"I just encourage everyone out there to be their wildest, deepest, compassionate selves!" he says so enthusiastically that it is hard to imagine any other solution to the problems of the world.
- Hilary Hart, The Unknown She
There is a trend I'm seeing that is very disturbing, perhaps even more so as I approach coming out at work in just a few weeks. I seem to be hearing more cases in which someone who transitioned, either committed suicide or de-transitioned and committed suicide. Even considering that changing genders is probably the most difficult transition in the world, this shouldn't be happening.
Suicide, anyway, should be out. It may be that the person transitioning has a fantasy of how great their life will be, and is so discouraged to find out everything is so hard, or is not ready to lose everything. It may be that she went from a part-time crossdresser to out on the job, not having learned how to navigate female space. It could be that she was of the opinion that she'd rather die than live one more day as a man.
Whatever the reason, any tendency to morosely consider taking one's own life in the event of frustration should be dealt with before someone takes the final steps to live in their true gender. This is why we have WPATH. This is why we have standards of care. For such a drastic change in life, it must be taken in manageable chunks. If your counselor rushes you to transition, thinking the sooner the better, she is offering you bad advice.
Transgendered people, especially transsexuals are survivors. They need to acknowledge it in themselves, and admit that suicide is not, nor has it ever been an option.
People who successfully transition invariably use a few common principles:
- Learn to accept who they are and be proud of it.
- Take time to be comfortable at each stage before moving on.
- Work through successively larger closets. For instance, I met with crossdressers and transsexuals only first, then began to hang out at GLBT places, started attending a church that had straight people and GLBT people, and then started taking dancing classes at location that was mostly straight.
- Increase self-time incrementally. I began early on making experimental forays to Walmart, restaurants and other places going to and from support meetings. Eventually, I started attending a new church as myself, and identified only using my preferred name. I started doing activities outside of the church, and was feeling progressively less anxious and more comfortable with myself. When I lost my job and moved to Kentucky, I made the commitment to be myself where possible outside of work. I experienced both the good and bad of being female, and found myself more resolved. I am ready to transition on the job now, because I know it will be easier, I have community outside of my work, it seems natural and I changed my name over a month ago. I already reposted my resume under my new name, and have gotten a local company's interest, who interested if my transition doesn't work out at my company.
Hugs and God Bless,