Q: Is It Tough For You To Be Transgender?

Is it tough for you to be transgender?

There isn’t a simple answer to this question.

Is it difficult to be transgender? No, it’s how I was born. It requires no effort to be transgender.

Is it difficult to deal with the effects of being transgender? Yes and no. At first, it was difficult because I really didn’t know what was going on. I knew I was different, but I couldn’t put into words why. Then it was difficult because I had to deal with all the effects that being transgender (without being consciously aware of that fact) had on my life so far. I’d missed out on many experiences that other women have as part of their youth and daily lives; I’ve been able to have some of those experiences since realizing that I’m transgender, but some of those I will never be able to have. It was difficult navigating the various social, medical, psychological, and legal systems to make the changes to my life and my body that I needed in order to address what I now know. But now that I’m through most of those things, life isn’t so difficult. It’s much easier for me to get through each day because I don’t have to spend so much of my energy dealing with the effects of not living authentically. It’s much easier for me to relate to other people in my daily life now that I don’t have to hide or hold back an important aspect of who I am. It’s easier to get help and support when I’m struggling, because I have a network and community of people who are there for me and ready to help me however I need. So on the whole, while it took a lot of work, the end result is that my life is much better because I have been able to address my being transgender.

Is it difficult to deal with other people while being transgender? Also yes and no. For the most part, I don’t have much difficulty with other people. I’m readily accepted for who I am and I don’t face much challenge in face-to-face interactions. But when I come across someone who cannot or will not accept me for who I am, it is often exceedingly difficult — for whatever reason, people who don’t accept transgender people feel empowered to make things very uncomfortable and unsafe for transgender people. I worry every time I use a public restroom whether someone will challenge whether I should be allowed to use the restroom matching my gender. Every day I wade through horrible messages on social media online from people telling me that I shouldn’t exist, that I am a threat to other women, that I erase other women! Every day I hear about my government taking more actions to strip me of what little legal protections I have, to make it legal to fire me, to evict me, to deny me healthcare, to withhold aid and assistance from me — all solely on the basis that I am transgender.

So yes, from this last perspective, it is really tough to be transgender in today’s society. And it is largely the issues I highlight in this last perspective which lead to the higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidality that transgender people face; because when we are loved and accepted for who and what we are, those rates drop to the same as the rest of the population.

But even with all of this, I am proud to be transgender. It gives me a perspective that few other people have. It gives me empathy that I would otherwise not know. And it gives me an appreciation for being a woman that I don’t think that many other women can understand. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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