White Zombie, 1932
Jensen Ackles - Colored Pencil Drawing
by Heather Rooney on tumblr
If you haven’t seen the time lapse video of this being drawn, you will pee yourself.
Graveyard. By GaryGary88.
1) Very Long Post.
2) Possible Triggers for other Trans-People.
3) This is a self-account and not intended as a guidebook for others.
4) While I’m mtf, I’m sure many of these (if not all) applies also to ftm trans persons.
5) I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long! I hope you enjoy (okay, that one wasn’t a warning).
The purpose of this post is to illustrate what can happen to you, as opposed to what you believe will occur.
As with many transgendered people, my journey started a long time ago when I first started asking the question: “What the hell is wrong with me?” I finally (nearly 25 years after I first asked that question) set myself on the path of physical transition a little over a year ago, and in the beginning I was afraid of the future but I was also pretty naïve in the hope that things would work out.
Now, I know that you likely believe this is a knee-jerk post to something that has happened recently, and it sort of is. I’ve finally lost my last pre-transition friend. We don’t see eye to eye anymore, according to him, and he’s made that pretty clear. It hurts me to hear these things from him as I do feel we still share so much in common, I’m sad that he can no longer see me as the person he became friends with and is unwilling to expand his view to see past any new exterior (or mannerism).
I’ve come to a conclusion. I plan on giving this advice to anyone who asks me what it’s like to ‘become a girl’. I’ll tell them: “It’s easy! Take some hormones and give up your entire world.”
That may sound a bit extreme, but for me it’s pretty much correct. My world hasn’t ended, but I’m living in a completely new one now, and the only people I’ve brought along with me into this new world from my old one are the VERY few people who are open-minded enough to make that mental transition with me.
I suspect that other trans-persons have had similar experiences, and I also suspect that some have it much worse than me.
It’s my experience that reactions to your transitioning are almost always the expected result (with anyone you know truly well), but followed soon after by an unexpected reaction once they’ve had time to talk to other people, or think about it themselves (or a mix of the two).
Being transgendered (to me) is a cruel social experiment you perform on yourself. The difference between this and other experiments however is that you’re putting yourself in the middle of these social tests without any sort of safety net. You suffer the full consequences of your actions without the option of doing a re-test. You don’t get the benefit of passively taking notes and running further tests when it comes to interacting with outsiders.
One could argue that everyone does this every day by simply existing, but I think that trans-people truly take that plunge so much farther, and risk not only their own mental health but also their physical safety every time they either come out or out themselves to someone new.
This blog post is a bit of a self-satisfying confession of mine to outline some of the outcomes of these experiments I’ve performed in just a year’s worth of transition. I’m sure many (most?) of you can identify with quite a few of these following points, and if you do I’d love to hear from you so that you can relate a few of your own stories if you feel safe enough to do so.
Self-Discovery/Admission: My first experiment was to come out to myself. Once I had realized that in myself, I had to sit with it, try it on and see how it felt. It was freeing, a revelation, but frightening. I was no fool; I realized the very real possibility that it could turn my world upside down and destroy everything that was currently in it.
But even in that I deceived myself. I believed that it was possible to continue my old life in my ‘new’ body. I knew there would be some bumps and hurdles, I knew that some of my fears would be realized but I didn’t really think that it all would come to pass.
Test #1 OUTING TO MY SPOUSE: I was married at the time (I suppose I technically still am), and I believed my wife would understand. Surely someone so close to me would have been able to see that within me, she would understand my soul and its need to express itself in this world. She could share my revelation, and we would cry together but eventually our love for each other would win in the end.
Result: At first she was surprised, but understanding. That quickly turned to rage in less than a couple of days. She socially engineered all of our mutual friends to her side saying that I had somehow deceived her; I had apparently tricked her into marrying me when I knew this about myself. For her, it was a trap, and I still don’t know what she felt I had to gain out of doing that to her if it was true.
She said she couldn’t be married to a woman, and hated me for holding onto this knowledge and allowing her to get married to me. I only wish I had known this solidly in my head sooner in my life, perhaps it would have done less damage to everyone involved.
