I have come to suspect that most, if not all, of my parents’ ongoing discomfort with my transition is rooted in the idea that the person that they knew is dying and being replaced by a stranger. It was an idea that I myself had internalized for years, and which even caused me to delay my transition long after I knew that it had to happen*. It is physically painfully to think that becoming the person that you want to be necessarily entails killing the person that you were, and having your loved-ones look at you always like your suffering from a terminal illness hurts. Fortunately, it also has the advantage of not being true. And so it is time to put this myth to rest.
Let me put this as simply as possible: I am not killing myself by living as a woman. I am saving my life. It is society’s misunderstanding of transition that it involves going from one gender or one sex to another; in reality, it involves going from being a ghost to being a person.
It is not an exaggeration to say that I have felt more alive, and more in control of my life, in the past two years than I have at any point before hand. Does that mean that I hated what I was before, or that it was a lie? No; it does not. In truth, I am what I have always been**, only more-so.
*As I wrote two years ago: “Every change is a little death, is it not? And such a big change is, therefore, very daunting.”
**At least to the extent that anyone remains the same from one year to the next