Two years ago today, we met with the great Dr. Sherman Leis in Philadelphia to walk us through the major life-changing surgeries that were about to commence. We also met some other pre-and post-op patients staying there, one of whom is a friend to this day. A lifetime of existing as an imposter, an impersonator, was about to be over for E. It was scary but liberating, worth the very real risks. A lie was about to die, and the genuine person could be released to live at last.
Some people can never realize this dream, due to the unimaginable costs, both financial and social. It’s not a choice, preference, or orientation. You risk losing everyone and thing in your life. No one would choose to live this way or wish it upon anyone. It’s a medical, neurological condition that occurs during pregnancy. The lucky few are born to open-minded parents who recognize the condition, get informed, and address it early on, ideally pre-puberty, before permanent gender changes set in. After that, it’s much more difficult, and the emotional and psychological damage of living a lie in a phobic world can be devastating.
I won’t lie, post-op is not a perfect fix, because we live in an imperfect world. At this moment in history, the US seems to be regressing back to Crusades and Inquisition times. Almost no one is safe or secure. It’s not a conducive atmosphere for an older, at-risk community to live an inconspicuous, peaceable life in an increasingly willfully ignorant country. It will get worse before it gets better.
It’s been a long, strange trip, but one thing is certain–there are no regrets about transitioning. The struggle to fit in and be accepted isn’t over yet; it’s an ongoing process, but the worst is over. We can’t change the world much, just live as best we can, and mentor where possible. If we can even make a small dent, it’s something.