Category Archives: transgender

Invalidating stories of de-transition

I’ve read a number of articles about de-transition recently. My heart goes out to every person who has gone through this experience. It must have been an especially shattering and difficult experience. Your voice is important and I value it and respect it enormously.

Every transgender experience is different, difficult and uncertain. None of us can know how we will feel at the end of our transition or lived experience. We can only follow what our hearts and souls tell us is right. Sometimes we misread or even mislead ourselves.

We should always consider all outcomes when deciding on our own transition. That’s why the voices of people who have de-transitioned are so valuable.

But to use the example of transgender people who have decided to de-transition as an invalidation of all transgender transition is simply absurd. We could use the same argument to invalidate marriage.

As is always the case in almost anything, there will be a wide distribution of experiences felt by trans people going through transition. Ranging from very happy with transition right through to very unhappy.

The very unhappy people will most likely de-transition. But that doesn’t mean they determine the efficacy of transition for everyone else.

In my view, transition in whatever form works for you, does seem to be an effective way for many transgender people to find some peace and begin to live their lives.

People who detransition aren’t our enemies but equally they don’t speak for us or predict our outcomes.

We are beautiful unique individuals striving to find happiness. We are not all the same.

I wish she could have helped me

My six months of therapy led me to suspect that my Mum knew I was trans whilst I was growing up.

She used to let me grow my hair longer than most boys. She styled it in, what I can now see in old photos were feminine styles.

Growing up I was forever being mistaken as a girl when I was supposed to be being a boy. I used to find it embarrassing but also reassuring. It was next to impossible to use the Men’s bathroom without being stopped so I used to avoid it just to avoid the embarrassment.

My Mum also kept my older sister’s old clothes in the spare room in a wardrobe. I used to wear them whenever I could. I know lots of Mum’s did this with old clothes. But when I grew bigger than my sister, clothes and shoes appeared in the wardrobe that were larger than would ever fit her or my sister. They were amazing, beautiful grown up clothes. I adored them and with makeup I looked perfect in them. My heart aches just remembering the joy I used to feel. I could see with my own eyes that it wasn’t too late. I could still be me if only I could find someone to help me go through the changes I so desperately needed.

Ok so now I’m crying. It’s just so awful. I remember feeling totally alone and sure I was a vile disgusting freak. I remember the feeling of terror at what more puberty would do to me. I felt my time was running out. It was. There wasn’t going to be a miracle.

I am so glad children today face a more open and accepting society. Although there are still many bigots playing gender politics to mask their bigotry.

I always wince when I read people saying that trans kids don’t know what they want until they are older. I knew from almost my first memories. My feelings have stayed exactly the same my whole life. I believe gender identity is like sexual orientation, it is fixed and doesn’t change.

I just wish, if my Mum did know about me, that she would have found the courage to help and support me more. Maybe she helped me as much as she could at that time.

Let’s let our children be themselves, whatever that means and let’s not worry what other people think. As long as it’s not directly harmful to your child or others it’s fine just let it be. They will find their own path safe in the knowledge you love them and support them.

Taking the easy way

Suicide is never the answer to any problem we face. Impossibile problems and fears might fill our mind right now. They can drive us to the depths of despair, today, but that won’t always be the case. Problems don’t age well and they usually fade with time.

How you feel right now isn’t how you will always feel. There will come a time when what seems an insurmountable problem now will just be a memory later on.

Problems can also be agents of change. Sometimes the challenges we face are outside of our control. But sometimes they are in our control. If there are things you can do, steps you can take to improve, alleviate or even solve the problem then start taking those steps. No matter how small or individually insignificant they may seem. They are one step closer to solved or resolved.

“Worry only about those things you can change”

You are not the sole owner of you because you belong to all of us and especially to your friends and family who love you and need you to be there. Even if you have fallen out with some or all them.

“Every day is another chance to turn it all around”

Every hour, day, week, month is another opportunity to stop and turn it all around. So stop. Give it another day, and then another and keep doing that until the sun begins to rise again in your life. Because it will. It did for me.

I know how it feels. I know how the pain hurts and I know how comforting it is to think of it all going away.

But remember, we all get one chance at life on this earth. It’s a brief moment in time and then it’s over for eternity. We owe it most of all to ourselves to live a life that is true to us and to enjoy as much of it as is possible.

