Trans Trauma

| Jun 29, 2020
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I recently had an epiphany and would be interested if anyone else has experienced this trauma (my guess is yes) caused by being forced or choosing to live a lie.

Twenty-five months ago I negotiated a successful transition. I had a great support team, which included two friends who had previously transitioned, and a great gender therapist. She helped me work through all the issues surrounding my journey.

When I went public on June 2, 2018, I received a reception beyond my wildest dreams. I’m a cheerful optimist by nature, but as I look back in my journal of those months before transition, I see a common thing there: I was sure that I was going to be ridiculed and ostracized. But I kept telling myself that this was what I had to do to have a chance at peace of mind in the years ahead.

I made a huge mistake by thinking I was done working on myself. Not by a long shot.

Because I’m a county commissioner in a place where we don’t have a county manager, the other commissioners and I have a role that many commissioners don’t have. In normal times, this is demanding, but workable.

Then, three months ago, COVID-19 exploded. I’m involved in helping to make difficult, some really challenging, decisions. Most of these choices make half the county happy and the other half angry. But we didn’t put our foot in it until we adopted a countywide COVID directive (strongly worded but with no enforcement teeth) and an accompanying policy in our Courthouse saying that masks must be worn indoors. There were exceptions for people whose health didn’t permit them to wear a face covering, for people with physical disabilities, and for people of color.

That last provision was recommended by our Health Director and our insurance carrier. It made sense to all three of us, so we adopted it.

Sadly, this was picked up by a couple of national outlets and then went viral. Within a days we were trending on Twitter for the first time in history. Even Donald Trump Jr. tweeted about it.

We were quickly flooded with angry phone calls and profane, vulgar and threatening emails. However, I have been targeted for a couple of reasons. I’m the most visible in state media (I was a radio news director for 15 years) and because I’m transgender. A transphobic meme about me started spreading like a fungus. Some of the comments are truly horrifying.

I found out that this really hit me hard. I have grown some very thick skin, but this hurt. I realized I was hurting for many reasons, including that they had also pulled photos for my former self and passed them around as well. Reluctantly, I deleted all those photos. I always swore I would not do that; I wanted my transition to be a beacon of hope for people considering transition. The shower of hatred I received will be one more reason not to come out.

I will bounce back from this. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.

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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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