Test #2 OUTING TO MY FAMILY: My family, I believe, is fairly open-minded in comparison to most. I figured that when I came out to them, there would be a bit of a shock but then things would even out quickly.
Result: I suppose this is the best result of all of my tests, all things considered. I’ve certainly heard of worse horror stories. My mom went into hiding for a month and wouldn’t talk to me, my sister outed me to my father and my 2nd half-brother during a drunken spell (they live in England) my 1st half-brother felt it was his responsibility to argue gender with me. My stepfather was really upset, and went into a self-affirmation masculine overload.
In the end, things did balance out and we rarely talk about it anymore. My mother treats me like a curiousity at parties, and I’m often called over to talk to her bible friends (who ask me how long I’ve known, and try to flatter me with how attractive I am). My sister still keeps going on about how strong I am, and she seems pretty supportive. My father in England and my half-brother there are perhaps the most understanding and supportive of my entire family, but they’re half a world away. My stepfather (even a year later) still purposefully misgenders and misnames me at every possible opportunity.
Test #3 THE JOB OUTING: I was employed, and making close to $40k a year less than a year ago. I was paid well to perform in a very busy assistant position to two financial professionals. I was well-loved by the owners, and they treated me fantastically; in fact I was good friends with not only their son, but also one of the financial professionals (who was a friend and we hung out socially at least once a week). I figured if anyone has a good shot at transitioning at work, I at least had a chance at it.
Result: After coming out to the owners, they seemed completely understanding and accommodating. This was all an act, I can see that now. They were trying to placate me so they would have the time needed to strategically get rid of me. Things were okay for a little while, but then as I started showing more and more feminine traits at work both in my mannerism and dress, things became very uncomfortable for me. After they failed to perform a Constructive Dismissal on me, since I knew quite well how hard it would be to get a job elsewhere at the beginning stages of a transition, I held on through their aggression, their brow-beating and their politics. I dug in, hardened myself and cried in the bathroom when I needed to. When that didn’t work, they arranged to have me laid off, with a rather generous severance package (thankfully).
I know that I have very good grounds for fighting this in court, and truth-be-known, after my shrink gave me the business card of a very good lawyer who specializes in this, I almost did.
Test #4 OUTING TO FRIENDS: Of course I came out to friends before coming out at my job, but this one perhaps hit home the hardest, or at least most recently the hardest. When I was younger I had tons of friends, but of course in retrospect they were more of acquaintances. I did hold onto three friends, one of which was(is?) a fantastically loyal and good friend. I came out to each one individually, in person.
Result: All three claimed that it was something they could see coming. All felt that I was gay, but never really said it to me. One of them claimed that he was surprised, but could certainly see it in retrospect. One friend seems to be the same, as he was always kind of aloof with me anyhow, but I know that he talks about me behind my back. One friend, the guy I used to work with, hasn’t said a single word to me, not even a text since I was laid off of the job; I can only assume that my old boss has asked him not to associate with me.
I was okay with all of this, because my best friend always stood by me. He’s a fantastic guy and the only person that didn’t change the tune of their initial reaction shortly after, but just lately he’s been saying more and more how he can’t associate with me socially or mentally. He feels as if I’ve changed… that I’m not the friend he once knew. Yesterday we were supposed to meet up, and my plans ran afoul. I texted him to let him know, and he blew up, phoned me and then hung up in my ear. He hasn’t responded to any communication since. As this has been escalating for some time, I’m afraid this is it.
My experience with outing yourself to friends is that you won’t lose them right away. Instead, friends dwindle, they stop calling, hang out less, until eventually you realize that they aren’t your friends anymore.
The only up-side to all of that is that hopefully you’ve (like me) used your transition as a new lease on life. You’ve got out there and started doing things you were too uncomfortable to do as the old you, and you’ll make a few new friends along the way (I’m starting to).
If you’re still reading this, I’m impressed. I hope that this helps some who might be considering transition. I’d never say not to transition, but don’t do it lightly. It is my firm opinion that If you believe that you can safely transition and keep everything else in your life constant, you’re only fooling yourself.
I’m sure that someone transitioning younger than I have would suffer far less, but once you’re past 30 (yes… I am sadly that old) things get much more complicated.
Much love to you all,