About parents of young transgender children

A friend recently asked me how parents of transgender children support them. She had recently had a conversation with someone else about parents who allow their children to transition at a young age. She said she struggled with whether parents should allow this. After sharing my thoughts with her, she realized these situations are a lot more involved than supportive parents simply making one decision. We both decided this should be the topic of a blog entry.

Let me state right off the bat, I am no expert on transgender children or being the parent of a transgender child. I can only give my perspective based on my own experiences and observations. I will also tell you that I’m not going to give you my opinion on whether a young child should receive hormone therapy or drugs to stop puberty. That said, here is my perspective, which may or may not be correct, accurate or right – whatever those loaded words mean in this set of circumstances.

When you think about it on the surface, it’s easy to imagine that a child one day tells their parent they’re the opposite gender, and the supportive parent immediately begins dressing them in opposite clothing and pumping their young bodies with hormones to change their gender. I don’t think it’s ever happened that way.

It’s nearly always confusing and traumatic for a parent, when their young child declares they are the gender that is opposite to that which they were assigned at birth. There are fears surrounding what to do, who to tell, what people will think about them and their child, and where to get help.

Some well-meaning parents battle it out with their kids, at least for a time, forcing them to present as the gender they were assigned at birth, often in hopes that it’s a phase. Some parents Google. Some talk to their pediatrician or religious leader. Nearly all try to find out information to help them understand and deal with their new struggle. I can only imagine it would be terrifying for a parent, to have their first exposure to the transgender world be their own child telling them they are a different gender.

The results of a study released late last year revealed only 16% of Americans say they know or work with a transgender person. Most parents could be forgiven for not knowing what the word means, much less how to deal with a transgender child. For you newbies, a person is transgender if they believe they are not the gender they were assigned at birth. I was assigned male at birth, but knew from a young age that I wasn’t.

Me and my younger sister, Easter 1972. That plaid jacket, though!
Me and my younger sister, Easter 1972. That plaid jacket, though!

Let me clarify. I knew from a young age that I wasn’t male. I also knew I wasn’t female, because I was told as much. I could plainly see that I wasn’t dressed like other girls, but I knew I wasn’t like other boys I saw. At 5-years-old, I didn’t have the language or understanding to communicate that I was transgender. I also knew that the people around me reinforced that I was a boy, so I fell into line. I was afraid to let anyone know I felt differently. As I grew older, the differences between male and female became increasingly evident and took on new meanings.

How I viewed gender was constantly changing because of my experiences and the people around me. I learned boys were supposedly stronger than girls and that boys weren’t supposed to cry. I learned that boys were supposed to play outside in the dirt with dump trucks and wanted to be police officers and firemen when they grew up. These were the answers I learned to give when asked. I learned that there was a clear line between masculine and feminine, and somehow I got the message that it wasn’t right to have any ambiguity. I resigned myself to live with a secret.

In talking with and learning about other transgender adults, it’s clear that most knew at a very young age they were different. Some knew without any doubt they were the opposite gender. Some were not as clear about who they were. As a child, I felt increasingly confused and afraid about why I felt differently. It’s common to hear from transgender people that they recognized they were different around 5-years-old. Some report knowing a little earlier or later. “Children as young as 2 can present with gender incongruence,” wrote Dr. Jack Dresser for the Washington Post. Jack Drescher is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, past president of the Group for Advancement of Psychiatry, a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and a Past President of APA’s New York County Psychiatric Society.

So what’s a parent to do when their 3-year-old girl or boy declares they are the opposite gender? The advice from most psychologists and pediatricians is to support the child and not fight them. Most of the time, that simply means letting the child wear the clothes they want to wear and play with the toys they like. If the child is already in school, the choices become more difficult, but experts say the child should be supported and that parents should never tell a child they are wrong or try to correct opposite gender behavior.

Often, it’s not only the transgender child and their parents who have to navigate these waters for the first time. Sometimes it’s a first for the child’s school. More and more administrators are bringing in experts to help them decide how to proceed. Jay Maddock goes to schools to help administrators form plans of action for transgender students, other students and to train faculty. “You know, whenever you’re pushing for change, in an area of something that people don’t understand – sometimes the worst comes out in people when they’re afraid,” Maddock told Kate Wells of Michigan Radio.

