Today I was speaking with my gender counsellor and it was nice to feel validated.
Even though it was a phone meeting, I took 15 minutes beforehand to shave and dress outwardly as Dee, I think if I am talking with someone because I am trying to explore this side of my personality more, then dressing in my manclothes simply feels like I am hiding and I don’t want to do that.
Anyone who has read much of my content or spoken/emailed with me will know that I have been wrestling with the question of how I got to 40 before having a crisis over my gender.
I have been worried that I have been looking at being transgender as an avoidance technique for dealing with my emotional and personal problems, or that I was unwittingly suffering from some sort of personality disorder like my mum was diagnosed with and still strenuously denies, but today she told me to look at my timeline, to look at the way that I have approached examining myself, starting with why I was dressing and removing the thrill element, thinking about what gender actually is when we remove sex organs from the equation, taking the time to ask myself why I choose to wear a wig, then actually working up the courage to step outside the house, but also the fact that I not only talked to my sisters, but have dressed in front of them as well as taking that leap in front of friends that I have known and had a relationship with for years.
She said that I do not talk as if I have any mental health issues, in fact, from what she has heard, I am very capable when it comes to examining myself and my motives for things. She said that my talking to my sisters and friends is not a path that most crossdressers will take, especially if they are simply dressing for sexual excitement – telling siblings and close friends about a desire to be seen as female is not something you can walk away from, and go back in a few months time and say to them that it was just a phase.
In her mind I have already done the hardest parts that she helps others with on my own. Honestly having someone repeat my worries back to me out loud and then refute them, not based solely on opinion, but on 20 years counselling experience as well as her knowledge of what I shared just made my fears sound more like excuses.
I needed someone to tell me that I wasn’t crazy.
We talked about the reinforcement of my role as male in the family, that the things I do, don’t have to change if I did them as Dee, but that it is going to take a while for my sisters to come around to the idea of seeing me as a sister when they have had a brother with the very defined role of being “the only boy” for so long..
I also touched on the worry about work, again I know I am deliberately vague on my blog on the off chance that someone could recognise me from the other things I say as I am not ready to be outted yet, but we discussed my feelings over becoming Dee and what that could mean not just for me, but the people I come into contact with. We discussed the fact that I felt I could not remain where I was after transitioning to Dee, but I could not see myself moving somewhere else before doing so, but also the negativity I will experience day to day from colleagues who are not pro lgbt, it is not all gloom and doom as I also see the possible opportunities that being comfortable with myself would give me to help others who have experienced this disdain and uncertainty in their lives too.
Many of my jobs have been in female professions and she believes that is a part of why I have coped as a male for so long, because I can express my empathy and allow myself to react in a way I couldn’t in other male dominated jobs.
Again she pointed out my bravery for even looking outside of this comfortable role, and my ability to talk about it and then asked me about HRT.
I said I saw it as almost the most scientific way to validate myself, to underline my self diagnosis, I effectively see it as a dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s exercise; and that with all of my reading that whenever someone who is trans has gone on HRT they have known almost instantly if it feels right for them, and I said that internal knowledge and ability to express myself in a fuller and more meaningful way than I feel able to now is far more important to me than losing my body hair (which I HATE) or growing breasts. I do not expect it to feel bad, but it will help me mentally to know I am on the right path.
I then explained that it was a part of the mental checklist I had been creating for myself, having ticked off exploring why I dress in female clothes, then going out and interacting in society as a woman, which had then become even more specific to the things I have daydreamed about doing – going out for a coffee or having lunch with my sisters and friends as Dee and not man me.
She seemed impressed with the checklist and used that opportunity to once more reinforce the fact that part of her interest in dealing with the transgender community is the strength she sees for the men and women to push out of the roles they were given and fight to become themselves.
We briefly discussed meeting in person and she double checked using my male name, I said when calling it is fine, as that is who I am showing to the world right now, but when I turn up as Dee to definitely refer to me as her, she said she is looking forward to meeting me as Dee and that we will hopefully get the chance to do that soon.
I don’t feel exhausted or put through the ringer as I normally do now on therapy Thursdays (perhaps because my work one is on holiday) but today I felt genuinely heard, validated for my feelings and the way I have been working through them, I also felt accepted for talking as a woman and called brave for even attempting the journey I am on.
I do not see myself as brave, but perhaps I can begin to think of and call myself a woman without feeling like a fraud for doing so.