
Don’t forget to educate yourself, especially if HRT is part of your transition. You need to know where your hormone levels are supposed to be. You need to stay on top of your doctors. This is your life, and you need to be involved with the process. Make sure that everyone who is providing you care is doing what is best for you. If they are not, find someone else.
“NO MATTER HOW FAR ALONG YOU ARE IN YOUR JOURNEY THERE WILL BE TIMES OF DOUBT.”
No matter how far along you are in your journey there will be times of doubt. You will wonder if you did the right thing. Sometimes the pressures of the world will get to you. It happens. Keep moving forward. You will get through those times. Moments will also come where you will say, “I can’t believe I actually did it!” You did. Be proud of how far you have come each step of the way.
Know that you need to exist. Not just for yourself, but for our community and the next generation that comes after you. Your struggle, your pain, you go through it so one day others won’t have to. Your life has meaning, even if at times you don’t always believe it. Your identity is valid.
Most importantly, live your life. You went through so much to be who you are. Don’t waste it by hiding. Nothing breeds acceptance from those around you more than seeing you happy and enjoying life. Know that with every person you interact with, the world changes. In many cases, you may be the first transgender person someone interacts with. Make it a positive experience. Let the world see that you are a person who is just as capable as anyone else. Nothing breaks down the stigma more than knowing someone. As they say, it is hard to hate someone if you know their story. Make it a good story.
No matter where you are in your journey there will always be some periods of doubt along the way. There will be times of both euphoria and dysphoria. There will be progress and setbacks. Make sure you enjoy the good moments as they come. Stop and take a look around once and a while. The road is always winding. Just keep moving forward.