My life as a transgender woman has certainly produced it's share of peaks and valleys. As I look back on it, I remember so many times I seemingly hit a wall with my male to female gender transition. Along the way I became very good at either climbing the wall or finding a way to go around it.
I have plenty of examples. Perhaps one of the bigger ones occurred when I was very young. Even though I didn't really understand at the time my gender problems really had very little to do with the clothes I was collecting to at least outwardly present myself as a girl. Very quickly the thrill of looking at myself in the mirror faded and I was left with the same old feelings of gender dysphoria. Of course then, I had no idea of what gender dysphoria even was. I simply went around the wall and kept dressing in my feminine clothes hoping to relieve the pressure I was living under.
Incredibly I lived with this pressure for years until I began to take my first tentative steps out of the closet in the late 1970's through the early 1980's. During this period of my life I felt as if I was in some sort of a gender maze. I would be successful during a few of my trips out as a feminine person. One day I would experience little or no problems in the world only to be confronted with laughs and giggles other times. It took me awhile to get to the point when I finally figured out I was building my own walls. Primarily from attempting to dress too trashy. Once I finally learned my lesson, my transgender odyssey began to calm down and be more productive. By productive I mean I was experiencing fewer stares and laughing and was beginning the very first stages of establishing a whole new life in a new gender. Gone were the days of just obsessing on my looks and mannerisms and all of a sudden needing to really consider what the new person i was becoming would be.
|Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash|
By this time, the walls were coming fast and furious. Just when I thought I had a handle on my new feminine self, new challenges came along. As I developed a whole new set of friends, they expected me to come along when they did fun things. I found myself going to lesbian mixers all the way to a NFL football game. Even with all this new excitement going on in my life, I still had to keep one foot in the male world. Which led me to continually be in the gender maze.
It wasn't until later on I finally was able to climb all the walls and escape with my life. Perhaps my biggest miscalculation was not understanding how much more complex feminine lives are over what a man experiences. When I transitioned I had to unlearn all the male privilege power structures and relearn what a women has to do to survive and even flourish.
Ironically, even though I have negotiated the gender maze fairly well, larger challenges still await me. Yes I am afraid of the increasingly malevolent attacks on women of all types and I wonder what it will mean to me in the future. Primarily if I need to go to a nursing home.
It looks as if my transgender odyssey is far from over,