Monday, September 5, 2016

From the Archives- January, 2011, Too

One of my Facebook friends posted an interesting status update that prompted a lot of discussion and thought.
She wrote..
Just an observation or thought on some of you. It almost seems like you need to constantly convince yourself your doing the right thing or questioning whether you are really transsexual or not. Having never doubted who or what I was I find it very strange and sad there are people unsure of who or what they are.

Every one of us is different, but in all, honesty, I think questioning is more the norm than not.
There is a lot of societal pressure to not be who we are.
It can start early. Think back to grade school. Kids can be cruel verbally, taunting and teasing the "faggot" or "lezbo" on the playground. They can move beyond that to physical bullying.
Granted, those of us on the receiving end aren't "gay", but trans. But grade school kids aren't going to draw those kinds of distinctions.

Sadly, there are adults who can't distinguish between them, either.
They discriminate against us, deny us housing or jobs, the most ignorant and phobic take those grade school actions to darker, dangerous levels.
That's why there's a Transgender Day of Remembrance...because of those of us killed simply for being who we are.
There are the non-violent pressures from home. Be a man. Go out and hunt and gather and pass on your seed so that we may have grandchildren to carry on the family name. Go and be a good wife and mother.
Many trans people wind up in relationships that create walls. "I love my wife. How can I be a woman? How can I hurt her?"
And how many spouses or partners have said these words (or a variation) -- "If you loved me, you'd stop this."

Whether with malicious or good intent, there are a lot of pressures for us to not be who we are or, at the very least, never, ever act on it.
That creates a lot of denial and doubt over who we are. We might know it on a subconscious level, but we're not ready to admit it.
Now...some people are in supportive environments and come out as trans earlier. Others aren't but, for whatever reason, are unable to deny who they are and do so early.
But for a lot of us, it's not that easy.
There's an internal tug of war in our heads, often times with gender identity and sexuality getting tangled up.
In my case, I denied being "gay" for a long time when that wasn't even the real issue. The issue wasn't that I like men, it was that I wasn't a man.

But there is no set date for that breaking point.
Each individual person has their own individual time where the alarm goes off. The circumstances that prompt that vary.
As a result, many don't come out as trans until later. I didn't admit I was Kara until I was 41. Others don't until they're in their 50s or 60s. Others break sooner, doing it in their 20s.
This is something that requires a lot of work mentally. Not only do we have to do varying degrees of internal heavy lifting, we need counseling to help with it.
After all, can't get the letters for surgery and getting our gender markers changed without it.

Is it sad that so many of us jump through those and over obstacles we put in ourselves, let alone the ones placed by others? Absolutely it is.
Is it strange? Sadly, no.
The obstacles are enough that not everyone overcomes them.
Some of us detransition. Some of those weren't truly transsexual, true. But for some, the external pressures and realities become too great to deal with.
Others would in a heartbeat, but find themselves in marriages and children and sacrifice their true selves for the sake of those families.
Point being, it's not strange to question. It can be good. The fact that there are standards of care forces us to deal with our questions helps.

We might KNOW who we are from an early age. But ADMITTING it? That doesn't always immediately follow. And ACTING on it can take even longer.
I am blessed that I know who I am. I'm blessed that I have admitted it. Acting on it? That will happen when some real-life circumstances change. That's not my preference, but the reality of the situation demands it.
One more thing. I know I'm a woman, but as I've stated before I don't know what kind of woman I am or what kind of woman I'll be as I grow and (hopefully) transition.
It makes it a little more challenging to saw you are something when you don't know the full details of what you are.

But I look forward to filling in those blanks.
As much as I would rather be admitting I'm Kara at the age of 20, I might not have been ready then. I am now and I look forward to being my true self fully.
In the end, the process of becoming our true selves might be sad or strange, but it can also be a happy one, it can carry the reward of no longer having that weight dragging us down, even if we had no idea how much that weight affected us until we got rid of it.
Hopefully those of you reading this who are trans are able to progress towards admitting and acting on who you are. And if you've done both, I hope you're able to keep progressing on your life's journey.
Because we are all human beings, but we are women and men, working and striving towards becoming the truest and best versions of ourselves.
And there's nothing strange or sad about that.


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