Full Membership

| Dec 7, 2015
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Cate O'Malley

Cate O’Malley

You may be asking yourself, “What is she going on about now, Full Membership?” Over the past few weeks, I’ve had some wonderful conversations and correspondence with my trans* friends. We’ve talked about transitioning, how much and how little and where we are all going with this. These are wonderful, confident and fearless people. Some are just beginning their journey after years of suppressing and hiding from their emotions and true identities. Some have decided that they will never go any farther and are happy. Finally, there are those who have decided they will remain in the closet or in stealth-mode the rest of their lives. This is, to me, the most difficult decision any one of us can make. This got me thinking about the trans* community and where we all fit in it. It distilled down to, “Do we all feel like we have full membership in the trans* community?”

Life along the continuum

Every person is somewhere on the continuum running from “I am one thousand percent cisgender and I don’t think for a second otherwise” to “I don’t know who I’ll be in the next minute because I’m totally fluid.” If you’ve had gender affirmation surgery, you are a member of the trans* community. If you are a young child and you tell your mother or father for the first time you don’t want to be a girl anymore, you are a member, too. To me, there is no difference as to their membership in the trans* community. No one is more trans* then me, or you, or the young trans youth wondering why they have to play with dolls and not trucks.

No one is superior to the next person

I hear of and have experienced trans-on-trans discrimination. It was shocking, demeaning and insulting. We all know anxiety, fear and self-loathing. We all know how much it takes to hide our true selves and we all understand the feelings we have will never, ever go away. How one of us who understands all these same feelings can belittle or marginalize someone else who also understands and is going through the same things just amazes and saddens me. I’m not better than anyone and neither are you, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Reach out

When I was hiding and then in stealth mode, I was lonely, sad and depressed. I ached for human contact with someone who understood what I was feeling. I hear from many who are in the place I was. I wish more and more of our sisters and brothers would reach out to us for contact, friendship and conversation. The first time someone answered me, I was in seventh heaven. Since then I’ve grown and become the person I always wanted to be in a big part from those who communicated with me in the beginning. That first contact has also turned into one of my dearest and best friends ever.

We need all of us

Our community needs all of us, regardless of how you identify yourself or you designate yourself. All of us are belong here, no exceptions. If you have yet to make contact, reach out. If you see a message or a query from someone who is just beginning their journey, respond, reach out and share yourself and your story. Let that person know they are not alone out there and that we really do care about them. Someone did it for us. Now it’s our turn to help someone else. Our community is strong enough and compassionate enough to include all.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion, Transgender Politics


About the Author ()

I am Cate, a mature transgender woman. I am a writer, blogger, parent, grandparent, sailor, activist and happy. I am a widow, and live with my yorkiepoo, Belle. I love music, reading, cooking, outdoors, DIY, theater, antiquing and flea markets, home brewing, and seeing what is around the bend in the road or over the horizon. I own the MatureTransgender.com website. It is an outreach, support and resource for mature trans* people and especially for those who, like me, came out after fifty.

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