I was at group tonight, and during check-in a few people mentioned that they had recently started or will start hormones soon. If you’ve ever been to a gender group before, you can probably predict the reaction from the rest of the room – applause or words of congratulations.
This particular response also plays out for orchiectomy, SRS|GCS, starting full-time, FFS, or any of the other landmarks that one may encounter on transition. You can also see this group behavior play out on Twitter if you look for it. Celebrating the major events of transition is important, and public acknowledgement of them can be a huge emotional boost for some. I know I’ve really appreciated the support of the room when sharing good news or my landmarks visited.
But if you’re someone who is still in the closet or just beginning to explore your gender and contemplating a transition, I caution you not to let the applause or shared congratulations directed at others seductively lull you into thinking that those are things you have to do for your transition.
I believe that transition is about yourself and what you do to find a place of peace with your gender expression, and that it is not about what other people think you should do or what order they think you should do those things in.
As much as the gender community has changed over the past decade, there are still tacit and overt dynamics that reinforce the gender pecking order and “transition progression” of cross dressers –> those on hormones –> those living full-time –> those that have had SRS|GCS, in ascending caste.
I caution you to watch out for these dynamics and apply your own dialectic.
For every step along my transition, I try and ask myself, “Am I doing this for me, or am I doing this because it’s just ‘what is done by everyone else’?” and, “Am I trying to fit into my expectations for my life, or someone else’s?” and, “Is this me or what I want other people to think of me?” This applies to the mundane and the profound. From evaluating every piece of clothing and jewelry I buy to starting hormones.
In my opinion, owning and making your transition yours is about being honest with yourself and sticking by your own side to follow your chosen path, and not letting how others have transitioned or are transitioning influence your transition without due consideration and conscious choice.
But don’t listen to me, listen to yourself. 😉