Sunday, February 1, 2015

on Transition and Personal Relationships

OK, I must admit it, the photo is excessive. I took it to make a point in 2011...

Being trans is a very difficult thing to work out regardless of age. The usual bi-modal arrangement of society raises certain expectations and some folks enforce them with biblical zeal. Others just worry about what friends and neighbors will think. They may offer excuses, but the core fears are common.

Some think god is against it; others fear rejection from friends and neighbors. While I cannot adequately address personal faith issues as I have little insight other than my readings, I can say that my relationships with others are better than ever.

I have two trans friends who were rejected by their mothers, one told me she attempted suicide and her mother found her in the hospital recovering from the latest attempt before her mother accepted her daughter. Another was rejected by her mother for four years before her tearful mother finally called wanting to meet her again. I am unable to attend my daughter's family events or see our grandson. Fortunately my wife stayed with me.

Did you know that the attempted suicide rate is 40% for pre-op trans people? They find life so unhappy they wish to end it. After surgery and acceptance that falls to a "normal" rate for society as a whole; about 1-2 percent. Others frequently contemplate suicide, but may not put it into action. Nobody knew about my frequent dark thoughts prior to surgery. I have a wonderful surgeon and miss him and his staff dearly. I miss the daily kindness of hotel staff where I stayed in Bangkok. Why?... because they really understood and were so very compassionate in addition to having skills. I will be eternally grateful.

People who are not trans have no idea how difficult it is to have gender dysphoria; we tend to keep it a secret. It is a result of hormonal variations in the womb prior to birth. In my case it may have been influenced by a prescription drug, DES, which was given to prevent miscarriages. DES is a type of estrogen. The FDA has since banned DES.

People have no understanding of the emotional difficulties and even the trans person may not fully understand. Life is much better for me after surgery and I have been very well accepted by my community.  I am generally happier, but family acceptance is not complete; I don't know if it will ever resolve. Why is it that those closest to the trans person have so much difficulty with acceptance?

Now when I go out, I smile and often strangers smile back. There is a lot to learn on a crash course basis in presentation, manners and customs, but it is so worthwhile.

I have posted lots of articles in various blog collections because I needed to understand myself and I want them available to anyone who might be interested. If you  know a trans person, be nice as you  have no idea what they might be going through.

To attain surgery, a trans person needs a letter from a psychiatrist, but often the psych may have less knowledge of this specialized area than the "patient". The Standards of Care are "evolving" and now emphasise understanding and coping with societal difficulties.

Transition and surgery are done out of desperation, a last resort, when one is ready to risk all to be themselves. Medical Science is learning more of the causes of Gender Dysphoria and no doubt more will be learned. However, at this point, enough is known to cast it in the class of other variations of birth and thus it really should be included with other health insurance conditions.

I have been very public with the goal of general public education, but even more important, provide a source of links to other sites that helped me understand my situation. I hope others will find these articles helpful--you are not alone, but many are not revealing their dysphoria. Incidentally  recently psychiatry has decided that this is NOT a mental condition. I would classify it with birth variations.

Best wishes to all,
Billie Rene