I’ve been actively writing this blog for around 6 months, and am closing in on the one-year anniversary of my coming-out to myself. I thought this would be a good time to check in and see how things have progressed.
At the beginning, I wrote that I identified as Genderfluid. Since then, I’ve come to feel that the label doesn’t fit me now. I’m more genderqueer, and am exploring whether transgender might be a good fit. For me, the label genderqueer feels more appropriate because I mix feminine and masculine qualities and roles into my expression and presentation. I’ll frequently mix masculine and feminine clothing, have somewhat androgynous hair and style it depending on how I’m feeling. While I’m not changing my voice or speech patterns, the hormones might be having some effect there as well – I’m not sure on that yet.
Exploring transgender as a potential label is a combination of evaluating and experimenting with more (stereotypically) cross-gender things to see whether and how they might fit for me, and trying to stop the knee-jerk mental denial I’ve become so used to doing. I frequently find myself catching a denial just before it hits my lips, and take a moment to really consider whether the statement I’m about to deny might actually be true.
It’s probably safe to say I’m expressing more cross-gender than I was 6 months ago, and certainly more than I was a year ago. I’ve found that I like it, though I still struggle with feeling the gender inferiority which partly comes from not feeling like I’m fitting in.
The ‘D’ Word
Dysphoria continues to be pretty constant in my life. The intensity changes, but it rarely goes away. When it is at its worst, I’m pretty useless. This is the main driving force to continue to explore what the right place is for me on the gender spectrum.
Am I mental?
Well, I’m still seeing the same professionals as before, and I’m exploring other pharmaceuticals to address some of the secondary difficulties I’ve been experiencing.
I’m out to a few additional people than I was when I wrote that post, plus I’ve since learned that a few other people that I didn’t tell know about me – my pharmacist discussed our experience with my spouse (confirming that they’re aware of what the mixture of medicines I’m on are being used for), and a sibling started a new relationship and has discussed my situation with their new partner. Additionally, I’m very close to telling specific members of my spouse’s family, as well as coming out to more and more friends.
Work still doesn’t know (beyond insurance claims, which should not be shared back to the employer), but I feel like I am also close to telling them.
I’m still dealing with depression and anxiety, but the medicines I’m on for it seem to be keeping it at a stable level. I’m able to work with the reduced amount of depression to continue to restore other aspects of my mental health (which should remove the causes for the depression).
5 Stages of Grief
I don’t know whether I will ever finish with these. I’m working with my therapist to reduce the effect of previous traumatic events, and maybe that will allow me to move more towards acceptance for the majority of the things that are still caught in the previous stages.
Still an introvert. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. But I have noticed that as I become more fully myself and am hiding less with other people, that I am able to be more open and genuine with them, which I believe is leading to closer and more meaningful relationships (which are what introverts want anyways).
Still a Christian. Still have questions. Still working on answers.
I’m blessed. I have a family which supports me (spouse and children, plus my siblings and parents). Friends I have come out to so far have also been supportive. I’ve found a great set of professionals to help me with my journey. I’m working on dealing with the sources of negative thoughts and emotions and have hope that I can be successful at removing their continued effect (not that I will forget them, nor will I forget that they hurt, but that they will no longer continue to hurt me).
I’ve found a great support group that I attend weekly, and it’s resulted in me making a few more friends who I expect will grow into great friends as we all travel on our journeys.
The not so good stuff
First, dealing with gender issues is expensive! Therapy sessions, doctor visits, bloodwork, various necessary cosmetic procedures, hormones, anti-depressants… and then there’s the clothes!!!
Next, this country has become a bit more hostile towards gender non-conforming people. HB2 in North Carolina was passed, then supposedly repealed, and then new legislation proposed which is equally hostile. Many more states are closing in on passing similar legislation despite the majority of people (in those very states) supporting trans rights. The current occupant of the White House (let’s call him “Nut-sack”) rolled back protections that President Obama put in place for GNC people (especially students), claiming that these are issues for the states to decide. I’m sorry, but certain states (I’m looking at “yall”) have poor track records of supporting civil rights for minorities. The Supreme Court took Nut-sack’s action as an excuse to side-step the issue in Gavin Grimm’s case, sending it back to lower courts for reexamination in light of changed policies. And then we have Nut-sack’s recently confirmed nominee for SCOTUS, who has a track record of not supporting LGBT+ rights. Politically, this is not a good time to be GNC in this country.
So much has changed in my past year, that it’s hard for me to look back at the person I was then. I was constantly depressed (miserable), angry (but couldn’t identify at what), and feeling very hopeless. Since then, I’ve made a lot of progress – learning what some of the sources of my internal conflict really are, finding resources and people to help me understand and navigate, and in the meantime, improving the relationships I have (especially with those who I’m out to – that has been such a great blessing!) and forging new ones (which was extremely hard for me before, and has become a little easier now that I’m more open about myself).
While I wouldn’t wish this condition on anyone, part of me is glad for it. I’ve become a better person, and have gone from a emotionless zombie going through the motions to an active participant in my life – feeling my emotions (sometimes a little too much) and taking responsibility for my own health and well-being. I hate what my journey has done to my family – it has placed a terrible burden on my spouse and children, but we are persisting. We will make it (whatever “it” turns out to be). I still (very) often wish I didn’t have this burden, but since I do, I’m glad that I’m taking action on it. I just wish I’d been able to understand this and have taken action sooner.