I miss the sense of community I had when I was a conservative Christian. Even though that community didn't exactly foster critical thinking, even though I had to work so hard to hide all my doubts about basic tenets of the faith, and even though no one really knew me 'cause I was lying to all of us about my gender identity: still, in a way, those were some of the closest friends I've ever had.
I moved to Edmonton in December of 2012; before that I'd been living in a town called Grande Prairie. In Grande Prairie I played piano at my local church, and I helped out with the soup kitchen they ran. I attended a weekly bible study group, and I lived with all Christian roommates— (one was even an ordained clergy member). One of the main reasons I moved was to get away from all that. By the end of 2012 it was finally becoming apparent to me that I was losing my faith. I needed space to ask basic questions about what I thought was true, and I wasn't going to find that space in the evangelical Christian community. So I got out.
I moved to Edmonton because that's where my family lives and I thought I might end up going to school here, (which in fact I did). I found the space to ask questions, and in that space I discovered and accepted that I am transgender. But what I lost in the process was a close, loving community. I still keep in touch with some of my old friends through Facebook, but I feel like we're drifting apart. It makes me sad.
I suppose what I ought to do is get involved in the queer community here in Edmonton. (I went to two meetings of my school's queer social club, and one meeting of a trans support group, but that's all.) To be part of a community again, and one where I can actually be myself, would be fantastic. I'm shy and making friends is hard, but still I should try.
Oh, and guess what? I got to see Laverne Cox speak last Friday! She gave a talk as part of my school's pride week, it was really good. Even though I went by myself, it was very refreshing to be in a huge room full of people who accept the legitimacy of trans identites. That's precisely the kind of community I want to be a part of!