Fear is a strong motivator. It drives people to do unspeakable things, or nothing at all. Fear drives our “fight or flight” instinct. We act and speak more quickly out of fear than from any other cause. Most often, we say and do things out of fear that we later regret. It’s certainly difficult to reserve judgement, hold back acting on something, or take the time to learn when we’re afraid.

But back to our original question – how should parents with young transgender children move forward? The answer is slowly. If the parent does seek out help from a medical or psychological professional, there is usually a lot of counseling in store for both parents and children. Parents often have time to learn before they form ideas on how to move forward in any permanent way with their transgender child. After the initial shock is over, the biggest worry is typically the public. People, both other children and adults, can be pretty mean when they are uneducated.

After my story published on CNN last week, one mother wrote to thank me for the piece. She told me her transgender child recently came out. “I’m amazed at the support especially from unlikely people and disappointed in the lack thereof from expected people,” she wrote.

Education is the biggest hurdle, for everyone involved. Education is also the biggest hurdle for everyone not involved. Lately, a lot of public policy has been put into action without education. Lawmakers have been acting on what they think they know. People have a way of seeking out information that agrees with what they already think they know, but sometimes people do take the time and effort to learn. A wise person once told me that people don’t change their minds. They make new decisions based on new information.

Hopefully more people like South Dakota’s Governor Dennis Daugaard will leave themselves open to new information. When first asked about then-pending legislation that would have forced transgender school children into bathrooms based on the gender they were assigned at birth, he said it sounded good to him. When the bill was passed, Daugaard initially declared he would not meet with any transgender individuals before making his decision on whether to sign the legislation into law. After a great public outcry and a whole lot of media attention, he agreed to meet with some transgender people. Afterwards, he vetoed the legislation. All it took was him leaving himself open to new information.

Again, I digress. I have a bad habit of that. Parents who eventually allow their transgender child to medically transition, do so after a lot of time and preparation. Puberty-blocking drugs are not typically introduced until age 10 for female-bodied children and 11 for male-bodied children. I do not know of a child who has undergone medical transition before this age. I’m not saying they doesn’t exist, but I don’t know of a case.

That means that nothing irreversible happens until age 10 or 11, except when parents choose so-called conversion or reparative therapy, which has led to long-lasting psychological damage and even suicide. Given the anecdotal evidence that transgender children who declare they are an opposite gender, do so at an early age, we can safely assume that many parents have time to learn and adapt before a child is given hormone-altering drugs. That hardly seems rash to me. God bless the parents who have these decisions to make. God bless the parents who face ridicule from others for allowing their children to medically transition. God bless the supportive parents of transgender children.

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I have a new home!

Dani Stewart blog has moved! Because so many of you have reached out to let me know you like what you’ve seen, I decided it was worth it to upgrade and purchase a new home for this blog. I’m basically upgrading from renting to owning.

Dani Stewart blog, or Dani’s Blog, is now here http://danisblog.com. In fact, there’s already one post that isn’t here! I hope you’ll come visit my new home and stay a while. You’ll be able to subscribe to my new blog home so you won’t miss any posts, and follow me on social media.

Dani

Choosing Happiness Over Misery

Four years ago, I found myself spending a weekend with unlikely friends in a small Kentucky town, 11 hours from where I was living at the time. A few years before, I had come to Kentucky from Oklahoma City with my friend Heather to meet her twin sister, Ashley. Ashley played soccer at Union College nestled between the Daniel Boone National and Kentucky Ridge State forests. This was one of several spur-of-the-moment trips Heather and I loved to take, and as they usually did, this one changed my life.

While there to meet Ashley on homecoming weekend, I met several other girls, with whom I fell in love. These girls adopted me, and I them, and I kept coming back with and without Heather to see them. I still go back, years after they’ve graduated, because I continued to meet new soccer girls each new year, and the process of making new friends repeats itself.

The trip four years ago, last week, was another of those reunions. It was a low key weekend, and we spent most of the weekend cooking, playing typical college drinking games watching movies. I loved my time with these girls. They knew who I was, and even though I sported a goatee at the time, they could see my female heart and mind. They accepted me as one of the girls.

In the moment, I thought about how fortunate I was to be in the company of young women who really saw ME. I was grateful for them and their deep love for me. I thought about my gratitude. At the time, I felt so trapped, and was miserable with what I saw as a no-win situation. I knew there was nothing I could do about being female, but not being able to express it. This feeling of gratitude because of my girls, was a stark contrast to the misery I otherwise felt.

