The topic of this weeks blog came from thinking over my own transition, that of friends, and reflecting on the sad Story of Leelah Alcorn, that of a need for patience. The root cause of the situation Leelah found herself in was absolutely caused by Religion but I think this article answers that angle brilliantly, especially, the following paragraph.
“If you’re unwilling to raise, support, and affirm an LGBT child – you shouldn’t be having children. If you’re a Christian who has an LGBT child please affirm them for who God made them to be. Our sanctuaries should be safe havens for the Leelah Alcorn’s of the world. Let’s eradicate transphobia from our pulpit and our pews and make it so. Because God doesn’t make mistakes — we are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
However if there is one message I think transpeople, especially those, as Leelah was, who feel very trapped, should take from it, it’s patience. I mentioned last week that my Dad referred to me as his Daughter for the first time, I’ve been very fortunate that my family are very supportive, but it still takes time for them to get used to it.
So there’s no point in getting wound up if people, especially family, who’ve known you for years, misgender you. If they are supportive then it’s just part of them getting used to it, give them time. It’s taken my family essentially 4-5 years to start getting my gender regularly right, and I’m sure that’s not atypical.
If they simply don’t accept, then have patience, give them time – having not been in that position I really am not in a position to give advice or thoughts on how to bring them onside, but time for me, has often been a healer, so as with the rest of this blog I’m sure Patience is a key factor.
But there’s another side to patience, and that’s where you feel trapped, or your transition is stalled for any reason. Leelah felt she’d never transition, however while it would undoubtedly would have been tough, I can’t help but think that if she’d managed to find a blog like this, or online friends to actually talk to, she’d have realised that she ultimately needed to be patient.
That isn’t to blame Leelah, not in the slightest, she was in a very tough situation, but had her whole life ahead of her, and it’s easy for anyone in a trapped situation, be it gender dysphoria, depression, grief, job/money worries etc., to think they’ll never escape – but give it time and most will.
But it’s tough, trying to look forward when all you can see is the same cage, is hard, but if you try to set your own timescales, if your, as Leelah was, an unaccepted young transperson, then don’t forget at 18-19 you have a lot more control over your life. Once you have a job, or are at University, you can consider controlling your own destiny.
It can seem like a lifetime away, but few people live at home past their early 20’s and at that point there’s still a lifetime to live. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not pretending it’s easy, it damned well isn’t, however with a plan at least you have something to cling onto.
My transition hasn’t exactly been quick or entirely trouble free as it has taken essentially 10-12 years, I first started taking up a female role when I played Starwars Galaxies from 2003, initially playing a female entertainer because female felt right, then realising it was the ‘role’ I preferred so much so that I only ever had one more male character – who was hardly played because it didn’t feel ‘right’.
By the time I joined Secondlife in about 2005 I was starting to realise I was definitely female, and by 2007 I knew absolutely that I was – but I didn’t start transitioning properly until mid 2010. It took me until around May 2011 to finally get referred, only to get referred to the wrong GIC (I had requested Sheffield without realising I was stuck with CHX due to the PCT funding), that delayed things, get re-referred to CHX and didn’t get an appointment until July 2013. I was then cleared for Hormones in Jan 2014, finally starting them when this blog started 46 weeks ago.
While the GIC journey, once in the system, has been fairly smooth, but it’s required patience, and back in 2007 I really didn’t know when I’d be properly transitioning. I only finally managed to get going when my, already pretty battered, marriage fell apart and I moved out in 2010; but I didn’t know that was going to happen in 2007, although my marriage was struggling at that point, and I had additional considerations of my kids.
So when I mention patience, and trying to plan, well I definitely had to be patient, very patient, and really until my marriage collapsed I didn’t have a plan. My kids came first, and had done for many years, but if anything my own transition should highlight that patience can work.
Anyway I hope you find this weeks blog useful and will catch you all next week.