Thursday, March 31, 2016

Transgender Day of Visibility

Today I am in too much pain to get much work done, so I thought I'd speak here to the significance of the day instead. Today is Transgender Day of Visibility. 

Visibility can be what we both long for and fear, simultaneously. I want you to see me as I truly am, even if you don't like it or find comfort in it. Just know that this really is me. This journey of transition has thus far been the most difficult thing I have ever done in my whole life. It surpasses childbirth, divorce, and all the other pains and hardships I have endured.

The journey of being transgender doesn't begin on coming out day. Before telling anyone in the entire world, a transgender person must first face themselves. Some know from an early age and retain that knowledge steadfastly, others know but are shaken by the chaos of puberty, like me, and push that knowledge into the underground of their soul out of fear. Others make the connection later, wether it ever occurred to them before or not. 

I spent several years trying to talk to others about my gender dysphoria before I was able to fully accept it. Even after I started discussing it openly, I went back and forth about what to do. Here is my entire adult life based on being this strong woman and devoted mother. I have this name and this history and these children. I have community and education and work history based on this name and identity. 

So let me tell you a related story:
Almost 10 years ago, my son was diagnosed with autism and, before that, developmental delays and processing disorder. Nobody knows exactly what causes these traits either, but I knew I could work with him through it and we'd find a way. Now I have the proof in his progress reports (and his current reality) that there is a way through that darkness and resisting or denying his truth would not have gotten us so far on that journey. Other harrowing parental dilemmas have shown me the same truth. 

So how does someone like me start their transition journey so late in life like this? (And many take this journey on in later years as well.) I know from experience that there is a way through the darkness that couldn't be traveled if I held on to denial or resistance. Even when I falter, fall back into the darkness for a bit, need to reach out for more help, or feel defeated, I'm going to make it through this journey. Some days I won't want to talk about it and some ways I feel ok talking about it won't be the most comfortable for you. When it comes down to it, though, that's ok because I am the one who has to be me. I get to decide which steps to take and when. My journey isn't anyone else's and other trans people have variances in their stories as well.

I don't always know how to explain me to you. I don't usually want to. I am naturally an introvert and visibility is not a high aspiration of mine. But feeling loved and accepted as I am is. I speak up like this because I know I'm strong enough to speak for all of the people in my position who can't, for whatever reason. 

I'm protective. I won't allow harmful commentary to remain on this post if you feel called to say that sort of thing. But I'm completely fine with offering resources to anyone who asks here. You can comment anonymously if you need to. 

Let our visibility be strength. Let our differences be the spice of life. Enjoy and love each other as the unique and beautiful creatures we all are.