Things have been going quite well, and for the first time in my life, I actually believe that I will accomplish my lifelong goal of living full time in my correct gender. That is exciting, but I know I have a long road ahead. I know that I am likely to face some real challenges (am already facing a few), and that scares me. Here are some of the fears I have been thinking about lately:
My work life: I have taken the first steps in communicating my intentions at work. Theoretically, I work for an “evolved organization” that embraces diversity and makes a very big deal of its work with the LGBT community… in Europe. The fact is a company’s non-discrimination and equal opportunity policies are only as good as the people who enforce them. I worry about those people, and about all the other creative ways they might choose to “resolve” the situation I create. And of course assuming I keep my job, there’s the reality of dealing with old colleagues as a (perceived) new person.
My family: I have never had a close relationship with my family. Still the idea that they may shun me forever is scary, and it hurts. I don’t know why. I have all the love and support I could ever dream of, and yet, I really want my family to accept me.
Public Life: It’s more of an annoyance than a fear, but it really bothers me that I can be out and about wearing makeup and carrying a purse, and am never “mistaken” for a woman. It’s somewhat fascinating, if entirely maddening, what combination of signals and non-verbal queues it requires to cause someone to assume your gender. I’m afraid I haven’t yet figured that out.
And the biggie… Restrooms: Other than in gay bars, I haven’t yet had to navigate this particularly delicate situation, but I am only a couple weeks away from being there. I’ve been in normal society before, but not long enough that I couldn’t “hold it” till I got home. At the end of June, I will be spending the better part of the day away form home (and in “normal” society). I am attending my first group session in the morning and have a regular session following. Both are in the same place and far enough from home that I won’t have an out. I am going to have to deal with the restroom situation, and that frightens me more than about anything else I have faced. I could really use some advice on this one.
So, what are your fears? If you have dealt with it, how have you handled this whole restroom thing? I’d love to read your thoughts.