Transitional Grief

I have interacted with lots of folks in the GLB”T” community this week. The “T” is in quotes because I became acutely aware of how divided the community is from the viewpoint of a minority within a minority.

I’m passing more these days and, as I do, I realize how it impacts the way others interact with me. It’s all a bit disorienting and sad because, for the most part, guys my age who’ve transitioned have already moved on with their lives and quietly mainstreamed into the straight community. I have few “brothers” to share this part of the journey with – the barren middle ground of neither “this” nor “that”. My age cohort seems a bit less likely to happily exist in the non-binary gender queer space. I think it’s a wonderful space young folks are carving out for themselves. I wish I could be that but I either (a) don’t have sufficient courage; or (b) don’t really accept who I am – which is a real brain twister given how hard I’ve fought to become the “real me”.

For now, I don’t want to mainstream. I don’t want to be stealth. Testosterone has not changed my affectational attraction to women but being seen as “straight” isn’t who I am either. I wish I just didn’t give a damn what other people thought. I certainly didn’t as a lesbian. Where did all that courage go? Has it just been sucked up by the grief over loosing who I was and the community that I thought supported me? Is this just an awkward hormonally-induced adolescence that will pass with time?

I don’t have any answers. Just lots of questions and pain and fear of the unknown. Fear of not knowing if there is really light at the end of this tunnel. Fear of finding that, after everything I’ve gone through, nothing that matters has really changed. Fear of having too much expectation, too much hope, that transition will bring a new beginning and that those who truly love me will be there to celebrate it.

In some ways, I suppose I should be grateful, Transition has shined a very bright light on who my true friends are – the ones brave enough to stay and support me on this journey. This bright light, however, has also brought pain. I can now see who only wanted me around for money or were on some kind of emotional power trip from the past. And it hurts. I don’t want to become bitter and lose the ability to trust people. I need to stay focused on the good and let go of the bad and move on.

This transitional grief is paralyzing – movement is a counter-intuitive remedy. It’s like the first time you get a cramp in your calf muscle and someone tells you to bear weight on it to make it go away. How in the hell, you think, can you put weight on something so searingly painful and tight that your foot won’t even go flat on the floor? You literally can’t focus on anything else but getting out of pain. Everything else around you fades into the background. But you take one step. It starts on your tip toe. And the calf muscle starts to relax ever so slowly. And then you take another step. Each time it gets easier.

I can only hope this is how the transition will go… here’s to trying to take the next step.

5 thoughts on “Transitional Grief

  1. Tam, Wow – what an engaging piece. We’re somehow kindred spirits guy!! This piece touched me. I am starting to feel transitional grief you talked to in my own-life (I have some personal joy but I am tremendously emphatic towards those who are watching me change). In the M2F community there’s that argument (I call it fantasy) on whether to go stealth or not. How can a person go stealth and walk away from a lifetime of relationships? You talked to it well by describing who your friends were, etc. And where you want to be, etc. Your ever insightful! (sorry my post FFS pain killer as kicked in and I am now rambling!). Hugs from WAY south of the border.

  2. I recognise this in-betweenhood. Exhilarating and frightening to have this extra looseness to your sense of self. On the one hand, anything could happen – but on the other hand, well, anything could happen! We get to try on new identities, and it’s both a gift and bloody hard work. I also have no time for stealth – I’ve done all my “passing” when I was trying not to be me. I greet you as a fellow teen – we’ll be alright… 🙂 x

  3. You pain and frustration resinate with all your ‘brothers’. We have all been there and you too, will come out of fully. When you are in the middle of it, that ‘courage’ you question is there, but everything you have ever looked at seems you are looking at it for the first time; opinions suddenly matter, looks mean something different…you are NOT paranoid, the mind is shifting some as the body shifts. You will get to the other side where it doesn’t exist, that the courage you once felt you HAD, you will feel again, because let me assure you, what you are doing for YOU, takes courage beyond any that I know in this whole life. 🙂


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