- ‘For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather; to cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray, to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands.’ (Christina Rosseti)
If only I had a sister.
Oh, wait, I do! I have my own family of ‘sisters’ and ‘brothers’ each week at the lgbt meetings. We support each other as a family should, not as my other family doesn’t.
All I read are excuses.
Each one valid with each of you going through your transition. Or maybe sputtering at your starting line.
It is absolutely FRUSTRATING! Isn’t it.
You have every effort to progress forward, yet you remain either stuck or in reverse. AGH!
Been there, done that – SO MANY TIMES. My absolute and total empathies with each and every one of you who I find posting at your message boards as well as in spirit for those who did not post for whatever your reason.
Allow me to begin comment that in my estimation it seems the most frequent reason is that you are subjugating yourself to someone else – spouse, mom, dad, brother, sister, friend, partner, co-worker, neighbour – for one reason or another.
I ask you to put this in reverse. How well would these people subject themselves to subordinating their life goals to you? Tough question. Indeed. Ponder that. Many of you would not get their time of day from your people if push came to shove – that is the cold reality for most of us. That is the fear for most of us. We would rather retreat into some imaginary concept than face that harsh reality that we are all alone in our efforts. Or at least alone in our personal lives.
You are not alone when you seek this wonderfull place we call support. There are plenty of friends to meet at your local transsexual support groups (many are within your local lgbt affiliate). Many hold meetings weekly or bi-weekly. Larger communities provide more than one lgbt group from which to choose; eh, choose them all.
I faced my own dilemmas and my own excuses for many many years. I began my transition in 1974 when I had a quick, chance meeting with Denise. But I was stuck residing at a small town distant from anywhere. Opportunity was nil 45 years ago so at least I pounded the local Public Library and read and read and read.
I corresponded with Stanford University; I obtained medical and counselling referrals from their transition program (beginning 1977).
I found a trans-friendly physician in early 1978; I was on my way.
I corresponded with Janus Foundation (Galveston, Texas); they also provided referrals from their program to physicians and counsellors at my geographical location (beginning 1978).
Janus’ guidance led me change my name / sex to Sharon / female at SSA (September 1978).
It would take time to finally get my first transsexual therapist, my first prescribing internist, and my first ERT (Norinyl during Spring and Summer 1979; Diethylstilbestrol beginning later-Summer 1979).
That led to getting my state to affirm my name / sex as Sharon / female; my first act was going directly to MVD and obtaining my first driver’s licence in my new name Sharon as female (1980). Then I opened my first bank account as Sharon. More exhilaration and success.
But now what do I do with what seems to be everything in my hands.
The same excuses: work, family, friends and social circles, church, daily errands.
I decided that I would transition my life in steps and in different elements of my life: work, family, friends and social circles, church, daily errands.
My employer (USDA Forest Service) in 1978 knew of my legal changes because of SSA’s discrepancy list – SSA reports to your employer if you work in one identification but your SSA file is different. My supervisor was the Personnel Manager; she kept reasonably mum to me, but I overheard her comments to another office supervisor who spread it to others who spread it to still more at work; they outed me without me coming out (January 1979). I kept quiet and focused on my job though I wrote an extended letter to her ‘just in case’. This was one opportunity to transition that I lost because I failed to see it at that time.
This same opportunity to transition as Sharon / female at work would repeat a few years later (1983) with a different Personnel Office supervisor at a different Forest Service office – this time in the face of being fired for being transsexual. Gossip at work was that there was a female presenting as a male (you know, it is that ‘Victor / Victoria’ tag line – ‘A woman pretending to be a man …’). Blanche thought I was that female working as a male; she was correct as she stumbled her way, but she was grasping at anything to make charges stick against me. This was a second opportunity to transition at work that I failed to recognise until later.
Both times when I did not transition were due to my lack of having local, specialised transsexual counsel. Those were my lumps of 40-some years in the past; nowadays, you have plenty of opportunity to find and retain qualified transition counselling even if you reside at a small community.
I, too, was misguided about my family. I spent years in feminine protesting since age three. There was no secret of my inclinations. My immediate and extended family certainly must have expected my eventual, future resolution but refused to accept me anyway; meanwhile I was afraid of losing them though I failed to recognise that I never had them. Another opportunity to transition that I lost because I failed to see it right in front of my eyes.
I had friends and a social life. Looking back, they were not in my corner. So why did I subordinate myself to them when most all did not care one whit about me? Fear of losing them; I lost them anyway. Another opportunity to transition lost.
You will lose family; you will lose friends – especially if you are in an older age group as I am now (age 59 rapidly nearing age 60). My contemporaries are mucking the works; life will improve when our generation dies. You of the youngest age group are our future – you who are children, teens, 20-somethings today. You children of today seem to have less prejudices and more empathies than we of my older generation.
