Why Wait?

| Apr 8, 2019
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I’ve tried to openly share all kinds of things about my journey. As more time progresses, I see more of my answers changing and evolving.

Consider the question: why did I wait? Why did I wait until I was fifty-eight years old to throw off decades of secrecy and shame and finally become my authentic self?

I had several answers at the ready for that one. Fear of parental and societal disapproval. Lack of financial resources. Fear of not being able to transform this genetically male body into an acceptable facsimile of a female. All legitimate, and in my case, true issues.

But in recent months, another insight has come to me. Another big thing that held me back was the lack of a visible trans community and trans identity also held me back.

In the ancient days of the 1970s, when I was a teen, there were a few well-know transgender people, including the British writer Jan Morris and the tennis player Renee Richards. It was good to know other trans people existed, but I felt no sense of direct connection to them. Most transgender people had the ultimate goal of fully passing in their new gender identity, and to use a popular term at the time, “going stealth.” In order to accomplish this, many trans people left their jobs, homes, families and friends behind.

At the time of my decision to transition, I only knew three trans people, but that made a huge difference. In the months since, I have made dozens of trans friends in person and hundreds online. Having their advice, counsel and emotional support has made a huge positive difference in my journey.

When I peer back in the misty haze of memory at the 1970s, that great era of disco and leisure suits, I realize in hindsight I saw the importance of the gay community. It was horribly difficult to be gay then, and for many it’s still a rocky path, but at least at that point, people had a true community of friends and allies who were walking the same challenging and lonely path.

There were also spaces that were gay-friendly and gay safe—though as more bars and clubs close, some mourn their passing, but others take it as a sign that being lesbian or gay is a facet of a person’s identity but doesn’t define who they are—it’s merely one piece of the complex organism that any human being represents.

Still, having lived to see the evolution from going stealth to the Transgender Pride movement has been amazing to me, and it’s been tremendously empowering.

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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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