As an older trans woman, who fought with herself for decades before finally being able to throw off the internalized transphobia and even misogyny that frightened me from embracing myself, there are consequences to having waited so long to transition.
I now know there will never be a happily ever after.
I now know I will never be a bride.
I now know my humanity will be forgotten, indeed already have been forgotten, by those I loved.
I now know that I will always be seen as a monster by people who once mattered to me.
I now know that I have to fear feminists as much as misogynists.
I now know that I have to worry about “trans panic” brutality and even murder, in addition to everything else women worry about it.
I now know that no matter what I do, I will never be “good enough” for some people.
I now know that 99% of men out there view me as a “fuck toy” and not a human being.
I now know that lesbians see me as some sort of abomination to be hated.
I now know that the religious right uses me as a scapegoat to induce fear and loathing in ignorant voters.
I now know that my service to my country did not matter, because of who I am.
I now know that the “land of the free” does not include me or those like me.
This is pretty disheartening, isn’t it? But it’s my reality. I know these things and have come to accept them. But do you know what else I know?
I now know there are some people whose hearts are large enough to include people like me.
I now know there are people who would and did stand by me through the hardest moments of my life.
I now know there are some people who will fight for my rights, even if we’re losing that battle.
I now know that the American church lies, constantly, to maintain the fear and loathing of its members against anyone not like them.
I now know that religion is a lie, and that I am no different, fundamentally from anyone else around me. We are all made of star stuff, after all.
I now know there are new people to love and be loved by and that those who abandoned me can be seen as just a bad memory, a lesson in exactly how not to behave.
I now know there are people willing to stand up against the brutal notion of “trans panic”, to argue against it, and who value my life as a human being.
I now know that ideas can be bigger than the societies that spawn those ideas, and while many still see diversity and equality for all as a threat, that others can and do see it as a desirable goal, even if we never reach it in my lifetime.
I now know peace with who I am, something I never had before.
Finally, I now know that I would rather be who I am in this life and where I am in this life than who I was and where I was before.
In closing, let me leave you with these thoughts.
“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
“Risk something or forever sit with your dreams.” – Herb Brooks
“Life is a lot like jazz, it’s best when you improvise.” – George Gershwin
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” – Maya Angelou
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Gustav Jung
And on that note, I hope that every one of my friends can find the peace, strength, and commitment to follow their own dreams, live their own lives, and become whom they wish to become.