Ok, so tomorrow is definitely the day I go to my doctor. I’m excited, nervous and also freaking out. My anxiety is off the chart right now. I know it’s what I want and therefore what I need to do, but stepping into the unknown is always scary. As I was taught in therapy: the more I do it, the more it becomes…ok, and normal. Problem is, a part of me struggles to feel normal. I’ve always struggled. Realising who I am doesn’t really change that struggle. I think a lot of my struggle is still forced on me by society.
When you think about it, society dominates your life. It dictates how you should be, based on its unwritten rules. How you respond is up to you. Most people follow its rules without hesitation. Go against them, and you will get singled out. Sometimes it’s a good thing. Some fashion designers or musicians, for example, push the boundaries and challenge our perceptions of society. This in turn paves the way for others to follow and for the next generation or genre. Things then become acceptable. It’s evolution of society and it’s all good when it’s well-received. Now to the ugly part: what happens when it’s not well-received. Quite simply, it causes hate, prejudice and problems. I’ve spent my life hiding or pretending because of how society perceives transgender people. It’s much better today than it was a few years ago, but there’s still plenty to do and it still causes denial. Raising awareness helps. It helps educate people – after all, we fear what we don’t understand. Being totally honest, I feared myself too. Based on who and how society said I should be, I actually hated myself. I saw myself as a freak of nature. Although I’m starting to now accept myself, there are still those out there who look at gender dysphoria as disgusting or wrong. From violence to assaults to discrimination, society hasn’t yet caught up with what it is to be transgender.
In the past, I avoided looking into this as I was so scared to learn the truth about myself. But now, things are different. Whilst doing research, in preparation for tomorrow, I discovered for the first time that gender dysphoria has a cause. Though it’s not confirmed, studies have suggested it’s caused by a hormonal issue during the development of a baby, whilst still in the womb. It’s a recognised medical condition and, more importantly, it’s not a mental illness. I was so relieved. Some sort of answer. An explanation for why I am the way I am. Now if only everyone else could understand this too, that’d be great.
“…this is not your fault you didn’t ask for this – you are doing nothing wrong by being you”
Sinead La Bella, Courtesans
Although I am now taking small steps to accepting myself, I cannot change how society sees me. I can only be myself and play my part. There are those who support me, regardless of whether I know them or not, and there are those who will judge or hate me. My struggle is allowing the latter to interfere with my life. Earlier today, a woman looked at me as she walked past. Fine. I’m used to that. However she chose to look me up and down and mutter “oh dear” at me as she walked past, making sure I could hear. She must have been about 50-55 years old? She seemed completely up herself too. I’m going to encounter who disagree with what I’m doing or won’t support me, that’s ok. I get that. Going against society to be who I am is risky and scary but that’s the only way I can be me – the only way I can ever be happy. Seeing the doctor tomorrow is only the first step. An important step, but still only the first. The rest of the journey will be difficult, I don’t doubt that. I just hope I can stay focused and not let society tell me what to do.
Will anything stop me from going ahead with tomorrow? No, not at all.
Featured image: via Google