Q: I guess I should start off by saying that I am a transsexual. Even though I was born male and have done “boy” things, I’ve always felt like a girl on the inside, and dreamed about being a girl on the outside. However, I’m so uncertain about transitioning. I’m so afraid. Will I become an outcast? Will I ever meet someone who would want me for a companion? Its just such a big decision, and a big step. And yet, being 19, everyone I’ve talked to (both TS and non-TS) tell me that if I’m going to transition, I should do it now before it is “too late”. I guess I just need some advice about where to go from here. Everyday I get really depressed. All I can think about is transitioning. Yet I’m afraid that the reality of being a transitioned TS will be worse than what I am now. A person who is in the wrong body.
Diva Says: It certainly is a big decision, and an even bigger step. But you have youth on your side, and I have very dear friends who have transitioned MUCH later in life.
What is most important to a successful and sane transition is your system of support. You’ve said that “everyone you’ve talked to” has encouraged you to transition early. What’s important in that sentence is — everyone has encouraged you to transition! That means that you have supportive friends who want to see you happy!
I don’t think there is such a thing as “too late” – though it’s never “too early” to be happy. Still, don’t pressure yourself to jump into the pool before you’ve learned how to swim! Give yourself the basics before you dive.
1) Supportive Friends: It sounds like you have the makings of this already, but spend some time working on those friendships. Honor strong bonds, and work to enrich them. Deepen bonds that haven’t been explored yet. Your friends will be a vital respite from anything scary that comes from your transitioning. A space to relax and be joyful amidst the flurry of changes inside and around you.
2) Find a therapist: this is vital – not only by law, but for your emotional well-being. Transitioning is a HUGE life change, and it will certainly bring up issues for you. You will likely find yourself angry – angry that you weren’t able to simply be yourself. Angry at society for making this so hard. Angry at your body for not being what you wanted it to be all along. And sadness. And fear. And grief.
3) Find Peers: Finding other folks who are going through, or have gone through, the significant changes that you will be going through can be so comforting and reassuring. Finding your community is invaluable. Mentors, Peers and Friends. Family of choice. This is a beautiful gift to give yourself. People who know what it’s like to be where you are and who can steer you through the blind spots and give you some light at the end of the tunnel.
And if the reality of transitioning is too scary for you right now – try emboldening yourself to walk the gender line. Make compromises. Work to make peace with the skin you’re in and find ways to express yourself in less permanent ways. Give yourself a taste of what that other life would feel like. Maybe it will be enough. Maybe it won’t. But at least you’ll have taken a step towards finding your truth.
Whatever you do – do it with friends around you and it will be easier.