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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Guest Post - My First Year of Transition, by Laura-Ann

Laura Ann is a friend and a member of my local TG group, The River City Gems.

Thoughts as I approach the completion of my first year of Transition:

On June 6th, 2016, I put away my "guy" clothes for the last time, and began living as a woman full time. A month later, on July 12th, I  began estradiol therapy. On February 28th 2017, I received the Court Order granting my petition to legally change my name and gender tag, and finally, last Thursday, I had a last session with my local gender therapist - the session that will send me on along the Transition road to the Psych evaluation that will, if all works out, end with my receiving the go-ahead and a date with a plastic surgeon for gender reassignment. It has been a long wait for me to get here, but it was worth it.

When I was about 12, my older brother (he was 19) had some friends who once asked him "what's wrong with your kid brother, is he a faggot, or retarded, or something?". Despite my best efforts to fit in and bury Laura as deeply as I could (I had been aware of Laura as my true identity at least from age 5), I guess there was something about my behavior that other kids sensed was wrong, or not manly enough. I was anti-social, reclusive, and had few friends of my own - a condition that would define most of my youth until I met and married my wife Lynn in 1986. I suppose my parent's friends, if they noticed me at all, probably wondered about me too. To everyone out there who is struggling with depression, gender identity disorder, or the loss of a loved one, all I can say is, those sad memories are behind you, in a past that, if you choose to make it so, need only define who you were, not who you could be tonight, tomorrow, or in the rest of your lives. For those of you who might be transgender, or living somewhere else in the LGBTQ spectrum, and are only just beginning to consider the implications of accepting yourself as such, I won't say to you that this road you will walk, or the obstacles you will encounter along the way, will be easy to overcome. I will say to you that along the road you will meet people and have experiences that will bring you great joy, or terrible pain, and every other human emotion in between.

In the end, with the help and support you will get from friends, health care providers, and your families, and maybe from your church and your employer, if they are accepting of LGBTQ people, you will find out who you truly are. When that realization comes, and it might come to you as an epiphany, in a single thought (as it did to me), or it might develop slowly, over a much longer span of time, maybe years, you will finally be at peace with yourself, and you will have the chance to interact with your loved ones in a way that is both new, and old. New, in that your gender transition, if that be your destiny, will take some getting used to, both on your part and theirs. Old, in that you are, in your essence, the person you have always been. You are, simply put, the sum of your life experiences, the knowledge that you have picked up along the way, and the memories of your interactions with the world and the people all around you. If you were a person that loved and had compassion for others, and I hope you were, that will still be who you are even after gender transition: HRT and gender reassignment surgery won't erase that in you. You will still be the same "person", with the same core personality as you always were, just in a different wrapper, and probably sporting a different hair style. With any luck, most of your family and friends will understand this, and take your gender transition in stride.

In many ways, I was a bitter, lonely old (wo)man at age 27, coming from a childhood environment that was strewn with difficulties that I won't go into detail about here. I was anti-social, reclusive, mostly alone, and was just existing really, and not "living", with little hope left, and no expectation of anything but emptiness, darkness, and despair. In the fullness of time, I met two people, my wife Lynn and my daughter, Shanna, who would, with supreme effort, love, and infinite patience, save me from myself, and turn me from that path of despair and bitterness. At the very beginning of 2016, I joined the River City Gems Yahoo Group, and just one week later, on January 9th, 2016, was swept off my feet at the Gem's Holiday Hangover Party, and into the beginning of my Transition. Further gentle nudges from various Gems to walk "outside the box", in the early months of 2016, have washed away the last traces of fear and uncertainty about who I am and where I am supposed to be going. Now the path lies much clearer before me, and I am mostly happy to be here. I am just Laura Ann, the sum of my life experiences, a fat, grey-haired, older-than-dirt transwoman, but maybe also a kinder, gentler person than I was in that former life, at least I hope so.

There is a word, a very old word, which had it's origins maybe 3 thousand years ago in India: "Namaste", which, loosely expressed in English, means something like "I bow to the divine spirit in you". It is a word of selfless love that asks for no return on investment; it is maybe one of the best words I have ever come across to express what I feel about the people I love, those who have accepted my transition, and those who don't know about it yet, but who helped me all through my life to get where I am. To all of the people who have enriched my life for these 60 years, all of my close-by friends, and those others, who live far away and that I will most likely never meet in person - everyone who is trying to make this sad world a little better, one kind word to a stranger, and one hug at a time - I say it: Namaste, and good night, all.

Laura Ann Charlot

If you wish to contact Laura Ann, she has offered her email address:

Guest posts are always welcome.

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