No-one who has been through gender transition will say they did it on their own. It’s a long journey with up’s and down’s, and without the support of family and/or friends many of us wouldn’t make it through to the end.
I know I’m more fortunate than most in that my family is very supportive on me, but the interesting thing is the friends side of the equation. I’m sure I’m not alone in that my family isn’t local so while they’re on the end of a phone line, having friends is important on a more day-to-day basic and in order that I have people to socialise with.
What’s most interesting about my friends, however, is most of them really got to know me after I started transitioning and when it comes to local (rather than internet/international) friends, nearly all of them knew me as a girl.
In other words, I’ve made most of my friends while transitioning, and this is I think the point of this post. A message to those transitioning that you can make friends, the same as anyone else, and the vast majority of people will accept you for who you are. Sure some people may find it strange, but the majority won’t and you can happily transition while socialising in the same local pubs, and social areas as anyone else.
So if you do loose a few friends, just be yourself and you’ll find new ones. Some of my closest friends are less than 2 years old, and I’ve been transitioning nearly four years!
But how do I make them?
I think it was a point one of my best friends made, the fact I’m happy to talk to people. By simply being myself, being happy to talk, being friendly and wearing a smile a lot of the time means I do make friends. But it’s not rocket science, it’s something anyone can do, whether they are transitioning or not. Just be yourself, don’t be afraid to talk to people and be confident.
I’m grateful for all the help I get from my friends, and even though I am more relaxed now, knowing I have a decent network of them, I still value some of them a lot and hope they remain friends with me for many many years to come.
Finally I think the reason I decided to post this entry is the fact that I do know some people meet prejudice and alienation through the transition and being alienated by family and friends is not unheard of. Such people often turn to the LGBT community for support, and while such support is often useful and needed, remember that you are transitioning to, usually, take the role of the gender you know you are.
So don’t be afraid to start going to your local pub, I was fortunate that one of my best friends started me on the path by taking me to the local open-mic night. But it’s something anyone can do, find something that interests you and start going, be yourself, but don’t be afraid to talk about yourself. People are nosey, but it’s not because your transitioning as such, they’re just curious.
As my sister pointed out to me recently, if you saw someone pregnant in the street, almost certainly the first question that pops into anyones mind is ‘Is it your first?’ or ‘When is it due?’ – which is no different to “Are you pre-post op?” or “What effect do hormones have?”
So just relax, be yourself, socialise and SMILE!!!