Friday, June 21, 2024

Gender Stress


Image from Alekon Pictures
on UnSplash

Living a transgender life can often be nearly unbearable. I found it to be especially so when my male self was refusing to give up a losing cause and I was still trying to discover the wonders of living as a novice transgender woman.

In many ways, I don't blame my guy for holding on because of all the work he did to arrive at where he was in the white male hierarchy he grew up in. By jumping genders, I was risking it all. My job, my family and friends could conceivably all be gone. The pressure was on. In one way I admired the men around me who didn't have gender issues to deal with but on the other hand, I felt so alive and natural when I was expressing my transgender self. More and more, I so admired the women around me even more than the men. 

All of this envy led me to a major point in my life where I finally needed to decide my future gender. In many ways, it was my own fault because when I started coming out, I was more successful quicker than I ever thought possible. Very early on, I was just going out cross dressed to see if I could and then discovered it was going be easier than I thought to build a new life as a woman. To my surprise, strangers wanted to know me. Especially other women who wanted to know why I wanted to be in their world. At the time, I had just lost my wife and most of my close friends to death, so I was extremely lonely. Any attention I received was a surprise and welcome. 

The problem was I still had a male life to decide what I wanted to do with. Did I want to try to keep him part-time or go all the way and do away with all of my male existence. If I had just faced up to my truth, I would not have to have gone through all the gender stress I was to encounter. What happened was, I still hung on to trying to live as both binary genders nearly killed me. The stress I felt, I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I couldn't keep my mind on anything else than when or if I was ever going to take the next step on my transition journey. Which, at that time, I considered to being approved for and starting gender affirming hormones. 

As my life changed, my gender stress magically went away slowly but surely. At that point, I knew I had made the right decision by going ahead and giving up what was left of my male life. The pressure was off and I became a happier person. At the same time, I had developed my own group of women friends who accepted me and my life was similar to a continual girls night out. I'm sure the hormones helped but life became much more bearable. It all turned out to be great timing as it was near the time my health care group (Veterans Administration) started to accept transgender veterans for HRT care which included free mental health guidance which helped me to change most all of my legal gender markers. I was extra lucky when I was assigned to a LGBTQ friendly therapist who was happy to help with anything she could. Plus lend an understanding ear when needed. 

I am not sure I could ever explain the stress and tension gender dysphoria causes to the average person who refuses to even try to understand. The most important issue to stress is that being transgender is not and has never been a choice for anyone involved. 

As I said, I would not have wished my gender stress on my worst enemy but if I did, hopefully my enemy would have  become a better person in the process. 

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