Susan Stanton's story is typical of many of us in the Transgender community. I have seen it many times including personally experiencing it.
Many of us know we are different from an early age. We struggle with this throughout our lives until it became too much for us to bear. We are willing to sacrifice everything we have in order to live our authentic lives. Susan's Plan "A" - stay the same and die a slow death; Plan "B" - transition to her appropriate gender identity and live an authentic life; and Plan "C" - suicide are common to all living a "closeted", agonizing life.
Unfortunately, another commonality is that there is a rush to transition. Many of us are trying to make up for lost time and relieve the deep-seated pain called Gender Dysphoria.
Everyone's journey is different and everyone moves at their own pace but if this pace is too fast, the results can be devastating. A person in transition goes through a second adolescence. At times, all patience is thrown to the wind and everything must happen immediately. The adage "in order to gain your authentic self as a (fill in the blank or in this case) Transgender person, one must be willing and prepared to lose everything" applies. The pace and timing of this journey can sometimes increase the amount of what one might lose, i.e. Family, friends, wives, children, jobs and homes.
The best advice I can offer is to take your time with your transition if at all possible. It is the most important thing you will ever do in your life. Work with a qualified gender therapist. Take baby steps. Give your loved ones time to wrap their arms around being Transgender. After all, how long did it take you - ten, twenty, thirty years? Give others the same chance.
Surround yourself with like-minded, positive thinking people. There are many Transgender peer support groups. One can find support and make friends by joining a Transgender advocacy group. Make friends and cherish them. They will support you through transition. If they are true friends, they will not be judgmental. If you have trouble finding a Transgender peer support group, leave a comment on this post and I will help you find one.
Find a qualified gender specialist / therapist. If you have already bonded with a therapist, ensure you teach them everything you can about Transgender. In most cases, the issues one has are not entirely related to Gender Identity Disorder. As a matter of fact, transition is not a panacea for all of the issues in your life.
Finally, be kind to yourself. It takes great courage to accept your self as a beautiful Transgender person. Ensure you congratulate yourself and celebrate each baby step you take. No one will do it for you.
Following is a New York Times critique of "Her Name Was Steven".
NEIL GENZLINGERORIGINAL ARTICLE
Monday, March 15, 2010
Posted by De Sube at 3/15/2010 02:01:00 PM