Thanks for being patient. A lot has happened since my last post, and it’s required a lot of energy and attention. So to catch up, let’s do another check-in (I’ll follow the same approach as my last check-in):
At my 6-month check-in, I wrote that I was exploring the idea that “transgender” might be more appropriate for me. I’ve since determined that it is the correct description for how I am, and that has changed a lot for me. I’ll write more about that soon. But the result of this revelation is that many of my questions are now answerable, and that’s removed a lot of uncertainty. It’s granted me stability that I’d lacked for more than a year.
Since determining I’m transgender, I’ve become more comfortable expressing feminine, and it’s become my new normal. Its rare that I need to express masculine anymore, and it feels foreign and wrong when I do. Gender inferiority is still a part of my experience, but much less than before. It’s not so much that I’m fitting in (although I think I’ve made progress there), but that I’m finally beginning to see some of the effects of HRT, and I’m able to see a little bit more of my true self when I look in the mirror.
The dysphoria has improved – a lot. I have stretches of time where I don’t feel it – sometimes it even lasts for days. I think the combination of recognizing and living in my gender and HRT have made a big difference here. When I do feel it, it’s usually less intense and shorter. I still have times where it’s debilitating, but thankfully, those are becoming more rare. I think this is a major reason I’ve been able to feel more stable.
I’m still seeing the same professionals as before, and the adjustments we made to my medications have eliminated the negative side effects. I’m able to see a future where I won’t need those medications any more, and that feels great. I’m not there yet, but I’m well on my way.
Here’s another area that realizing I’m transgender has helped. With the uncertainty before, it felt like I wasn’t sure what to tell people, which led to wondering whether I even should say anything. But now, it’s gotten easier. I have a basic script that I follow, and it’s been well received with every person we’ve told.
I’m in the process of coming out at work. I’ve found a great ally and advocate within the HR department, and we plan to work together (with other LGBTQ+ people in the company) to shape policies and processes. I’ve come out to my supervisor and his supervisor, and again, both were very supportive.
Perhaps the most daunting people to come out to are our kids’ friends (and their parents) – they have the ability to make life difficult for our kids by making fun and spreading (mis)information. Fortunately, so far, all have received this information well, and nothing has changed in our kids’ relationships with their friends.
EMDR has made a huge difference dealing with traumatic childhood memories. Realizing I’m transgender has granted stability. These have allowed me to make progress on grieving; I’ve reached the point where I accept myself as transgender, and I’m working through grieving the loss of opportunities and experiences typical of a feminine childhood. I still have a lot of work to do there, but again, I can see a future where these things rarely carry pain.
I’m still an introvert; that’s not changing. But I’m able to be myself in a way I never was before, and I’ve seen relationships improve. I’m closer to my family and am developing friendships with people who know the real me, and that’s amazing. As someone who had accepted that I’d never have close friendships, I’m very glad to be proven wrong.
Still a Christian. Still have questions. Still working on answers. But I’m finding acceptance at church, which gives me hope for organized religion.
I remain immensely blessed. My support system continues to grow, and I still haven’t had any negative responses to coming out or how I present. Support group has continued to be an important part of my self-care, and the friends I’ve found there will be a part of my life for the rest of my life.
The not so good stuff
Being transgender is still expensive. And while there is hope on the horizon (to be able to reduce office visits and medications), some of these costs will remain with me for the rest of my life.
The political climate has become significantly more hostile towards people on the trans spectrum. President Nut-sack tweeted that trans people would no longer be allowed in the military, then a few weeks later took steps to make that official. States continue to try to pass bathroom bills even when public opinion and support of trans people is increasing. Conservatives in Congress keep trying to modify existing healthcare law to remove the requirement that gender-related healthcare be covered.
But even so, there are some bright spots: the heads of the military seem to be resisting Nut-sack’s transgender ban, Congress continues to be unsuccessful at actually modifying healthcare law (thank you, Sen. McCain), and there have been a sprinkling of court decisions protecting trans rights.
While things continue to change, they mostly seem to be improving. HRT has proven to be the right treatment, as my body is realigning with my gender, and my emotions improve and stabilize. As I’ve continued to transition, I’ve been discarding the things that were artificial – to keep up the appearance of being a cisgender male – and embracing parts of myself which I’d suppressed for so long. I’m happier. I’m finding peace with myself. I am a better person. I still wouldn’t wish this condition on anyone, but I’m finally seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. While my condition remains a burden on my family, I see it slowly easing. Life is good.
P.S. While I’m going to start posting again, I can’t make any promises on how frequently. But I’m starting to feel like I have something to write about again (the past few months have been spent recentering and stabilizing, so I was really focused on finding answers for my questions), and that feels good.