Dear Natasha, I support you. There are many women whom I admire who are out. Janet Mock, Nicole Maines, Jazz Jennings, and Lana Wachowski jump to mind. If a person feels her truth is living “out” then she should.
By the same token, like Allison, I have chosen a closed narrative in my day-to-day life. I do feel I want to give back for I have been extremely fortunate — lucky actually — in my transition and have been living a woman’s life for 40+ years with admittedly some rough spots which all lives have. When I was four I said I was a girl. If this had all happened in 2017, I might have had access to blockers and I might have been socialized female — but with my parents who were Victorian era people, fat chance.
Any abnormality was introduced once I protested my gender and was thwarted in my pursuit. It wasn’t anything I did. It was what was done to me. That was the abnormality — a girl being raised in the wrong body as a boy at the insistence of the parents.
Years ago I focused on helping adults who were deciding to transition in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60+.
- Apart from the raw medical logistics one of the biggest hurdles for older transitioners was all the baggage both physical and social that people have who transition well past after first puberty. A lot has to do with the disfigurement these people have as a result of not receiving blockers.
- People who transitioned later, while presenting as male, often had married women and had children. This complicated their lives enormously and living a closed narrative could be almost impossible in all too many cases.
- Trans people are often ridiculed for not getting it quite right and are laughable as the transitioner as an adult haplessly navigates a second puberty and struggles to fold into society with flawed and still re-forming social skills. The TERF and others have a field day with this one.
All three of these points arise out of being raised abnormally. Thus I am trying to raise awareness among parents and caregivers of gender variant kids and to urge the parents to seriously consider taking such a child to a specialist for evaluation. In short, I am bearing witness as an adult survivor of early onset gender dysphoria. Maybe as they say, 80% of the kids who don’t transition become gender variant in other ways, but the 20% who persist in asserting that their birth gender was wrongly assigned need the voice of someone who had to deal with the aftermath of being raised in the wrong gender. It is important for parents to pause and consider, “what if my child is right?” So many parents are so busy duking it out with the kids that they never stop and ask themselves why are they (the parents) so right in their assertion? For the 80% who desist in transitioning, there are many run-off points, but for the 20% there are no runoff points, only gatekeepers.
Thus, if there is anything abnormal about us, it is that we had abnormal upbringings.
Does that make the 20% any less the gender they are because they have been mistreated? Maybe the mistreatment does define survivors of early onset gender dysphoria, but to be normal means to break with the program all the boys are going through, and get into line with the other girls and get raised right.
I would write an entire book on the steps I went through to backfill the missing 20+years prior to full-on transition.
I realize I might sound like I am going far and away from concept of being out. Obviously I am trying to reframe the question. Who was “abnormal?” Me or my parents who tried to raise a girl as a boy? And with my somewhat light baggage — no kids and transitioning pretty much right after college there was less explaining. I even missed serving in Vietnam so there was no horror of that to haunt me.
Ever see the Amazon video series, Transparent? In season two, episode nine, Man on the Land we are presented with a women’s (music) festival and from my experience though all the activities were compressed into one program, I feel they accurately covered the waterfront. At the time I attended similar gatherings I was a “stealth” trans lesbian and to my knowledge I was not clocked — far from it. And yes there were TERFs, but they were vocal and easy to spot, but toward the end of the episode the scene shifts to Germany and goes into the backstory of the family. There was a trans aunt, Gittel, who lived openly back in Germany in the 1930s. Gittle, played by fashion model Hari Nef, even had a pass from the government guaranteeing her safety — that is until the night a band of young Nazi men descend on the place where the gender variant people have gathered to celebrate. It is wrenching. It is cautionary. It can’t happen here, right, but a band of hoons does not necessarily have to be government affiliated to cause great harm and the defense of “but I told them who I am up front” does not wash.
Fortunately for me, I had my own “Vicki,” a young and hot women’s movement personality, and we did our own version of “get in” which is how episode nine closes.
“After all you went through and what it cost, you owe no explanations to anyone,” is what she said.
I continue to live by “Vicki’s” advice.
Mileage may vary.