At the end of that weekend 4-years back, I was feeling philosophical about what I saw as a choice to focus on the positives in my life, rather than the negatives. Indeed, I chose happiness simply by driving hundreds of miles to surround myself with positive friends. I wrote something about this juxtaposition and posted it to Facebook.

I’m going to take a short break and let you read it, because I think you can better see what I’m talking about:


I have had an amazing weekend with four amazing friends. We are unlikely friends. We live 11 hours away, and two are here from other countries. In thinking about how much I love these girls and how much they love me, I wondered how we became friends at all. We met over two years ago by chance of a decision I made to visit my friend’s sister whom I had never met at her college. Why are we such great friends despite only meeting a few times? Facebook and Twitter have something to do with it, but very little. In part, it’s because of shared interest and quality of character.

We all know people who are miserable. They are the ones who don’t have any real friends, because nobody wants to be their friend. Who wants to be around someone who is miserable?

Like most people, I’ve had reasons to choose misery. Like most, I have suffered loss and tragedy. I won’t bore you with details. It doesn’t mean I haven’t been sad, or even depressed. It means I didn’t let sadness and depression take hold. In each situation where loss or tragedy occurred, I made a conscious decision to make the most of the circumstances and simply move on.

I apply the same thinking when I make a poor decision. I’ve made much more than my share! When I realize I’ve messed up, I just make the best of it and move on.

Because of these conscious decisions, I believe I am happier. I believe people enjoy being around me, in part because of these decisions.

Despite loss and tragedy, I am the most blessed and fortunate person I know. It’s because I have the most amazing friends. Far too many to name. Friends I will cherish as long as I live. And I don’t hold back saying as much. Sometimes, I think they are taken aback by this unbridled announcement of love. Soon though, they accept it as just who I am. I truly do deeply love each one of them too.

Happiness is a decision. When bad things happen, I believe people choose between misery and happiness. Fortune follows those who choose happiness.


Here’s where the meat of this post begins. In the past two weeks, the themes of gratitude, happiness, frustration and “chips on shoulders” have come up with surprising frequency in conversations with various friends and coworkers.

Last night, a coworker remarked about how differently I come across to people I meet than other transgender individuals she’s seen on TV or met. She said she’s noticed that some trans people seem to have a chip on their shoulder or an axe to grind. It’s true, there are some who do seem that way. But I reminded her that my life was different than that of so many other transgender people. I have, not just a job, but a fulfilling and rewarding career. I also have an outlet with this blog, and with what I do in my career, that affords me the ability to educate people. Rather than feeling like I have no control over what my life is like, I feel like I can affect the outcome of my life.

Many transgender people feel both discriminated against and disenfranchised on a daily basis. It’s difficult to go through life when you feel like you don’t have a fair shot at it – when you are judged for simply being the person you are. Throw into that mix the lack of being able to do anything about it, and you get frustrated pretty quickly.

The conversation brought me right back to the choice between happiness and misery. I have to come clean. It’s not in my nature to be positive all the time, it’s something I’ve learned over time. There have been times in my life when I’ve been miserable. I was especially miserable when I believed I couldn’t do anything about being transgender. I believed it would be a selfish act to put my family and friends through the pain of even knowing I was transgender! How much more selfish it would be to actually transition!

Even post-transition, I get down in the dumps. Yes, I am thankfully employed by a company that fully supports me, but I experience discrimination and disenfranchisement outside of work. People say some nasty things under their breath in the grocery store. Some use male pronouns for me, deliberately. I’m in much greater danger of being assaulted because of my appearance. I am on the receiving end of mean comments on social media. I see several new negative things about being transgender in news stories, every day. If you focus on it, it drags a person down.

I’ve been fired before, my heart has been broken, people I thought were my friends have taken advantage of me, people have been downright mean to me, and I’ve been physically assaulted numerous times. I’ve experienced, and still do, things that would cause many people to be bitter and to hold onto anger. But several years ago, I discovered I had the ability to choose either happiness or misery.

Believe me, I’m not great at making the choice, still. I’ve had to practice. Also, I’ve surrounded myself with certain friends who simply will not allow me to throw a pity party. I’m talking about you Mary, Marisa and Artemis, among several others. These ladies won’t even give me a chance to complain, sometimes! Well, not much of a chance, anyway. These are the best friends a girl could have. They hold me accountable and don’t let me simply complain, without a solution.

