I have a few reflections and advice on the 5-year anniversary of coming out as transgender:
1. The best piece of advice I got: "Your transition belongs to you." There are no true rules in this. You don't even have to transition, and you certainly don't have to transition to anything established, or understandable to anyone else.
There are no objective body schedules or social milestones. You are free to make up WHATEVER you want. And you are free to push for your standards to be respected and assisted. Transition belongs to you.
Outside of hard-and-fast medical numbers and safety guidelines (real physical safety, not gatekeeping bullshit), you'll encounter invisible rails attempting to direct your experience. It's alright to oppose this, and to call them out. But the core of your experience is your own, and that can't be taken away.
(boosts of this thread are ok)
2. The language has evolved, and it's going to keep evolving -- so while you look for terms to navigate your experience, don't be afraid to make new ones up, and don't get too married to any one label.
Never forget that at least half of the language around transition, and transgender experience, has been created by cis people for their own convenience and anxiety-reduction.
Turning this language on its head can be useful and clarifying. There are no rules.
3. To the extent that "passing" even still matters, is the distance we have to go towards trans equity.
The fact that a hoop to jump through still exists, to acquire safety and respect, is phenomenally horrendous.
You are what you know you are, right now. Measure the distance between that, and how you're treated, as a failure of society -- never you.
"Going stealth" after you "pass" is any trans person's right, but it's also ok not not want to have to. It's ok to fear being pushed into a post-transition closet, and to feel ambivalent about it. It's alright to want to be fully known, it's not a cry for attention. It's human.
4. If you face a choice, during transition, between passing and self expression (and you likely will), and it's safe, consider going with the latter.
In the long term, it really is easier to deal with a slower transition, than a loss of connection to who you really are.
Transition can be more than just fixing a mistake made onto you. It can be a genuine life-reset button. If you have the ability to maximize that, even partially, go for it. Be YOUR version of your gender, and wait out the bullshit. It's worth it in the long run.
Of course, do what you need to do to feel safe and ok, first. There's no shame in that, either.
5. It gets better.
It gets better.
I swear to Gods, it gets better.
I didn't think it would, I was so miserable. But it has, beyond my actual pre-transition ability to even imagine.
Don't think about how long it'll take, because guaranteed, it'll take longer than you want it to.
Just keep breathing and doing what it takes to pull through, and life will feel 100% less cursed.
I love you. You got this.
trans, MH, sui (past feelings), meds
If anyone doubts that I came from a dark place, know that I had suicidal thoughts, off and on, for 22 years.
From the time I was 15, to the time I was 37 and began transition, I struggled hard with finding reasons and energy to keep fighting and living.
Some of it is brain chemistry, and I do take lexapro to help with anxiety and prevent depression.
Tons, and I mean tons of it, was dysphoria and societal abuse. I am one of the lucky ones that testosterone itself was a mood booster. But the process of transition took a lot of that curse off my head, as well.
That doesn't mean there weren't days where I stayed in bed, or laid face-down on the floor for hours. I think if you need to do that, do it. Give yourself a break.
There aren't "reasons" to live, either -- what there is, is something priceless inside you. Even if you don't know what it is, or can't see it, I promise it's there. There are people out there who want to know and love you, even if you haven't met them yet.
That was the bet I made, and it paid off. But I also know what that overwhelming pain feels like, and I know what it's like to really *be* alone, not just feel it. It sucks. I'm just one dude, but if my caring about you and your life helps, then hang on to that. You matter, infinitely.
@erosdiscordia thank you for this threat!
@2. I encourage creative and progressive use of language, but please refrain from policing other trans* folks' "outdated" language. It reflects their trans* experience and they will have reasons for their choice of words. Our multitude of - sometimes conflicting - theories is a strength, and it reflects the complexity of gender and society. Don't become a gatekeeper for what's "legitimately trans*."
@5. It gets better, then it will get worse. That's because gender euphoria will wear off eventually, and then other parts of your life and personality will become more prominent again. That's no reason to not transition. At least, you will face every future hardship as a "truer" version of yourself, and that's a lot! Also, it lifts one layer of problems from everything you'll have to deal with.
In short, it's simply a sign of you settling into a "new normal."
A bunch of technomancers in the fediverse. Keep it fairly clean please. This arcology is for all who wash up upon it's digital shore.