Understanding, Part 6
As I continue the series, I feel it’s appropriate to add an unplanned entry here (and after all, a Seven part Series seems more fitting somehow anyway). Mattie posted a thoughtful comment in response to my last entry which, I feel, is a point that deserves some amplification. I’ll only quote excerpts here for reference, it’s best to read her whole comment in the context of the post to which it replies before reading this one.
The overall point is that the last column presented a very negative and fearful portrait of transition which might be overly intimidating to the questioning potential transitioner out there. This criticism is well taken. In my intention to, quite correctly, disabuse the ill-informed of the impression that the transsexual undertook transition lightly or casually, I did offer only one side of the equation and it’s important to note the balance.
I’ve seen many people transition successfully later in life, and I myself, as well as others I have known haven’t experienced some of the severe losses mentioned in this post.
It is, of course, true that many transsexuals experience a successful transition with little or no personal loss. Just as it is of course true that many have the financial resources to get from Point A to Point B with dispatch (I have another friend who went from coming out and declaring her intent to transition to post-op in about 18 months). There’s certainly no guarantee that the losses I mentioned will occur, and usually hardly any way to predict it. My own spouse was a person whom I would have assumed would have loved me through anything, and yet – while we are still trying to work it out – her attacks on me have often been vicious. Totally out of any sort of behavior I would have predicted. So the warnings are, in my view, apt but not a few of us have a much happier story to tell.
Transition and its complications is easily the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, however, part of the reason I waited so long in life was because of advice like the above that focus overly on the negative . . . looking back my only regret is not transitioning sooner in life.
It is a very very worthy point that the too-often NOT given advice is that, other than finances, if you wait out of fear you will almost certainly regret not the transition but the wait. As always, there are exceptions to any principle, but Mattie is not alone. I too long for the years I wasted trying to force myself to be someone I was not. Another pitfall in these discussions is that there’s a huge danger of oversimplification (I admittedly invited that risk when I attempted to do a “101”series) and this is a point which well illustrates that risk. I have another friend who had, to all appearances, as successful a transition as one could have asked for. Kept her career, physically very attractive and completely passable, socially accepted. But she has an ex who’s determined to use their children to make her life hell (and is succeeding). My friend is actually considering giving up and “re-transitioning” in order to comply with her ex’s demands. Not because she is unhappy with who she is, but because of external forces. So for me to imply, overly broadly, that everyone who transitions is very happy, or that most are filled with regret, would be too simple and not accurate.
MOST by an astonishingly wide margin (I’ve seen studies quoted suggesting it exceeds 95%) are very happy with the transition and have no regrets that they have embraced their true identity, and in every case of which I’m aware (even those few who make a name for themselves as a case of regret) a close examination of their own accounts indicates that it is, in fact, how society (at large or within their own close circle) reacted to them which fueled their regret. The track record is overwhelmingly convincing that for the true transsexual person, transition is the right choice, both for them and those connected to them. But neither is it a choice that anyone should take lightly.
There’s probably a whole other column to be written here just on the financial aspects of transition and how that plays into the plans you make. For every friend I had who managed to handle the whole process, economically speaking, I have another who’s finances make even the simplest accomplishments a struggle (count me in the latter group!) but ultimately, it’s best not to make this one overly complex. If I’ve done nothing else this time but direct your attention to her comment, then that is sufficient. Her point is a crucial one for a balanced view of the decision.
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