Recently I was at an all day meeting with the partners and associates of my consulting firm. It was great to be with a group of really awesome and supportive people, the first time in a few years that we were all able to be there, including two from the west coast district! Anyway, over a break, I was asked when I decided that I was transgendered. Bristle !?!?
Okay, yes, it is the wrong question. And yes, that does get my fur up….on occasion…depending on the context. In this case, it was from a totally supportive person who knew nothing about being transgendered etc. So I took it in stride, and we continued the discussion.
The right question, at least for me, is more like when did I realize I was transgendered, or even better, when did I accept I was transgendered. That is more the discussion point. The realization is a fuzzy thing as it happens over years, if not decades. Every new piece of evidence (okay, so ya, I totally put my law hat on for that one), or indicator accumulates until there is sufficient mass to take hold. At times, realization also goes away as denial creeps in. So while I may have “realized” it at various points in my life, other things would pop up that would make me think the it in fact was not true. Welcome to the decades long emotional roller coaster that is being transgendered.
The acceptance aspect, well that is a different thing. Or at least it was for me. I can almost peg that to a specific day. That day was about 2.5 years ago. A very grey if not dark time. Part of me really fought that one because I knew the cost. But eventually, I had to give in, which was part of the decision to survive. It’s one thing to accept who you are, it’s another to act on it in a positive way. I say positive, because as most of you know, 40% of our community don’t respond in a “positive” way, by attempting to end their own life.
While I did finally accept who I was, that did not really lessen the burden. Okay, great. So I am transgendered. What did that change really. Not much. Oh sure, emotionally there was a release, and years of shame dripped away. But not all of it. Not by a long shot. Now the issue was “so what”? What’s next? It is one thing to accept who you are, it is quite another to make the leap into action….to actually do something about it. That was my fork in the road.
We all know what that decision was. I decided to be true to who I was, who I was always meant to be and transition. And while I fully knew the cost of that, I knew it was the correct and only decision for me. That was when I felt the weight of the world lift from my shoulders. That I realized I may actually have a shot at this thing called happiness. And when I say happiness, I mean internal to my being. I would being doing a huge disservice to many in my life if I was to say that I wasn’t happy at times during the previous five plus decades. My wife and partner of 32 years provided me with more happiness that someone in my state ever deserved. And my kids, oh my, my two girls continue to be such a great source of pride and happiness.
But those were all external. As long as they were around, I could cope. At least, I thought I could. But alas, it wasn’t enough. The total void of internal happiness and self love, in the end, was too much to bare. If I wanted to survive, I needed to have that. What the vast majority of people have and perhaps even take for granted. I know have that. First time. Ever.
So, the question is more around acceptance. And while other questions may not be the correct ones, I welcome them. It is at least an opportunity to start a conversation. And that is always a good thing. To listen, to educate, inform, and hopefully enlighten. To make it easier for those who follow. My mission.