Lying about being Transgender
There’s a lot of guilt associated with coming out later in life. Guilt that’s associated with knowing that you’re Transgender and “not” telling important people in your life. I’ve certainly experienced it, and I imagine every Trans person who has had a life before coming out has.
But let’s examine this. First of all, just being transgender is a huge psychological challenge. It isn’t something you are informed about in the same ways that we are if we are cisgender. How often did I notice circumstances where I felt one way, but the cisgender rules said I should feel another? In those moments we have two choices. Either we fess up and say what we are actually feeling or we bury our feelings and pretend we feel the appropriate cisgender way. If we are rewarded for being honest then there’s a chance we may continue to share our actual feelings. If we are punished, ridiculed, or shamed, we will learn the opposite. Unfortunately, the odds of making it through childhood without being shamed for our true feelings are very low.
And so the path towards burying our true feelings begins. This will play out in our lives for more or less time depending on our circumstances. Many of us who lived long lives prior to the larger awareness of Transgender people even existing probably spent the majority of our lives trying to make the best of the hand we were dealt. Some managed better and some worse. Some of us had careers, families, and friends and appeared outwardly happy and cisgender.
Many of us carried the knowledge that this was not in fact the case deep inside, only sharing with very few people. Perhaps we went out to Gay clubs or cross-dressed occasionally, but that was it. Otherwise, our lives seemed more or less settled and happy. We may have had husbands or wives or children or close friends that we finally shared with. Maybe they embraced us, or maybe they didn’t. More often than not the response is a feeling of surprise and betrayal. And then we would have to decide again. Is the possibility of transitioning worth losing them? Losing our families and careers? It’s a big scary question. Most of us probably looked off that precipice many times and then answered, “No, it's not worth the risk.” And so we stayed and tried to count our blessings and be happy.
But we weren’t and we couldn’t be. At least I couldn’t. And many, many of my Trans brothers and sisters couldn’t either. No matter how hard we tried. We didn’t attempt to deceive others during this time, but more ourselves. I know I kept reinventing methods that would somehow save me from being transgender. Finding the right partner. Enough passion or physical attraction. An obsessive interest in my career or a sport or my children. But even that didn’t fill the gap in being. The need to outwardly exist and feel authentically was irrepressible. It persisted and dogged my existence no matter how vigorously I attempted to shake it off.
And so I finally transitioned. I told the truth about who I am. I wasn’t casually dishonest if you even want to call it dishonesty. I simply responded to my circumstances in the best way I knew how until I realized I couldn’t anymore. Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? I chose sanity, not deception.