The more trans people I speak with, the more I see commonalities in our histories. While everyone ‘s journey is unique to their situation and circumstances, there seems to be a root that exists for all of us. Okay, so maybe not “all of us” as I haven’t spoken with every trans person in the world, but I am getting that sense.
We all seem to have memories in childhood, ages 4-7, when we remember thoughts or behaviours which began to surface around our gender. This continued as we grew up and more and more began to occupy a lot of processing time in our brains. For a great many of us, we battled depression at some level. As we moved into adulthood, we took on activities or occupations that were considered to be uber masculine (in the case of MtF). Many people I know went into the military, law enforcement, rescue services etc. etc. All in an attempt to convince ourselves that we were not trans, and very much male. As in “See, look at me! I’m in this profession with a bunch of hyper macho males, so I must be male as well.” Oh my….what folly we indulge in!!
For me, as a diver master, I was involved in rescue diving including ice diving – going under the ice. I would serve as a safety diver, ready to assist should someone who slipped under the ice, and go retrieve them. I would also do deep wreck penetrations, going to 130 feet or so, and going down multiple decks in a battleship or destroyer doing recon. Deep, dark, confusing passageways and stairways etc, 7 or 8 decks down. What could possibly go wrong? Eventually, I had to stop, because “Erin” was banging on my brain noting that I was starting to think that it would be no big deal if I didn’t make it back up. She actually saved my life by bursting through the mess of tangled logic and kept me safe. Thank god “she” did. My brain finally accepted fully who I was as Erin and took over. My brain was always female, after all, I am transgender. But it took a loooong time for it to mature and gain the ability to articulate clear rationale thought etc.
Sadly, most of us can pinpoint the exact time when “the decision” was made to transition. Usually a very dark moment, when our survival was being threatened at our own hand. Whatever that was, we choose to survive, and that was the final penny that needed to drop for us to finally realize “I’ve got to do this”. And so it began.
Let us pause for a moment for all of those that reached this point and decided not to survive. We loose a ridiculous number of beautiful spirits each year. I wish I knew a way for that to stop.
The unique part is what can, at times, make us feel like we are completely alone in this process, which is really scary. Which only serves to add to the anxiety and angst that already comes along for the ride. Like the impact of HRT, GCS (SRS/GRS) or not? Facial surgery or not? Some want it, some don’t. For some it’s a trigger for Gender Dysphoria, for others not. Same with other surgeries such as breast augmentation or trachea shaves or voice surgery etc, etc, etc.
Family situations can also differ, and can employment, housing etc. So there are many things that can make us each feel our journey is unique. There are soooo many moving parts, it is pretty much a full time job keeping all the balls in the air. Hence the anxiety that, at time, is overwhelming. I know it was/is for me. Although, being full time, many of those triggers are gone. Thank god.
For me, my only major trigger now is based on my anatomy. That is to say, I not only want Gender Confirmation Surgery, but NEED to have GCS. That is pretty much a given for me. So working on that process as we speak.
While I try to place myself in someone else’s shoes to understand what they are going through, it is easy to judge. “Why are they doing that?…it makes no sense!! They should be doing this, and this and this.” I have to stop judging people. Theirs is a journey unlike mine. Who am I to tell they how to go about it. They know their circumstances better than I, or for that matter, anyone else. Sure, there are some things that make sense to do in a certain order etc, and I always provide that information should someone ask, as they may not have thought of all the accompanying issues attached. But once they have the info and they continue on the path they have mapped out, who am I to derail it? There many ways to reach our destination, one is right for me, may not be right for other. So I really need to stop judging. As trans people we face more than our fair share of that in our worlds. We should be supportive of each other and not add to it.
Easier said than done.
I’ll get off my stump now……