Here’s where I get preachy, but believe me I’m preaching to myself, too. Admittedly, I spent decades in misery, feeling trapped, without seeing any way to transition. And it’s easier to make the choice to be happy with some negatives, than with others. There’s a big difference between focusing on happiness when you stub your toe, than it is when you lose your home to a natural disaster or a loved one to violence. But eventually, we recover to the point where can choose happiness.

I truly believe every single person has the ability to make this choice. Some are much better at it that others, like this writer. It’s not an easy thing to simply choose! And sometimes it’s really difficult to see any positive upon which to focus your energy, but I promise it’s there. Growing hurts, and learning is hard. Difficult things will always come our way in life. The one thing in our power is how quickly we decide to force ourselves to seek happiness and make that choice.

Hide and Seek-Part Two: Coming to terms with being transgender

This is the second of two posts about the time coming to terms with being transgender and leading up to my transition. If you haven’t read Part I, click here.

PART II

The stories we tell ourselves might as well be reality. They’re like movies that play over and over in our heads, and each time the movie plays out, it reinforces itself. My personal movies were ones of hopelessness and danger. Just a couple years ago one of my movies was, if I transitioned I would alienate my family and friends, I would lose my job, become unemployable, I would end up homeless on the street, and would soon thereafter be dead.

Transition seemed like such a selfish thing for me to do, to put everyone I loved through the trauma of having to deal with finding out that their child, sibling, parent, friend and coworker was transgender. You see, I had stigmatized that word just as much as anyone ever had. I viewed being transgender as something that needed to be fixed. Despite me knowing she couldn’t, I had hoped my therapist could somehow make me feel better about my current circumstance – that she could magically make it all go away with one piece of psychological trickery. Maybe she could fix me, I remember hoping.

What I learned from her, is that being transgender isn’t some sort of disorder or mental illness. Current thinking among medical and psychology fields is that being transgender is a “normal” phenomenon. It’s like having arthritis, or being short and having brown hair. It just is. And the old thinking that nurture was somehow involved, or that you could medicate it away or otherwise cure someone who is transgender, was pure fiction. We don’t completely understand yet what it is that makes people like me feel like we aren’t the gender we were assigned at birth, but we do know it isn’t a disorder, mental disease or anything close. You can’t make it go away, but you can help a person deal with all the things that come with being transgender, like disenfranchisement and discrimination. In some cases, you can prescribe hormones and even perform surgery to help that person become who they were meant to be.

A few other things happened along this journey of discovery. About the time I was going through counseling, retired Navy SEAL and transgender woman Kristin Beck’s book and documentary came out, and I devoured both several times. Knowing her story melted away some of my arguments against transitioning. She’s a war hero, for crying out loud! The fact that she went from fighting terrorists for two decades to what she is now, paled my protestations. Of course, it wasn’t easy for her to transition. She actually did lose some things during and after her transition, but what she gained was so much more, and it opened my mind to an alternative ending to my personal movie.

I watched the interviews she did for CNN and others, and I eventually reached to to Kristin. What I discovered was someone with a very similar history to my own. We had both joined the Navy, although my naval career was nothing compared to hers. We both had kids and had been married to women. Both of us had tried desperately to compensate for our feelings of femininity by being hyper masculine. Kristin told me that this was common. I found in her, someone for whom I had immense respect, and someone I could relate to.

Also during my counseling, Amazon’s award-winning show Transparent debuted. I was blown away by it! The entire show was a reflection of me playing out in a relatable story, and winning awards along the way! Beck’s story and Transparent were two huge trans-related events, and both were lauded. I reached out to Ian Harvie, a transgender actor and comedian who played the part of a transgender man in Transparent. Ian was open and generous with his own story, and that put me at ease. I felt I could be open about mine. He became a dear friend, and I’m incredibly lucky to know him.

Along with counseling, both Ian and Kristin proved to me that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I didn’t need to be fixed. To be sure, I felt completely broken, but I realized it was a feeling, not reality. Psychotherapy and these two amazing people helped me to see my path to transition. I slowly began to calm down and became increasingly more at peace, and more peaceful to be around.

