Last Sunday I logged in Facebook to find that I had a PM from a cousin of mine. She's someone I'm quite fond of, though it's been a couple years since the last time we saw each other. She wrote:
Cousin I hope you know that we love you and support you. I don't have a clue how you're doing or the specifics of your life but I've got a very rough idea of it by what you've posted on fb. And I just wanted you to know that you're loved and supported no matter what.I was, first of all, quite touched. It seemed like a good time to come out so I wrote back:
In the week since then we've been messaging back and forth, talking about gender and coming out and all sorts of stuff. At one point she wrote:[name], thank-you so much for this. I never doubted that you'd be supportive, but it really means a lot to hear it. :)
Uh, so yeah, I'm transgender. Like, I'm a girl inside. :) It's been that way as long as I can remember but I was in pretty serious denial about it up until about two years ago. Since then I've been trying to figure out who I am and what exactly I should do about it. I'm not on hormones or anything yet but that may be in my future. Oh, and I go by Ashley within the trans community.
Feel free to ask if you have any questions.
And lastly, we need to hang out some time. It's been way too long. :)
I was smiling pretty big after reading that, you can be sure. Coming out to someone who's so unreservedly supportive is just one of the best things ever. :)I'm perfectly comfortable calling you Ashley. If you feel like a girl and want to live as a girl then you're a girl to me. [...] I'm glad you can start being yourself now, I imagine that's quite freeing.
Another thing happened on Monday. My dysphoria was just awful that day and I spent it feeling really terrible. Around 9:00 in the evening hunger got the best of me and I had to leave my room, where I'd been hiding to avoid the people I live with, and venture down to the kitchen. Sure enough, one of my roommates was there. He asked me how my day was.
"Well... not good, actually." I replied.
"Ohh, why's that?"
I evaded this question, which he correctly interpreted as meaning I didn't want to talk about it. Instead he got out some good quality European chocolate he'd been keeping in the fridge, saying: "what's the point of having chocolate in the house if you don't eat it when you're sad?" And the two of us ate chocolate together. A gesture like that can really make something hard like dysphoria a little easier to bear.
And then on Friday it was my birthday: I turned 27. The day before, to mark the occasion, my parents took me out for sushi, which is one of my favourite things ever. And then Friday evening I spent with a group of friends playing a ridiculous drinking game, which was a lot of fun. (The game's called "Loopin' Louie," and if you believe the box it comes in it's for children aged 4-9. The version we played involved shots of Jägermeiſter though, which ups the recommended age considerably).
I think 27 is going to be a good year for me. I'm already planning on starting electrolysis as soon as I land a job, and I'll probably be looking into hormones some time after that. And although those things are scary, I've been reminded now several times this week that I have good people in my life— people I can count on for support, whether it's stated outright or just takes the form of commiserative chocolate (or, uh... getting hammered on my birthday). And that makes me feel optimistic about what's ahead. :)