All this week, Global news has been airing a series on what it is like to be transgender, specifically, what it is like if you are TS. If you have missed seeing these mini-documentaries, they can still be viewed on the Global webpage as of Friday, April 22. The final(?) item will air tonight at 6:30. They are worth a look. What follows is my own response to the series so far.
Thanks to all the Global news team, and to reporter, Lynn Collier, for this wonderful and deeply moving series. I am transgender, and only recently found the courage to finally step up and be my real self. After fighting it for 50 years…that’s right, 50…I am whole at last. One of my trans friends once remarked, “This being trans is the darndest thing…you fight it and fight it and fight it your whole life. And then it wins.” For me, that has certainly been true.
There are those who say, “There is no choice, and in one sense, that’s true, too. If you’re trans, that’s what you are. We can try to bury it. We can try to deny it. But it’s always there. And the harder we try to keep the secret, the more it dominates our lives, and the more painful it becomes.
But in the end, there is at least one choice that we can make: we can choose to deny who we are, to live a half life until it is no longer bearable. Or we can choose, finally, to embrace who we are, with all the uncertainties that follow.
It is a long and difficult road to travel. Along the way, many of us lose people we hold dear. But too many of us have looked at the alternative; too many of us have lived it. And we know from bitter experience, that road leads us to anguish and despair. (Readers here will know that suicidal thoughts are common among trans folk.)
But how heartening to see these wonderful young people finding their way so soon! And how heartening to see the acceptance, support and love they have found along the way.
After all those years of paralyzing fear, I want to tell people that my experience, so long delayed, has been almost exactly the same. Almost everywhere, I have foundwhat they have found: acceptance, support, and sometimes even from the most surprising of sources: love.
What I am learning, finally, is to confront the fear. Whenever I do, it dissolves like smoke in the wind…it just goes away. Having our stories told so movingly helps make that difficult confrontation just so much easier. Too many of us live our lives closeted away. What this series shows us is that life really is better outside. How wonderful at last, to be able to look up at a clear blue sky.
I hope you get to see it.