Before and After

| Feb 8, 2021
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At lot of my Facebook friends like to post pre—and post-transition photos, and I always thought I understood the motivation behind it, but for some reason, I have resisted doing that. Then along came the #nowandthenchallenge and suddenly I couldn’t resist.

I presented these two pictures. My friends were amazed, especially those who didn’t know me pre-transition, and frankly, so was I.

Photo from 2000.

I’m not sure of the date of the first photo, but I’m guessing it was somewhere around the year 2000 and was taken in the newsroom of the radio station where I was working at the time as news director. If you think I look miserable in that photo, I am. I’m hiding behind a beard and behind a couple of hundred pounds of excess flesh.

I had struggled with my weight from childhood, but sometime in my thirties, I really began gorging myself in a futile attempt to suppress the emotional pain of being in a body I hated and living a life I hated.

The beard? I wore it for close to thirty years and was one more effort to hide.

Photo from 2021.

The photo on the left was taken on the night of the presidential inauguration. I had been invited to be one of the presenters at an online celebratory event. My daughter did my hair and makeup, and my son-in-law took the photo. I was feeling deep joy that evening, and I felt everything was working that night.

I looked at this photo and see what I see in the selfies of so many transgender women; absolute joy at finally being able to live our authentic lives. Others see it too. I have to admit it was a huge ego boost and validation to see a flood of comments like these:

“Wow, what an amazing transformation to the real you!”

“You look so much more like you now.”

“What an incredible difference.”

“I am so proud to call you a friend. Your courage is inspiring.”

“Oh, my heavens you shine!”

“Healthy and happy, as you should be.”

I got a big smile when one of my trans sisters added the tweet from Juliet Mylan:

“Why do cis people do a #thenandnowchallenge when trans people already won?”

If I needed a cold dose of reality, a reminder that transphobia is still out there, it came just a few days later when I advertised a room to rent in my home on local buy and sell groups. Some brave keyboard warrior had to chime in by deadnaming me and calling me a “lonely transgender.” The comment was deleted within minutes, of course.

But I choose not to focus on the ignorant haters. Every time I feel the slightest twinge of discouragement and doubt, I can look at all these loving, supportive comments and feel a sense of humility and gratitude for all the support I’ve received.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul

Claire H.

About the Author ()

Claire Hall was born and grew up in a large city on the left coast and has spent most of her adult years in a beautiful small coastal community where she's now an elected official in local government after spending many years as a newspaper and radio reporter. In her space time she loves reading, writing fiction (her first novel was published by a regional press a couple of years ago), watching classic Hollywood movies, and walking.

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