So in the first, I showed the actual science and research that shows it is not a life choice. In part deux, I showed how the costs involved can be unbearable. In part drei, besides showing I know how to count in different languages, I want to introduce you to the many mental gymnastics that a transgender person has to go through. I will use my own experience which may not be the same for others on the same journey. However, the many stories I have heard on my journey have a lot of similarities.
When we take a step back as I was growing up, I felt like a girl, I wanted to hang with the girls, I wanted to do girlie things. However, I soon learned that this behaviour was not to be tolerated. I soon learned that I had to watch and learn from my brothers. I had to act like them even if I did not like it. It made my childhood miserable.
Years passed and I buried everything. I kept listening to others and following what I believed was expected. Of course, not being true to oneself eventually wears on you. I realized who I was in the 90’s and that there was a name for it. With the help of my psychologist, I started to work towards the goal of becoming me. I had spent so much time being what everyone else wanted me to be, I had no idea of who I was. I spent five years working with my psychologist to learn who I was and work towards becoming me. The real me. I started the transition process. I began hormone replacement therapy. I started electrolysis. I did all of this while dealing with the end of my marriage, the limited access to my kids. Eventually, I even lost my job. I tried to keep going for a few months hoping I could find work. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that it was not going to be. I had two kids to support. Against the advise of my psychologist, I made the decision to go back and be what people expected. My psychologist advised that I would suffer depression and offered to be there. I buried who I was and became who everyone expected me to be.
My life continued on and eventually I met my current wife. We hit it off right away. I was committed at this point to be the best man I could possibly be. I was a devoted husband and Father. I would put in over two hundred miles in a day when I picked up my kids. My wife and I would eventually move closer to her Mom and build a home in the country. I put in an orchard, raised bed and even horseshoe pits. I even joined the Masons and threw myself into it. I figured, if I was being a man, I would be the best. I started a fundraiser in my first year that is still going today. I was even the District Ambassador for a while. I was on my way to becoming Master of the lodge. Yet, the darkness that my psychologist had forewarned about was always there and was getting darker. My wife was staying at her mother’s to help out a few nights a week. That left me alone with my thoughts. The darkness started to grow. Sometimes, it seemed like I was just going through the motions, but I was determined to keep things buried.
I had really buried myself in Masonry. I had joined York Rite and was working my way through. I had become a Knight Templar. I was on the path to become and officer and eventually became the High Priest of my Chapter. I was number two in Council and number three in Commandery. Even in my Blue Lodge, they were talking that I might one day be District Deputy and some joked, Grand Master. My fund raiser grew each year. I was doing everything I thought people wanted of me so that I could feel that love and acceptance that we all desire. It appeared it was working until the truth sunk in. A man I had great respect and brotherly love for, the Master of our lodge, had a heart attack and died at the wheel. I was devastated. At his funeral, I heard what a wonderful man he was and how he was as real as they get. A man with a heart that was too big for his body. It got me to thinking about my life. What would people say of me? Hell, they didn’t even know me! I was not authentic. I was what everyone else wanted me to be. I started to spiral.
My wife and I had this wonderful farm. We were starting an alpaca farm. They are such beautiful and gentle animals. We added chickens and with our two dogs, we had a great place. Yet, I dwelled constantly in darkness. With Bill’s death, it got progressively worse. Eventually, my wife pressed me on it. I finally broke down and told her everything. She had known that I had a breakdown back in the 90’s, but not the details. After a few days to digest everything and many tears on both our parts, she told me that it was time to fix this. You would think it would be simple from there.
In the beginning the journey moved along in fits and starts. I did get back into counseling. However, it was much different than last time. With my wife as my rock and anchor, I cast off on this new journey. I felt empowered by her love.
You would think that it would get easier after that, but that is just when the dance begins. You see, you don’t just switch identities in a moment. You can’t just decide this is who I am and wake up the next morning and you are them and everyone excepts who you are. It become a dance. Slowly you come out to others. some will accept and embrace you, others will distance themselves or even walk away. It is hard to deal with the latter, and you tend to start to walk on egg shells. You give people their space and just hope.
As you begin to transition, you then have to do the dance as your ATM and credit cards are switched over. If you are going shopping, you might have to dress neutral until all your IDs are switched over. Everything becomes a calculation. You have to be careful because if you go out and you are dressed as female, but the cashier might see that the card is registered to a guy. That can make for uncomfortable situations.
The other issue you have is with people you know. I don’t know how many times during my journey, I have had to dress down when people come to visit. The switching back and forth becomes debilitating. All you want is to be you, but you have to be wary of others. This is even more important with those really close. While I can be myself most day now, I still feel the need to dress down for my son. He is having difficulty accepting who I am. My daughter, on the other hand, is antsy for me to go with her and get a tat. I am told that men have a harder time accepting.
In the end, it still is a dance. I have been Emma legally since July, but still do the dance. My ATM and CC are all switched over, so going to stores is no longer an issue, but when visitors come, especially close family who don’t fully accept, I still feel the need to dress down and not just be. One day, that will be so. Until then, I still do the dance.
My heart to your heart, one heart one spirit.