When I finally and firmly made the decision to transition around the 2014 holidays, the pressure cooker released its remaining steam. It was no longer the bomb that would have taken casualties. It was vessel that had changed my thinking. It had changed the movies in my head from horror stories to something lovely — from the story of someone tormented, to that of someone happy and finally at peace with herself.

Hide and Seek-Part Two

This is the second of two posts about the time leading up to my transition. If you haven’t read Part I, click here.

PART II

The stories we tell ourselves might as well be reality. They’re like movies that play over and over in our heads, and each time the movie plays out, it reinforces itself. My personal movies were ones of hopelessness and danger. Just a couple years ago one of my movies was, if I transitioned I would alienate my family and friends, I would lose my job, become unemployable, I would end up homeless on the street, and would soon thereafter be dead.

Transition seemed like such a selfish thing for me to do, to put everyone I loved through the trauma of having to deal with finding out that their child, sibling, parent, friend and coworker was transgender. You see, I had stigmatized that word just as much as anyone ever had. I viewed being transgender as something that needed to be fixed. Despite me knowing she couldn’t, I had hoped my therapist could somehow make me feel better about my current circumstance – that she could magically make it all go away with one piece of psychological trickery. Maybe she could fix me, I remember hoping.

What I learned from her, is that being transgender isn’t some sort of disorder or mental illness. Current thinking among medical and psychology fields is that being transgender is a “normal” phenomenon. It’s like having arthritis, or being short and having brown hair. It just is. And the old thinking that nurture was somehow involved, or that you could medicate it away or otherwise cure someone who is transgender, was pure fiction. We don’t completely understand yet what it is that makes people like me feel like we aren’t the gender we were assigned at birth, but we do know it isn’t a disorder, mental disease or anything close. You can’t make it go away, but you can help a person deal with all the things that come with being transgender, like disenfranchisement and discrimination. In some cases, you can prescribe hormones and even perform surgery to help that person become who they were meant to be.

A few other things happened along this journey of discovery. About the time I was going through counseling, retired Navy SEAL and transgender woman Kristin Beck’s book and documentary came out, and I devoured both several times. Knowing her story melted away some of my arguments against transitioning. She’s a war hero, for crying out loud! The fact that she went from fighting terrorists for two decades to what she is now, paled my protestations. Of course, it wasn’t easy for her to transition. She actually did lose some things during and after her transition, but what she gained was so much more, and it opened my mind to an alternative ending to my personal movie.

I watched the interviews she did for CNN and others, and I eventually reached to to Kristin. What I discovered was someone with a very similar history to my own. We had both joined the Navy, although my naval career was nothing compared to hers. We both had kids and had been married to women. Both of us had tried desperately to compensate for our feelings of femininity by being hyper masculine. Kristin told me that this was common. I found in her, someone for whom I had immense respect, and someone I could relate to.

Also during my counseling, Amazon’s award-winning show Transparent debuted. I was blown away by it! The entire show was a reflection of me playing out in a relatable story, and winning awards along the way! Beck’s story and Transparent were two huge trans-related events, and both were lauded. I reached out to Ian Harvie, a transgender actor and comedian who played the part of a transgender man in Transparent. Ian was open and generous with his own story, and that put me at ease. I felt I could be open about mine. He became a dear friend, and I’m incredibly lucky to know him.

Along with counseling, both Ian and Kristin proved to me that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I didn’t need to be fixed. To be sure, I felt completely broken, but I realized it was a feeling, not reality. Psychotherapy and these two amazing people helped me to see my path to transition. I slowly began to calm down and became increasingly more at peace, and more peaceful to be around.

When I finally and firmly made the decision to transition around the 2014 holidays, the pressure cooker released its remaining steam. It was no longer the bomb that would have taken casualties. It was vessel that had changed my thinking. It had changed the movies in my head from horror stories to something lovely — from the story of someone tormented, to that of someone happy and finally at peace with herself.

Hide and Seek-Part One: Coming to terms with being transgender

This is the first of two posts about the time coming to terms with being transgender and leading up to my transition.

PART I

Let me take you back two years to early 2014. Two years doesn’t seem like a long time, but so much has changed since then. I had to go back and look at past medical appointments and my calendar to piece a timeline together!

I came to CNN in June 2013. I’d been having sleep issues for years. Without medication, I woke several times a night and couldn’t go back to sleep. It was torturous. As a result, I’d been taking Ambien for several years, but wasn’t aware of the long term adverse effects the medication caused. It’s been linked to losses in short term memory and other issues. My doctor thought anxiety was the cause of my sleep issues, so referred me to a psychiatrist.

