The Transgender Journey:
As I came to grips with the shocking discovery that I was transgender at 62 years of age, in panic, I sought out every piece of information I could to understand and cure my gender dysphoria.
There was no way I was going to transition.
Even now I marvel at how ignorant and naïve I was to think that. I had a lot learn. In the internet part of my discovery process, I was shocked to find out that I was not alone. I truly thought I was. Although not as prevalent and visual in society as the gay and lesbian community, beneath the gender roles assigned them by society at birth, there lives a furtive community of trans people. There was no easy way to connect but through the safety of the internet, we found each other.
I soon discovered that I was not the first person to embark on this extraordinary journey. I was actually following the footsteps of millions of others on a trail that has been walked since people started walking.
Transgender people have always existed.
I had no clue.
Once I realized that I was among hundreds of thousands of transgender people worldwide, I figured that my journey would be easy. In fact, it wasn’t, it was just easier. I still needed to find my own way.
Like a rookie at the base of Mount Everest, I realized that no one was going to carry me to the peak. I learned an important phrase from the seasoned transgender gender climbers. There were different ways to the peak and each of us had different peaks to climb. They taught me:
“Your Mileage May Vary.” was a phrase to describe how far your car can travel on a tank of gas. Here, essentially that phrase recognizes that, although we share many things in common, our distinctive life experiences coupled with our own biological starting points, creates an unlimited variety of personal solutions. We needed to find our answer to gender dysphoria.
“How old are you” was a good place to start. It seemed that there were four age groups: under-aged children and young adults, as well as mid-life and late life transgender individuals. Each generation had its own pluses and minuses in the society in which they were raised. The older ones had a lifetime to overcome. The younger ones had to find way to live their lifetime.
No one had it easy.
Then, did you have the support of your family and your community? There are the ones that offer a hand or the ones that block your every effort to move forward. Their importance in your life has a direct bearing on your progress or lack thereof.
Unfortunately, did you have enough wealth or medical support necessary to afford the changes necessary to repair your birth defect? Sadly, money, particularly if you are young, has a massive bearing on transitioning. The lack of money has created so many tragic situations and tragic results.
The YYMV list is as endless and as unique as we are.
So, if you are preparing to climb your own transgender Mount Everest, make sure that you seek out the veterans and the local guides that are all around you. They are there and they want to help you.
Do not try to go it alone. Seek out the help that is there.
Ignore all the negative people and setbacks that try to discourage your from trying. The journey is treacherous but the views from the Mount are worth every painful step you take.
It is worth the climb.
See you at the top.
Writers note: If you have read any of my writings on Medium you will have noticed a definite theme: the incredible pain of gender dysphoria and all the difficult aspects of just being transgender.
My writing has three specific goals:
- Writing is my therapy. I have a very limited outlet for my thoughts so I write to find a way to process the most profound experience in my life. I need to understand and I need to accept myself to move forward.
- Being transgender, for me, is a very lonely existence and if I can share some of the things that I feel and think as I go through the process of transitioning with others who are transgender and, in some way, lessen their pain and sense of loneliness, then all of this public exposure of my personal thoughts is not a waste.
- I write to help cisgender people understand that all trans people want is to be simply understood, accepted and treated as a normal person. We are.
Thank you for reading my work.