Strategic Transition

I keep seeing stories about people who feel “trapped” as a closeted Transgender person. I empathize deeply with that experience. I felt exactly the same way for years. I was closeted myself for about 45 years! I’ve thought a lot about how I finally changed my situation. How did I finally make the leap across the gender divide and let the inner me into the sunlight?

The key for me was what I call, “strategic transition.” I formed a five year plan around my transition very much as one might strategize about a career change or some other life goal. I used to just feel lost and spent years pining to be my authentic self without any real idea about how in a practical sense this would ever happen.

Goals are things you have to plan for. If you want to become a Doctor for instance, you don’t expect a fairy to visit you one night and touch you with a magic wand to make you one. Incredibly though, for years that was something like my thought process regarding transition. It was as if part of my mind was still operating like a five-year-old! The trick for me was to make my transition a concrete goal and to strategize steps to getting there.

Once I started on my path, my life instantly felt better. I no longer felt “trapped.” My situation no longer felt “hopeless.” I had a plan and a timeline. I was moving forward towards my goal with each step I took, and it made me feel like I was actually heading towards the life I had always dreamed of.

Everyone will have their own path, but mine had some very specific ideas about where I wanted to arrive. My goal was to completely transition to living full-time as my authentic female self. I took stock of my current appearance, behavior and habits and made a list of things I needed to change before I could do that. Once I had the list, I began to prioritize them. Which steps come first and which come later? Which are more immediately achievable and which will take more time? Some cost very little or nothing, while others were quite time consuming and expensive. Some were more immediately necessary, like stopping my male pattern baldness, while others like growing breasts or getting facial surgery were much further along the timeline.

The most important thing is to get organized and make a plan. To start the process and stop imagining that it will happen if you buy this outfit or that one. If you wear a different shade of lipstick or a different wig. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I operated this way for decades, and it just wasted my time and my money all the while making me feel more and more hopeless. This went on until I met a therapist who asked me “what are you waiting for? You need to get started if that’s what you really want.” The question is, “Do you REALLY want it? Or are you actually happier or more comfortable just being depressed about being “stuck” or “trapped.”

Once you decide, it’s time to make a plan. Put in as many details as you can. Things like taking more time to groom. Washing your face more and practicing self-care the way most women do. Clean up your skin and your teeth, take yoga or exercise classes. Whatever “starting” means to you. Once you have a plan and a timeline, I promise that feeling of being “trapped” will begin to melt away and the person hidden inside that frozen exterior will begin to feel the warm glow of being in the light!



Genivieve is a Transgender Artist living in Santa Barbara California.

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Genivieve is a Transgender Artist living in Santa Barbara California.