After 62 years I have come to my senses and stopped denying my transness. I have been on HRT for the past 5 years and I have done much of the follow up to transition. I have to make it work for myself and my SO, but I am ready in my mind to do that. I have a small group of friends, family and others who know about me but the one thing I do miss is a sense of community. I have been to transgender events across the country and have met many people but most of those relationships are fleeting. It is mostly my own problem. I am face down in my own day to day affairs trying to make money to insure our continued lifestyle. I am also not necessarily the type of person who always follows up. That has to change. I feel the need for a larger group of friends and people who want to spend time together.
I live in the NY Metropolitan area, there should be hundreds of people out there who are trans like me…wouldn’t you think? I go to conferences like Keystone and First Event, Trans Philly and Southern Comfort and see groups of people who seem to be together as a community of great warmth and appreciation for each other. That is one thing I would greatly love to have in my life. So from here on I am going to do the reaching out, the friend making, the following up.
However, I find that this is sometimes easier said than done. But I am going to try to see what makes other communities work. I see the members of groups such as Trans Central PA who get together regularly; I know it takes effort and I know it takes commitment, but here I am and this is what I want for my life. If you have a community that you belong to, be it a trans centered community, an LBGTQ community or other community…what makes it work for you? How do you develop and maintain friends? The friends of my past do not necessarily accept me as I am now. I have had to take the position that I am who I am and I can’t constantly change to meet their needs; I did that for over 60 years and I can’t do it anymore.
Also, I realize that transgender is a spectrum. As with all groups, we all have interests and other feelings that do not necessarily align. I do not discount nor am I against anybody’s own feelings and rights to feel what they do. I just don’t always feel that everybody will be a perfect match. We all know this, but still it is important that I have an open mind and do not think because somebody feels different than I do that I can’t become close friends with them. That would be awful and against everything that I believe.
Having been in therapy for a long time, I have been advised that expanding my support system is particularly important as I continue to transition. You need people to be with you and to be supportive of you just to deal with everything a transgender person deals with in life. In fact I guess it is everything everybody has to deal with in life. Trans people are not that different despite what some politicians might have you believe.
As a mature trans person I have lived a long time in the shadows. The knowledge and intelligence of parents, doctors and therapists today regarding trans health and their acceptance (more often than the past) of a young Trans person is so much healthier and gives them the opportunity for a lifetime of building relationships and having their life be out in the open instead of a masquerade.
Sites such as Transgender Heaven give the ability to talk with others and that is greatly appreciated. Especially in potentially developing friends who can be part of lasting relationships. It is amazing to me how friends develop based upon interests and need. I believe that the transgender community has an explicit need for people to come together. It is important that we are seen by others who understand who we are and what we are dealing with. As I have stated previously, that does not discount everybody’s need to be seen and heard, it just seems that for trans people it is more so because of societal issues that push back on us. As it does for many communities, racial, religion, LGBTQ as a whole. We need to be able to reach out and build relationships because it is part of the foundation of what being a transgender person is, being able to express oneself in a way that is normal and comfortable for us. In the past normal has been defined by society. For me normal is being who I am and I believe that is what all people ultimately want.