To Be or Not To Be (Trans) Around Unsupportive Family.
Updated: Feb 24, 2020
As if being trans can be turned off, right?
Ah, yes. It happens eventually. A holiday is coming up, a birthday, a sporting event, etc. And you’re gonna have to spend time with family. This is a happy time, right? Or, it should be. But for many folks in the LGBTQ community, this is not the case. Some of the worst off tend to be transgender individuals who have a MUCH more difficult time of going unnoticed at family gatherings. After all, if Uncle Steve is now Aunt Stephanie, then some asshat is bound to point it out. Gawd, people.....the stupid is coming....
So what do you do when faced with these people? Many folks opt to not even go near their family. Some opt to temporarily dress/act like the gender their family is okay with. Some go as their true selves anyway. So what is the appropriate thing to do?
Sigh. There is no one answer that fits every situation, unfortunately. There are so many factors at play. How far along you are in your transition. How hateful/unsupportive the family actually is. The reason why they're so hateful/unsupportive (religious beliefs often make for more intense hatred). How secure you are in your transition. What other support systems you have in place to back you up (friends/coworkers/etc). Underlying psychological issues. The list goes on and on. Personal situations may vary, but the disappointment and hurt seems to stay about the same. Sigh again.
My answer is kind of a modify-to-fit-your situation type thing. Even though I said there is no one answer....ha. Perhaps I should have said there is no one RIGHT answer instead. At any rate, here is my answer: Do what makes YOU happy, what makes YOU feel good. Simple, right? You know yourself better than anyone, so you know if you're stable enough to endure the bullshit that will ensue when you show up as your true gender.
If you anticipate that it's too much for you to take, and you would rather just dress as your dead-named self, that's your choice. And that's fine. As long as you don't feel that the stress/dysphoria resulting from it will cause any lasting harm to you later.
One patient of mine told me that she just tones it down for family gatherings. So rather than dresses, jewelry, and makeup, she wears jeans with a nice loose tshirt, only puts on concealer, and the only jewelry she wears is perhaps a watch or stud earrings. Because plenty of women dress like that every day, she is able to feel that she isn't detransitioning; she feels it's more of a choosing-her-battles type thing. She instead feels she is just having a “lazy” and “low-key” type day. This has worked well for her for years now. Sure, she would rather wear makeup and a dress, but she realizes that clothes aren't what defines her. Clothes are just costumes. You are male, female, or anywhere in between no matter what you wear. That part of you is written deep inside, and no amount of dresses, pants, hats, or shoes will change that.
Honestly, I would have no attachment to assholes that would judge me for discovering I am a different gender than assigned at birth. I would write off those bastards and not look back. But I understand that some people still have those feelings and desires to have a “happy family” type bond/experience. And there's nothing wrong with that. I'm just different, as is everyone. But personally, this is what I would do: screw them. You can find new friends and new family members who love and support you for who you are. You deserve better, hon. Please do what makes you happy, but don't let people hurt or disrespect you just because you have an idealistic notion of what family should be. There are many kinds of family. You can find better. I promise.
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Transgender Hormone Therapy
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