Often I am amused when less than knowledgeable individuals or transphobes say we transgender women or trans men had a choice of transitioning our gender. Those of us who are in the middle of traveling a gender transition path know our decision was never a choice. Many times the whole process is a matter of life and death as is proven by the extremely high suicide rate in the transgender community.
Photo from the Jessie Hart
Using my own gender path as an example, I can easily highlight the highs and lows of the journey. Highs included the times I tried and succeeded in breaking out of my own very dark gender closet. Early on, I was excited when I was accepted and even helped by clerks in clothing stores. Soon I learned most of the clerks were just doing their jobs and went out of their way to sell me something. From there I went on to seeing if I could present well enough as a woman to easily be able to prowl the malls around me looking for the occasional bargain. When the malls started to become mundane and boring, I decided to step up my journey by stopping different places to eat lunch. What I didn’t realize was, how going face to face with servers and hostesses would expand my need to establish a real live feminine personality. As I climbed my gender affirmation staircase, for the most part I had more successes than failures when I learned how to dress to blend with the rest of the women around me. The less attention I created the better.
When I was successful, there was nothing better in my transgender life. Even before I really knew what the term transgender was all about and how it fit in with me. On the other hand, when the lows set in, they were really low. I still remember vividly the nights I was laughed at and literally went home crying. Slowly but surely I recovered and re-committed myself to the goal of being able to present as a woman to the public without being stared at and ridiculed. Once I went through going back to the drawing board as many times as I did, I finally made it to a point where I had the confidence to go out as a transgender woman and exist in my own little world. Little did I know, my own little world would not stay little very long. My new and improved transgender life proved to provide the force to propel me forward. Sadly, the force was sending me straight on a…