My father and that now-ex-friend Clint came to my home one evening (November 1985) and complained about what my change was doing to them. They were more interested in themselves. Clint provided no apologies for siccing his college football buddies on me the week or so earlier.
I was active at my Catholic parish as a religious educator and as a teen / youth minister. My church is among those who actively oppose transsexuals. I had been female full-time forever, had a supporting pastor and nun, and received a diocese award. But I faced one opposing parent who forced me to quit as teacher; I do not know how she ‘knew’. Though I was not stealth as a member of that parish, neither was I open. Because of that one woman, I quit that parish church and quit that denomination altogether. But again I lost time on mis-guided notions rather than opportunities of transition.
At least I began transition during the mundane of life: getting gasoline at the filling station, buying groceries, walking along the downtown streets in transition mode while on my days off work, cross-country trips by car.
Small successes led to increased successes.
Along the way, I dealt with my exploratory for inter-sex (University of Utah Medical Center – 1982) and a correction procedure (Cottonwood Hospital – 1983).
I got the nerve to anonymously walk the business halls of places where I had been known as my male predecessor – it was my test to determine if anyone recognised me as female.
- No one recognised me at University of Utah Medical Center in 1985 where I had my exploratory in 1983.
- I attended a Christmas pageant at Mormon Temple Square as Sharon, my transitioned persona; again, no one recognised me, not even the security agent who knew ‘Nick’ since 1981.
Each success meant that I ‘Passed the ‘Passing’ Test’.
Since I was not residing where I really wanted to live, I resigned my federal employment in the midst of my supervisor firing me as transsexual (1983). I fought their action for two years and got nowhere with it thanks to the absence of legal service in my camp. I totally departed every element of my ‘Nick’ life, moved to a new location and soon began my new life as Sharon / female.
This new location was now about a two hours drive from my father’s home and only one soon-to-be-former-friend who knew my past (we would break up within weeks of me telling him). This was a clean break from my past, a fresh start to my future, people would know me only as Sharon and female. Success.
Thus ended my string of excuses; I began my new life unhindered by a past. I went from part-time transition to full-time female forever (June 1985). Transition in any form and through any stumbles is success.
Please do not allow that money is holding you back. Most communities nowadays have trans-friendly clinics on a sliding scale. Most pharmacies have special generic-pricing that provide for three-month prescriptions at $10; I’m now on MediCare and my price drops to less than $3 each for three months of 2mg estradiol tablets and 100mg progesterone ‘fish eggs’.
Can’t afford electrolysis and you hate to shave your face? Don’t shave. I plucked my facial hairs during early transition – it took maybe an hour or so once or twice each week. I plucked while watching TV before bedtime or Saturday mornings; my facial skin remained smooth and there was no shadow. Plucking did not hurt; my electrologist told me that plucking actually contributed to damaging the roots and made electrolysis easier to kill those damaged hair roots. Include finasteride or ‘spiro’ in your cocktail to help slow hair growth. Nowadays, orchi is standard during pre-op transition. One day soon enough and your hairs will be gone.
Looking back, I lost many opportunities to transition because I thought I could please others in exchange for their support. I learned they would NEVER accept me which meant I only had me to please. My only regrets were that I did not do this as well as I could have due to all my lost opportunities that I failed to recognise. Please, you can acknowledge your opportunities – seize them, they are right there within your grasp, go get them.
- ‘I’m alright now. I’ve learned my lesson well. You can’t please everybody. You’ve got to please your self.’ (Rick Nelson)
I am pleased to be me – Sharon and female.
My profuse apologies to my friends.
I lack home Internet; its cost exceeds my finances. I must use the wi-fi at the local Public Library, or grocery store, or shipping center, or wherever I can find it.
Getting out and about is not always easy or within my budget.
My computer crashed – literally, it fell on the floor and broke – earlier this year. That took me out of commission at least one month.
I spent the better part of the past five weeks fighting what my physicians diagnosed as an ‘upper respiratory tract infection’; in other words, my lungs fill and I am drowning in my pulmonary fluids.
Some of you posted for me to put you on my list here at WordPress. I have not had time to learn how to do that; I have that among the top of my to-do list, it is my lack of wi-fi time to learn.
I want to make my way to Thailand next January 2017 – in time for Lunar New Year and also as a culmination of developing a ‘class re-union’ for anyone who wants to give it a go. I have come to know many Dr. Chettawut patients this past year and I have come to know patients of Thailand’s other ‘Big 3’ (PAI and Suporn) – either personally or through correspondences and message boards. I developed what I consider a fond relationship with Dr. Chettawut that began with our correspondence exchanges since last June 2015. I thought wouldn’t it be great if we all got together and celebrated our success and their success – patients, doctors, nurses, companions, friends, supporters. I recently found a web page of a ‘family’ re-union with Dr. Chettawut and his patients; that gathering was about 10 years ago. Let it happen again, with me or without me. Who’s game?