Hitmen, spies, fugitives – shadowy figures that live on the cusp of society. Walking in plain view yet forever out of sight. Burdened with experience and knowledge that they’d rather take to their grave than share with anybody else. Living half a life at best. The most colourful aspects of their lives kept in perpetual darkness.
Pretty tragic, eh? Yet so many trans do exactly the same. Painting themselves a bland, grey hue to blend in with the ‘normal’ people. Treating their trans – therefore themselves – as a dirty secret to be indulged only when the wife is out. Even more tragic is the fact that we stay silent for fear of being seen as weirdo perverts yet the more we stay in the shadows and the less we stand up in numbers, the more rare we make ourselves and the more weird and perverted as a result.
It’s a no-brainer, right? You were taught by your parents, teachers and rock stars to be true to yourself, to be proud of who you are, that you can be anything you want, that anyone who objects is not worthy of your friendship, and if you’re a parent you’ll have passed these maxims down to your kids, too. So why do so few of us actually practice what we preach?
You know the fears and the doubts. You’ve heard your peers say them – hell, you’ve said them! ‘I’m not passable’, ‘I’m too tall’, ‘I’m too old’, ‘people will laugh’, ‘people will stare’, ‘I don’t want to upset my family’, ‘I’m too scared’ but you know what? Everyone who presents themselves as the opposite sex – for an evening or a lifetime – has felt exactly the same crippling concerns. And if they can make it through then so can you.
As a post-op friend says: ‘do you have the balls to transition?’
And here’s another truth: you only get one life.
So it’s with interest that a palliative-care nurse collated the regrets of her dying patients and shared the top four. They’re truly sobering. They’re obvious. They’re also – sadly – realised too late by the majority. Of the top four, three strike home at the heart of the trans.
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Nothing is more tragic than meeting an old bird on a night out who looks longingly at the young ‘uns in their short skirts, eyes misting as she admits she lived the best years of her life trapped in a lie and that she can’t turn back time.
Would you tell your daughter to plough on with her wedding to a man she realises she doesn’t love – because the church is booked, everyone expects, and he’s looking forward to a life with her? Do you advocate she condemns herself to a prison? Or do you advise her to sod them all and do what she wants to do, regardless of the upset it will cause?
Remember: nothing is more expensive than regret.
I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
Like the above point, this is all about being true to yourself. Whether you upset your friends or rack up disapproval ratings amongst your peers – how you live your life has no bearing on theirs. Their mortgage doesn’t triple, their car doesn’t break down and their favourite TV show isn’t cancelled. Their lives are unaffected by what you do so why live your life according to their expectations? They sure as hell won’t live to yours.
Sure, it’s hard when you have a partner and kids, but shouldn’t everyone get to know their real husband, parent, child? Coming out doesn’t mean abandoning your kids – ever – not even if your marriage breaks apart and as there’s no other love interest involved, many exes stay solid friends.
You believe you’re acting selflessly in protecting your partner from the harrowing truth but are you? If the real you isn’t who your other half wants to be with then how selfless is it to keep them in the dark when they could forge a life with someone who is what they want – and you too? Yes, your life as a family unit may be over but it’s not the death of your world – it’s the birth of a new one.
Remember: night is always darkest just before dawn.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
The trans community is full of more empty spaces and profiles than actual people. When the fear strikes, the natural instinct is to run away and pretty much every trans has experienced purging – the act of throwing out all their clothes and wigs in a fit of shame/panic/terror/guilt. Friendships formed, sympathetic ears, advice and guidance are tossed away along with the earrings and crotchless bodysuits.
Then there’s those who do go full-time but feel they have to cut out every one of their existing friends – the very people who like them! If ever you needed any leverage when it comes to getting people onside regarding your trans then having an established relationship and emotional ties is a bloody good one. If ever you could gain comfort and support from a single text, phone call or hug then it’s going to be those closest to you. Yet too many choose to start anew and hope to replicate what they’ve given up on.
Remember: good friends are like gold. Why trade gold for brass?
I wish that I had let myself be happier
Whether that’s being full-time or part-time, it mean wearing the clothes you want, choosing colours that appeal, having the hairstyles you truly want. It means not restricting yourself to shopping for clothes online and it mean not living in fear. Even if your marriage ends (and not all do) you will feel relieved that the real you is out, that the burden of guilt, imprisonment and lies has been lifted as you are no longer suppressing your true nature
Remember: every once in a while say ‘what the fuck’ . ‘What the fuck’ brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.
Born would like to thank Vicki Sixx for writing this article for us.
Above: Vick Sixx. Proud to be a Trans Woman.