It took a month to get in to see the psychiatrist. She agreed with my primary care doc that it was likely anxiety causing me not to stay asleep at night. She prescribed anti-anxiety medication and referred me to a psychologist. It took another month to get an appointment with her.

A lot of people confuse psychiatrist and psychologist, so at the risk of insulting your intelligence, I’ll explain the difference. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes on the brain, and a psychologist, often called a psychotherapist, typically has a master’s degree or PhD in psychotherapy. A psychiatrist can prescribe medication, whereas people typically see a psychologist for counseling and therapy.

During these two months, I began to think about all the things which caused me anxiety. As I’d moved up the ranks of journalism and into management, I’d taken on more and more stress. Coming from local news to a network added to my own pressure to live up to the high bars I set for myself. I’d experienced work conflicts with a few co workers in various newsrooms, and CNN was no exception. I was always wound up tight. Little things easily frustrated me, and it was easy for me to snap at people.

More than anything, one theme was constant. The anxiety about my gender. I was always aware of not feeling male, and went through decades of hiding my gender issues so I didn’t have to deal with it. Even though I had told select friends that I wasn’t male inside, I rarely used the word transgender. I had become like a pressure cooker, and I did everything I could to let just enough steam out so that I didn’t really have to come face-to-face with it. In the back of my head was a fear that if I dealt with it at all, a dam would break and I would be an out-of-control cork in a storm at sea.

For instance, I shaved my legs very few times over the years, and it was glorious! But each time I did, it was harder and harder to come back to the reality that there was nothing I could do about my gender. I made decisions each time to never allow myself that pleasure again, because it was torture trying to pull myself back to reality. Transgender people call this purging. Some people do it with clothing. They will dress in clothes that more closely resemble who they really are, but then throw them out when they feel they trapped. For many, it happens repeatedly.

From my early thirties on, I would have transitioned in a heartbeat if there wouldn’t have been consequences, but I could never see a path to where I am right now. When I tell people now, whom I didn’t know then, that I was living miserably, I know they can’t possibly grasp what I mean. I’m so different now. I’m much calmer and happier.

So when I was sitting in the waiting room at the psychologist’s office, I had spent weeks going over in my mind what I might say to her. I knew I had to tell her about my gender issues, but I thought that if I could gloss over that part just enough, maybe I wouldn’t have to confront the real reason I was there. I thought I would say something close to, “Being a journalist is stressful! Being at network only increases that; and by the way, I think I’m a girl — but I think the pressure at work is my real problem.” It didn’t happen that way when I was called back to her office.

Most of that session is honestly a blur to me. I recall being in there only a short time before the dam burst. Through sobs and sentences that were so fast I’m surprised she was able to keep up, I spilled my guts. Years of not dealing with the one thing in my life that had caused me so much pain, came spilling out like Niagara Falls. I remember her looking down at her notebook and asking, “So…am I seeing you for this or for sleep issues?” I nearly yelled back, “I DON’T KNOW!” I’m sure anyone near her office was probably concerned about her at that point. I don’t remember anything else about our session.

I had to come into work after that session, and I was still in shock. When I walked into the newsroom, my sweet friend Mary instantly knew something was wrong. I told her that I felt like the word QUEER was stamped onto my forehead. I was experiencing a full-blown panic attack. My heart was pounding, my breathing was shallow and fast, my peripheral vision was gone, I felt dizzy, and it was obvious to others around me. I think my boss suggested I take a walk to gather myself. In Mary’s words a year later, “Oh, you were a mess!”

I somehow made it through that day and a few more, until I had a second appointment with the psychologist. Each time I went, it was like another small burst of steam was released from the pressure cooker. I was still a mess, but each time I was a little less of a mess than the time before. I began to take my gender issues out of hiding and confront them. My psychologist began to gently challenge the notion that I was trapped. Before counseling, I felt I was too far along in life and no longer had the option of a transition. I had kids and responsibilities, and I would surely lose my job and end up homeless.

I know. It’s all a bit overwhelming, isn’t it? It was for me too. It’s a good thing therapy sessions are only an hour! Too much of this would be…well, too much. So, I’ll save the rest for the next entry. Don’t worry. It won’t be too long before I post it.