I guess we could ask first how we define home, but then it feels like we’re doing one of those things where we sit in a circle and try to answer a question with the answer we think will most impress others. We won’t be doing that.
What I mean by “home” here is reaching a place in your life where you feel safe, secure, and reasonably comfortable. Where do you feel at home? It could be surrounded by friends and family, it could be a place, or maybe you haven’t even found your home yet. Most on this site are seekers of one kind or another. Some have decided on what the right path for them is, at least as far as gender identity, which is what connects us all here on the site. Others are struggling to find their way, trying to figure out what is the best course for them to follow, or even struggling with how they see themselves in connection to their gender identity.
It isn’t important to make a definitive decision right now. That is a tremendous amount of pressure to put on yourself, to feel you MUST decide as soon as possible who you are and how you define yourself.
This sort of pressure, combined with the way people in our lives, and in society as a whole, react and respond to who we are. Our members struggle with many difficult crossings in their lives. Stories about coming out, dressing publicly for the first time, relationship struggles, and facing rejection are often submitted. They paint a picture of both our struggles and our triumphs, but what happens when the struggle never seems to end and the triumphs do not come?
Crossdresser Heaven and Transgender Heaven exist so that all those across the gender spectrum who make up our membership can be supportive of one another, and through that form new friendships that help us feel more positive about ourselves. For those who are feeling isolated with a “dark secret” they cannot share, or those of us who remember the feeling that comes with that, having folks we can talk openly with who embrace and accept that part of us is a hugely positive step in the right direction. The right direction is one where you feel more positive and accepting of yourself.
We are, however, limited in what we can offer in terms of support and advice. We are not professional counselors, doctors, lawyers, or crisis workers. We try to do what we can here, but there are times when the ambassadors here will ask you to contact someone outside of the site for help with what you are dealing with.
This is not because we don’t want to help, it is because we are do not have the training or skills necessary to help with life’s most difficult situations. I personally recommend that anyone who is dealing with gender identity issues that create stress and conflict with others in their lives talk with a therapist who is trained in gender issues. Those who are struggling with depression and suicidal ideation, we recommend call the Trans Lifeline and speak with someone who is professionally trained and who identifies as transgender. If you are worried about being judged or mocked by a crisis worker, your mind could be put at ease knowing you are talking to someone who gets it.
If you, or someone you know or interact with on the site, appears to be going through a crisis situation in their life, here are some resources that could help, or at least they could be a starting point:
That last link can help put friends, family, and allies in touch with support groups.
A crisis can be anything which causes a person great stress and concern, and there are a great deal of resources out there to help you and those you love in times of need.
Crossdresser Heaven and Transgender Heaven provide support in the form of a community. The individuals in our community do what we can for each other, but sometimes you need something more. Someone to talk to in the form of a therapist can be a great help in sorting out conflicting thoughts and emotions and to help you find your way to sunnier skies. Here is a tool I recommend when looking for a therapist:
You can search in your local area and change search terms to what you are most looking for. You’ll probably want to see if they are accepting of transgender or gender expansive clients, not only to know if they are going to be cool with you but so you know they actually have experience with transgender patients. Most will respond to emails and you can ask them, anonymously if you like, about your situation. See how they respond and if their response is something that you are comfortable with. Seeing a therapist you aren’t comfortable talking to is pointless. Keep trying them on like shoes. We think nothing of trying on different pairs of shoes until we find a pair that fits and that looks the way we want. Therapists expect you to shop around.
Support groups that meet in person can also be helpful, and a Google search of transgender groups in your area can sometimes turn up surprising results. I’ve found some vibrant groups in unexpected locations. It can blow your mind when you find out there is a “Transgender Cattle Rustlers of Western Oklahoma” group that meets every third Thursday. There are simply too many to list, and you do need to make sure they are legit and not four teenagers waiting in an alley wanting to tie you up and read Thomas Pynchon to you.
No organization or website is capable of delivering on all your wants and needs. If you find one, run away. It is a trap and Admiral Ackbar is dead. Our support comes in the form of community and helping each other get to higher ground one step at a time. We want you to live a happy and meaningful life where you feel safe, secure, and comfortable in the environment around you, and that includes the people. No one needs to suffer through their entire life and bear the burdens alone.
Don’t be afraid to look for help when you need it. There is no shame in that. It is something to be proud of, admitting you need the help of others and that life is just too dire to live it alone and unloved. You deserve to be loved, and you deserve to be able to wake up in the morning feeling the day could have wonderful possibilities instead of waking up dreading surviving through the new day.
Take care of yourselves. All your stories matter.