Transgender Suicide

Transgender people in particular are especially prone to feelings of depression and suicide. If you ever feel like this you must try to reach out to friends, family, therapists and to our community and talk through your feelings. We have a diverse, strongly opinioned but hugely knowledgeable community. There is a lot of advice and help to be sought and given. You are not alone.

I am also a hypocrite

I tried to take my own life when I was still a teenager. I had nowhere to turn, I felt I had reached the end and I wanted to be at peace. I am here now because I failed. I’m glad I failed because although my life has been as difficult and as challenging as I feared it has also been filled with moments of sheer joy, laughter and happiness. They may not have lasted that long but oh were they worth it. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world …

Not asking much

I often wonder why some feel so threatened by transgender people. They seem to set themselves up as biological purists, as chromosomal absolutists. Unless your DNA, biochemistry and lived experience matches their standards then you don’t qualify for their classification. You will never belong and that’s final.

We all present an image to the world and that image to some extent affects the way society perceives us, treats us and reacts to our presence.

Present a masculine image and people will give you space and will be more cautious in their approach and interaction. A feminine image will usually appear as more approachable and less threatening.

Your phenotype, which is the visible form you actually present, is not necessarily the same as your genotype which is the form your genetics encodes you to present.

If we choose to suppress the Y chromosome or artificially express it we alter the image we present to the world. And we do it so that we can interact with the world and be at peace with ourselves.

Your biological sex doesn’t necessarily determine which image you present. You decide that.

At no point do the face to face interactions we have with others involve a chromosomal or biochemical test of our biological gender. And so what we present and perceive is all that matters.

As transgender people we feel uncomfortable presenting our raw genotype and in common with many other species in nature we present a different shell.

Some transgender people are able to present a phenotype entirely indistinguishable from their desired genotype. Genetic males present as beautiful women and genetic females as handsome men.

If your goal is to create an exclusionary environment/space then you will have to police it on phenotype alone. That’s because you won’t have access to genetic testing which means you can never truly guarantee the integrity of your exclusionary space.

Transphobics and TERFS can therefore never hope to achieve their stated aims. Unless those they seek to exclude don’t pass easily or convincingly. They will be their targets, their prey.

Transphobics and TERFS only seek to exclude. Their motives are based purely on hate, bigotry and prejudice.

I take comfort in knowing that history will view them as the bigots they are. I am also certain, when the time comes, they will deny ever promoting their vile prejudice.

My true heroes

My heroes aren’t sports stars or actors, I respect, admire and am grateful to our military. But my lifelong heroes are and will always simply be all of you.

Over the years it is transgender men and women like you who have given me hope. Your stories of transition, your determination to overcome problems, your fight, has made me feel that I at least could have a chance.

Through everything you have endured, through documenting your stories, your struggles to a skeptical world you have helped us all become increasingly accepted in many more spheres of life. And although there are still many bigots, there are many more supporters too.

I don’t know where you have found your strength, your courage, your commitment. But just knowing you are there, just knowing what you can achieve is enough for me to get through a day.

I may feel tearful as I write this but I know one day it will all be OK. We just need to keep getting up in the morning, put one foot in front of the other and face every new day.

Be free, be happy, be loved but most of all … be you.

xxx

An inspirational woman

I had a meeting yesterday with a wonderful person. After interacting with her via email for a while, when she was visiting from the US she wanted to meet face to face.

As I met her in reception I realised she was transgender.

She was confident, gregarious, happy and outgoing. She is also very successful. I found her truly inspiring.

Throughout the meeting I just felt so distracted. She must have thought I was a complete dummy.

Sat in front of me was a happy, successful, confident transgender woman just getting on with her life. I think the reason I was so distracted was because, similar to how it would be for me, she didn’t pass that well. But she didn’t let that stop her living her life as herself.

I’m just so happy for her. I admire her courage and strength. I’m so glad I met her.

At home, once everyone had gone to bed that night I stayed up. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. As I sat there thinking about the day tears rolled down my cheeks but I’m not quite sure why. I think it may have been frustration or even just self pity. I just felt emotional I guess.

More of our transgender brothers and sisters are finding the courage to live their lives their own way. They inspire others to do the same sometimes without even knowing it.