Letters to trans kids

After seeing this over on Pink News, I thought I'd try my hand a letter.

Dear friend,

How’s things going? Hopefully well given all that’s going on. If not, well, yeah, life can be tough or a bit pants even. I guess the latter is ‘Old’ language when we’re trying not to say ‘shit’. 🙂

It was decades ago since I was a kid and trans stuff then is not like it is now. The language was limited and wasn’t really ours. Gay rights were still being fought for. Indeed, the parallel between a hostile government trying to stop children from finding out about being gay (hello Section 28), and where we are now with trans teens. The same old fear and concern trying to put the lid on something certain folk don’t like. The same old guff repackaged and sold on for political and financial gain. Section 28 didn’t work and the same sh** repackaged to target us won’t work either. There were no trans role models or Instagram to convert me, so a lack of diversity won’t stop you from being you.

But, here’s the thing: rights for LGBQ folk have come on massively since the 80s. Some of your friends might be out, maybe your family too. It is a struggle, almost a battle even, but we will get there. Plus, lots of LGBTQ+ groups and forward looking organisations have our backs. Yes it could be better and yes we will get there.

But leaving the bigger bits of history aside for a mo, what about the smaller, more personal stuff? Specifically, you. I think it’s worth thinking about the following: it’s okay not to be sure, and whatever you’re doing, you’re doing all you can.

It’s okay not to be sure

When we question who we are, it has the possibility to shake our world up. Worries about what might be, fear over what might go wrong – these are true for anyone, not just folk like us.

If possible, try to accept the uncertainty and don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers. You will find something that works for you. Indeed that might change as you learn and grow – and that’s totally fine. Be kind to yourself and give yourself space to try things.

For me, like clothes through the years, I’ve tried different labels on as I’ve gone through life. Some – like me 😉 – are outdated and like a band t-shirt I once loved, I’ve tried to remember the good things and then I let go.

The term crossdresser might have worked at one time, but it didn’t quite fit for me. I know folk who do think it fits them and that’s cool. We don’t have to be the same. Being different is okay. Likewise, genderfluid or trans are the labels I think work for me, but maybe something new will come along that fits better later. I try not to worry and instead, know that who I am might be better as a story, rather than a simple term. I try not to let others define who I am or what I do. Naysayers don’t know – and often don’t want to know – what is like to be me. To be outwardly male, but within .. somewhere in between and I am my best when I decide how I want to be.

Doing your best…

That self kindness leads us to point two. You might have thoughts from that old devil, Imposter Syndrome. The whispers that you are not trans enough, that you’re confused, that you don’t know, etc. You might hear that from folk who don’t quite get it, or who are worried about you.

Right now, you’re doing your best. You are doing what you can given what you know, where you live, who you live with, what you have, and what’s safe for you right now.

It might be safe to paint your toes. It might be safe or comfortable for you to mix your wardrobe up. Equally, if it’s not. Sometimes you have to acknowledge that those things you want to do, they will come in time. They might be just for a short time. Take the opportunities that you can, when you can, and remember the good times.

It’ll be okay

It’s not easy growing up and to add to that difficulty with thoughts about being trans, that’s a lot to deal with. I know I really struggled with it when I was in my teens and later into my twenties.

But, that doesn’t mean you will have the same journey. Maybe you’ll find a good place quickly, maybe it’ll take you longer. The only thing that matters is that you find your way that works for you.

Contentment

At the start, way back in the 80s, if you’d asked me if I was okay about behind trans, I would’ve struggled to say yes. Now, as a older person, with a few decades on the clock, I wouldn’t change who I am. I am more than okay, I like being trans.

Being trans opened my options up to see the world differently. It gave me a strong sense of empathy and helped me see the variety of ways to be in the world. I would not be married to my amazing partner, Mrs J, nor would I have my children. I would not have met the wonderful folk at Chameleons. They helped me accept myself and gave me a place to belong. I have friends who are like me and a wife who loves and accepts.

There’s nothing special about what I do, so if I can, you can. ❤️ Go forth, go well, be fabulous, and be kind.

L x

6 Comments

  1. Thanks, Lynn. This has helped me. I’ve not been in a good place recently but these thoughts have helped

    1. I’m sorry to hear that, M. In all honesty, I was just thinking about you. I wasn’t quite sure how to ask, but look after yourself, Mrs ❤️ I’ll drop you a line in a bit.

  2. I wanted to comment immediately upon reading, but found I couldn’t find the words. This is a powerful piece of prose. It deserves a wide readership.

    Okay, I still don’t have the words.

    1. I’m reminded of the quote from Mark Twain: I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one 🙂

      Self-deprecation aside, there was a fair bit I wanted to say. In fact just yesterday, the letter’s page in a usually left leaning newspaper included some…. Actually, I’m not going to give it space. It was inaccurate, doesn’t match the stories I hear from trans people, and is just wrong.

      Instead, let us hope instead that those who are struggling, see the positive stories of trans folk who have not just survived, but thrived ❤️🌈

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