The Trans Rollercoaster


Last week I was checking through my RSS feed of blogs and checked to see what the good folk over at T-Central had been up to. If you’ve not been over, the site is worth checking out. They not only keep a long list of trans blogs, but they also do a feature post. Usually, posting a link to a trans blog article that’s a thought provoking read. They also link to those who’ve just been babbling away to themselves (here and here). 😉

Anyhoo, on Saturday, I spotted a link to a post called the Slippery Slope, which was written by Nadine. It’s not the first time I’ve heard those words. Not from the My Husband Betty books, but from my own dear, Ever Lovely Mrs J. In fairness, it was a long time ago and during my…. not sure what to call this. I’ll go with experimentation phase. That time when you’re sort of out, at least to your partner, and you’re finding your feet. Oh, a slow hand clap for anyone who says, try looking down your legs. 🙂 I’d run out of nail varnish remover and came home with red nails. A quick clean up and I was fine, although I did make the bathroom bin whiff of chemicals. Naturally, Mrs J was curious and then felt that it was all escalating. Which, given that I didn’t wear nail varnish when going out before, can’t be denied. That’s not to say her (righteous) missive didn’t sting. Sometimes, the truth hurts.

So, how do those two wee facts interlink? Well, I’m glad you asked. There is, I believe, the phenomenon of the trans shooting star. See how it reaches into the sky leaving a blaze of fabulous sparkles and carefree behaviour. Nothing can touch it…. except the gradual and unrepentant gravity of reality, or the heavy handed slap of guilt. We’ve all been there, or know someone who has. There’s no shame in it. We – trans folk – get a whiff of freedom and we’re gone…. hence the graph (below).

Joe’s our stereotypical transgender person, we’ll go with male by birth, because I don’t what it may be like for our trans-men cousins. Joe starts off in life and slowly, the trans pressure builds up. He either can’t take it any more, or he’s careless; it doesn’t matter, He’s coming out and down the mood drain he goes. Joe may question who he is, and maybe his partner is questioning Joe on who he is too. Maybe positively, or maybe not: every journey is different.

Slowly Joe starts to get his head around things. He begins to be more open, maybe drop his guard. Those who’ve been through this, maybe begin to hear the gentle calls from Mission Control: We are go for launch. Joe’s launch into the trans world is underway. Off he soars to the nearest shopping area, or Internet site. Plain paper packages arrive in the post. Credit cards start to get a little warm and he’s pushing at boundaries neither partner knew they had. Off he goes, sky high looking fabulous and without a care in the world. All is fine in the high T-Orbit. Nothing can touch him…..

Except, the real world. Joe cannot live in a bubble. He has to come down for air and that high orbit high over the world, sure, there are other passing stars, but he’s left some people behind. He begins to lose height and that re-entry burns him. He’s gone so high, so far and yet…. he’s still him. He’s still Joe with this new world and his old one to balance.

Will Joe hit the icy waters on his own, or will his crash be lessened by his friends & family? Who can say. That’s up to Joe. Maybe he’ll share with his partner and find he doesn’t need to be fully off planet, to have escape. Maybe he’s happy with a few times a year, once a month, or just a weekend. It’s not our call, it’s Joe’s.

Over time, Joe will learn some home truths. Maybe he won’t like some of them, maybe he’ll give up for a bit and lay low. That interstellar flight wiped him out. Slowly, but surely, he’ll feel T-Call and he’ll start again. Not at the blistering white-knuckle speed of last time, but a gentle pace. He’s tasted freedom and he’s felt pain. Maybe Joe’s learned enough to balance both. Maybe he’s learned acceptance and maybe he’s lucky enough to have a partner who loves him – all aspects of him. Let’s hope he has. No more boom and bust, or worse: doom and dust.

Let’s hope that Joe can look back. Realise that what’s happened has happened and where possible, learn a little. Learn to be okay with who he is and who he sometimes likes to be.

Take care,


  1. Lynn, you beat me to it. I had an idea of of charting the different stages of Susie's first three months since coming out and starting a blog: from depression and desperation (reaching out) to anxiety (will anyone like me?), elation (first response and contact – from you, in fact), depression again (forced back in the box), then reflection and acceptance and leading finally, hopefully, to resolution. Still astonished it's all happened so quickly,

    Joe's roller coaster mood chart follows a typical profile for badly-tuned feedback control systems: an initial overshoot followed by a corresponding over-correction, then a series of gradually less severe oscillations before finding a stable level.

    1. Ah, sorry! Don't let the fact that it's voiced here, stop you. Is certainly inspired by Nadine's post and the Trans Shooting Star phrase, may have been from Jo Nichols (of Angel's fame), or Tania, a friend of mine.

      The fictional rollercoaster ride above, may be more interesting if you personalise it. Sure it may railroad your thinking into good, great, bad, and okay; but that's not unusual for folk to think in boxes. Maybe you won't have the same pattern.

      I mean, I came out to the Ever Lovely Mrs J, in the very late 90s. We're still on a journey together: not just life as a family, but also another story around how we approach me being trans-something-or-other. I don't think it matters what the plot is, it's the characters that make it new 🙂

      Glad to read you're finding stability and thanks for the comment about wild oscillation. Maybe we, trans people, need to retune before launch. 🙂

    2. That post of Nadine's was very thought-provoking and jibed with a lot of what I was feeling. I've not come across the 'Trans Shooting Star' phrase before, but I can see where it's coming from.
      There is a potential danger, and I commented on this somewhere, that between the emotional roller coaster of those massive mood swings and spending a a disproportionate of time reading and interacting with trans blogs, of being edged into directions and actions you might not be ready for – like coming out to friends and family, or seeking hormone therapy. I'm not saying you shouldn't do either, but perhaps not when you are still feeling confused and bouncing between emotional extremes.

      I may still make that post. For me, blogging is largely about taking part in an ongoing group conversation, with T-Central playing a hugely important role in introducing people to each other.
      As you say, every person's pattern is likely to be different, but probably instantly recognizable to others.

    3. Yes, the edging – so to speak – can be seductive. Losing yourself in a made-up world (no pun intended) can't be good. But, maybe it is useful to examine all that could be and be able to dismiss what's not right for you. I don't know, I'm a simple creature at heart and I only have some answers for the questions I've asked myself.

      I remember reading a line in a trans magazine (The Tr*nny Guide, of all things. Hell, I was young. The Internet wasn't what is is now and other excuses). Anyhoo, I remember the quote You can die from exposure. This was about media attention – and there's a deal with the Devil, if you get it wrong, or it goes wrong. It's a phrase that's stuck with me. We come back to the Shooting Star: too much, too soon. Much as it ain't exciting, there's a lot, IMHO, to be said about caution and looking before you leap.

      Perhaps it's best to question why you think a particular road is for you, rather than just decide. Look at it from all angles, such as what will this choice cost me? Friends, a job, family, money? Am I searching for this because it's exciting, or am I searching because I don't like who I am?

      A friend of a friend who transitioned, said that she met a (trans)lady who in for a nose op and was saving for more facial surgery. When would said person be happy? When they've changed *everything*, or do they – dare I say this? – need to learn to be happy within, because will the outside ever fill that void?

      You don't have to be trans* to be walking that journey. I know a few non-trans folk who've had, or who had, similar issues around being who they want to be (or not). Just maybe, we're not as out-there as we think. 🙂

  2. Ah yes, the meteoric rise. I remember going completely overboard when I started dating someone accepting and supportive. It's embarrassing to remember, but I think I learn faster from terrible mistakes 😉

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