Is Social Media Helpful?

| Aug 26, 2019
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For those of you who are transgender: Do you find social media to be helpful in your journey?

In my case, the answer is a resounding yes. When I decided to transition in late 2017, I knew exactly two transgender people. Not a lot, but then it’s two more than Caitlyn Jenner knew when her journey began.

In the few months before I went public as Claire, I found out about a trans support group about fifty miles from my home, I was welcomed there with open arms, even though I was thirty to forty years older than most of those (it’s a university town). That was the beginning of the growth of my new extended family.

Several members of that group and I connected on Facebook. Then, when I went public with my transition, there was some media attention because I am an elected official in local government, and I picked up a few dozen more friends who happen to be transgender.

Then the explosion came. It was touched off, I believe, by action three thousand miles away from my home on the Oregon coast.

It was late October when the word leaked from the Executive Branch that they were going to pursue a policy of only recognizing biological gender at birth.

All of a sudden, I started getting friend requests from people I didn’t know, but with whom I shared a handful of mutual friends. I checked the profiles–all transgender, the vast majority of them women. Then the handful became dozens, and now it is hundreds. I actually find myself getting close to the Facebook ceiling of 5,000 friends, something an introvert like me could have never imagined a couple of years ago.

Witnessing and sharing the journeys of so many other transgender people has been both joyous and heart-wrenching. I see so many people who are afraid to come out to anyone but their Facebook friends; who are out and have been abandoned by family and friends; who struggle with crippling gender dysphoria. Many are openly battling suicidal urges.

But there’s the other side of the story. An amazing number of people who have found joy and fulfillment in their own roles. I look at some of these women and cheer from afar. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever achieve the milestones they have.

Then I sit back and remember, it’s not a competition. This really is about the journey, not the destination, and each of us has their own path. It is nice, though, to know so many souls are on similar paths.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion

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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