Saturday, July 25, 2015


There is a stigma to being different.  I guess a lot of people feel it for different reasons to various degrees at some point in their lives.  Personally, I've felt it strongly since at least time time I entered school as a kid.  People deal with having a stigma in various ways.  Some embrace whatever it is about them that brings upon shame, others go into hiding and some are destroyed by it.

Transgender people have a special kind of stigma.  Most often this feeling of being disgracefully different is the cause of us repressing who we really are and/or secretly leading double lives.  This can be extremely overwhelming and can lead to isolation, addiction, shattered lives and sometimes worse, although some are better at putting on a happy face and leading a "normal life" than others.  In any instance, the dark shadow lives within.

When we come out, Good God, the stigma is suddenly there staring everyone in the face.  It is like having a tattoo on your forehead if people know that you are transgender.  You may be successful at covering it with enough realness, by blending into the world so that everyone doesn't know.  Still, someone always knows.  And they are staring at that tattoo.  Even if they embrace and accept you, you have to wonder what is going on their heads.  What do they really think of you and this strange condition you are now so openly displaying?

I've come to discover that transsexual transition is only about treating your own gender dsyphoria.  It doesn't do a thing to do away with the stigma of being grossly different.  That requires a different treatment altogether.

By and large, you cannot effect how other people are going to react or think about you, so how you cope with this stigma of being trans is all in your head.  It can destroy you or you can find a way to deal with it.

Stealth, going completely underground so that no one (and I mean No one) knows this secret about you, is one way of dealing with it.  This is the old way and used to be considered necessary for survival.  Today, acceptance is more widespread so not as many people choose the option of going completely underground after coming out.  It requires severing ties, telling lies and going back into a closet. 

Closets are usually dark, cramped, uncomfortable spaces.  Prior to coming out we live a type of stealth, hiding from the world.  As I have stated before, personally this is not a situation I want to return to.  It's not healthy for me and for those of us who don't want to completely start over, it is not possible.

You hear of people doing things as extreme as committing suicide even after they have fully transitioned.  Did the dsyphoria not go away or was there some other dark element at work.  Could the stigma of being transgender or the realization that some will never be able to deal with it (family, spouses etc.) be the culprit? 

Every trans person defines their own transition.  Just this year I've realized that my own transition is complete.  I've gone from point A to point B.  Although I gave up a career and lost a spouse, I know it's something I had to do and it has been extremely rewarding.  I guess I am lucky in that my transition was successful in curing my gender dsyphoria.  That was my one goal going in, but recently I've realized that nothing has made the stigma I feel from being extremely different go away. 

So, I have embarked on another journey, one of introspection.  I realize now that I have never been comfortable being transgender.  I hated it, hence I hated myself.  I fought it for as long as possible, then I came out and transitioned as quickly as I could.  I wanted to get away from this thing as swiftly as possible.

You know what, it worked.  Bingo, I was cured!  It couldn't have been so easy, could it?  I don't hate myself anymore.  I learned to love myself and luckily also found someone to love me.  Life is Awesome!

But wait, I am still trans.  I'm still not comfortable with that, even though I am finally comfortable with myself.  How do I deal with this awful stigma?   I've always felt like a woman, not a trans woman.  That's one reason I didn't want to transition.  I wanted to be a "real" woman, not a trans woman.  Now I am having to realize that I am as real as I am going to get.  Not only do I not feel pride in being this way, I have to admit to still feeling shame.

Maybe it's just the lingering pain of 4 decades of wrongness, maybe it's the fact that much of society still views people like me in a negative light (that often includes discrimination and violence committed against us), maybe it's the fact that I still worry about what people think of me (in every way), maybe it's the fact that my secret isn't such a secret anymore, but something still bothers me about about being trans.  Inside, I feel the stigma.

The bottom line is that I don't want people to know, but it's a catch-22.  In my situation, for a lot of reasons, some people are always going to know about me.  All the realness I can muster cannot wipe that away. 

I realize I am fortunate to have made it here alive and seemingly in one piece.  I'm fortunate to have been able to complete my transition the way I wanted to and I am fortunate to have a future that could possibly fulfill all my dreams.  The only nagging problem related to this condition is dealing with this tattoo on my head.

So I have sort of withdrawn some lately.  I've let fear creep back in to some degree.  In real life I have been fine, just not interacting with friends as much for various reasons.  My family life is looking up and couldn't be better.  But online in social media, except for my private groups, I've tried to sort of distance myself from being trans. 

It's an awkward situation and I'm not satisfied with it.  I haven't been posting blogs recently because right now I generally write about my transition and I didn't want to draw attention to that situation.  Friend request have come in from people I've met who may not know I'm trans and I don't know what to do with that, so I've blocked some so they wouldn't find out.  Otherwise, I've tried censoring the content I post publicly. 

This isn't working in a way that I'm comfortable with.  I don't want to go back to hiding, and partial hiding seems to be a tedious balancing act that's going nowhere. 

So at the end of the day I have to find a happy medium in my life.  I'm still going to be trans.shhh, meaning I am not going to advertise or tell everyone I meet that I am different.  Still, I am not going back to missing out on life or opportunities out of fear of someone finding out. 

Feeling stigmatized is not only not justified, it's not going to hold me down.  I won't let being trans define me but I'm going to have to suppress that creeping feeling that I need to go out of my way to mask who I am in every situation.  Even if I don't embrace it, I have to deal with it.