On the transgender polyamorous mystique

You might look at my life with some envy. It’s not uncommon to see me getting kisses from several people in a group, or find us all cuddling together and being cute. I can’t deny the appeal of it.

The truth of it is harder. It wasn’t all that long ago that trans people were pushed to simply disappear from their old lives, then start a new live as a new person after completing a transition. In addition to being problematic, this narrative was inaccessible to those who couldn’t muster what they needed to leave a job, uproot oneself and start fresh.

Instead, we now transition by coming out to employers and coworkers; to parents and siblings; to the families we’ve built for ourselves; and to our friends. Most of us will lose some subset of those people. In the other worst cases one may lose everyone. So, we build unconventional support structures. We hold each other up because in some cases, we are all each other has.

Finding, and being, that support is important. But make no mistake: what you get may well not replace what you lost. Where you built yourself a family before, you might well now be moving amongst several people, or alone, on any given day. The home you had before may well be lost, leaving a refuge — physical or emotional — out of reach. And even if you manage to replace what lost, it’s a chore to keep it together.

Without a doubt, the relationships you might build with several people have a place. Transition is often a sharp divide from the life you had before, and with it comes a new set of life experiences. Dating in a context where you feel desired is so many times an alien experience upon transition. And so, some of the life we build is often making up for lost time. But at the same time, it feels as though it provides a shield against something deeper existing.

Being exemplary is similarly no relief. The platitudes may be piled at your feet, but when in the end there is always someone more important than you, other people to spend time with, an alternate family structure to get frozen out of, it will be evident that the hard reality of trying to be someone you aren’t has been at best supplanted by the hard reality of being alone except when you can muster the effort to fill the holes.

It’s important to celebrate and enjoy the love you can. The world you face is hard enough. But it’s important to understand the reality of the life you seek, and that it will likely be a new, different sort of difficult path.