If I get into any sense of a deep conversation with people who have accepted me as transgender, the overwhelming opinion from them is that they don’t care what choice I make. It doesn’t affect their life. And if living my life as a girl makes me happy, why not? Now, I understand this sampling of opinions from my friends and people I tend to interact with is purely anecdotal. But, It’s nice to see a larger part of society move to what I see as a more libertarian (small L) point of view. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean just because they accept me, that they get it.
Most friends have been wonderfully supportive. When I make the jump to full time, they say they will completely support my choice. My wording here is completely intentional. My choice. While this is a wonderful step forward in transgender rights, it doesn’t necessarily mean society as a whole understands what I and other trans people like me are going through. I don’t want to speak for my friends. And now that I’ve thought about it, I’ll ask them if their support of me is in some way a selfish thing. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean that my transition really doesn’t affect their life. And I don’t want to sound like my friends don’t want me to be happy. I’m sure that’s a large part of it.
I think there’s still a disconnect between people’s acceptance and an actual understanding. And I’m not sure how much of that chasm can be broached in the near future. I always find it refreshing when friends ask me questions about transgender topics. I realize it took me a long time to come to understand it. And so, when a friend is open minded enough to want more information, who am I too say no? The human brain is very complex. Scientists are just beginning to identify which parts of the human brain might be responsible and might not have correctly developed.
Hormones are another point of misunderstanding. When I talk with friends about my experience on hormones, they tend to understand what the hormones are doing to me physically. But, they seem surprised by the mental changes. Testosterone and estrogen are very powerful chemicals. To say they don’t have an influence on the brain would be wrong. I’ve experienced several mental changes that are most likely due to the influence on hormones. For instance, I’m more likely to express how I feel. My feelings are more up front and I’m more vulnerable to their influence. Before I started hormone therapy, I would say I was asexual. Now, that estrogen has had it’s time to work on me, I’m starting to recognize that I’m attracted to men more. I’m also a little more passive now. It’s very subtle. But, I’m finding myself more likely to be comfortable not pushing my self forward. If I want to be assertive, I really have to consciously think about it.
Given this lack of understanding of transgenderism, it’s really remarkable that so many people accept me and others. Several years ago, a friend told me “People are too busy with their own lives to care what you do with yours.” I’ve since heard that same thing from others. Perhaps their right.