Saturday, January 19, 2013



I know that in these posts I have portrayed my progress as the successful, almost triumphant, struggle to embrace who I really am. That is deliberate - I'm using this story to make sense of my journey and I'm choosing to see myself as a heroine rather than a victim. I also happen to think the world needs more trangender heroines and fewer victims - the world makes us victims all too frequently as it is, and sometimes we trans folk get caught up in that.

However, it would be dishonest not to acknowledge that there are costs to the path I've taken. Many people have stood by me, by far more than I'd dared hope, and I treasure them all. But some have been lost - the friends that have stayed conspicuously silent or quietly unfriended me, the many former students I will never talk to again, and the events where I will no longer be welcome. 

Readers of my posts may also have noticed that I don't mention family much at all, other than a couple of references to my spouse, whose love and support are so central a part of my transition. That's partly to respect and protect their privacy, since they didn't choose to be involved in this. (Of course, neither did I, but I did choose to confront it.)

The other reason I don't mention family is because they, too, are among the "costs". With only one exception, they prefer not to speak of or acknowledge my "difficult situation" (as one put it). It's as if I've been put under a cone of silence - I have no idea which of them has been told, what they think, or anything. When I went in for surgery last month, I got no messages of support from them. I suspect that in general they are hoping if they ignore me and my situation persistently enough it will just go away.

And they're right. Many people like me don't get acceptance and support from family and are devastated. In my case, we've grown apart over the years (my fault probably more than theirs), so while it is a loss, it's one I can bear. I will continue to walk my path, and even to be happy, with or without them. And yes, I will eventually just go away, because I don't care to have contact with people who refuse to accept me as I am. I am okay with that.

I do find it ironic that I've received so much support and even love from friends, coworkers, and even casual acquaintances, only to have family be the ones who can't accept me. But to be honest, I had always expected as much. I've discovered over the past year that I'm pretty good at guessing people's reactions, particularly those I know well. And one reason I waited so long to embark on the path to transition is that I was convinced my family wouldn't accept it. And it turns out I was right. 

Perhaps over time some of those I've lost will come around. If that happens, I'll welcome them, but at the moment it seems unlikely.

Still, this post is most definitely not a plea for sympathy. I'm still the heroine and my story is an overwhelmingly happy one. I am more than okay with the costs - I feel that I've gotten off so much easier than many trans people I know. But I also don't want to pretend that it's possible to win them all. No one wins them all, and I'm no exception.