A 2016 poll found that there are between 0.5 to 0.6% people who are transgender in the US.
This would put the total number of transgender Americans at approximately 1.4 million adults.
This is their journey:
I’m R and I’m transgender. I’m also the youngest kid in my family. I’m quiet, and my older sibling, L, is not. We are both a lot alike and very different.
Growing up. I didn’t have a name for how I felt; I just knew I was really unhappy the older I got. I hated the changes puberty was causing. I wanted it to stop. I’m quiet. I didn’t say anything. I doubled down on skirts, on leggings, on purses, whatever I could do to be more girly. My mom loved it, so I kept doing it, but I grew more unhappy. I lied about my favorite anime characters, saying I liked girl characters when I was drawn to male characters.
And then, a couple years into this struggle, when I finally had a name for who I was – transgender, my brother L came out to my parents as being transgender and I felt screwed over. I figured that if I said something now, my parents would think I was copying my brother. So, I dressed even girlier while I grew more depressed.
L was immediately accepted. His entire wardrobe of girl’s clothes went to me or got tossed. He got boys underwear, boys jeans, everything a geeky little guy could ask for. I still hammed it up, letting my mom put makeup on me, do my hair, whatever I could do to embrace being female.
It was awful, but I did it anyway, lasting a year and a half into L’s social transition before my mom helped break through my barrier. She guessed that I was trans, but unlike L’s instant transition, my mom wanted made me to wait an agonizing six months to come out, even though I, too, got a new wardrobe and haircuts that grew increasingly shorter I came out to my extended family as gay first. It wasn’t quite right, the gay label as a girl, but it let me be out, partially, at least.
Trying to figure out who I was and my sexuality at the same time was torture. I told myself that I must like girls in that way, but I didn’t. I want someone to partner with, but I was also figuring out that I was asexual. The asexual part was the easiest. I really needed an easy thing at that point.
I tore myself up over being trans, being gay. I felt so alone.
I was more depressed than ever. I still got called by my girl name and it made me sick each time I heard it or saw it. My mom saw the despair, and four months after coming out to her, I took my new name and came out to my whole family and friends.
My brother and I never said a word to each other during the years we were suffering and trying to figure out what was wrong. We share a room, and both of us are blown away that each night for years we lay in our beds and agonized silently.
If one of us would have taken the leap and shared, we could have suffered less.
We knew our parents were LGBT allies and supported one of my mom’s students who was transgender.
We were scared. Scared to say the words aloud to ourselves.
To each other.
To our parents.
To the world.
We saw the agony that my mom’s student was in, that moving hours away to an LGBT friendly place was the only way to live openly.
That’s why trans visibility is so important. Acceptance is essential.
My brother L and I are transgender.
We are at peace with that knowledge because we are accepted for who we are.
A 2016 poll found that there are between 0.5 to 0.6% people who are transgender in the US.
This putS the total number of transgender Americans at approximately 1.4 million adults.
This is her journey:
Despite living in a sizable city, there are very few people who know what transgender means. Not even the doctors here knew what transgender meant until we explained it to them.
Imagine having two transgender children in a community that is extremely conservative and evangelical. The schools are unwelcoming. The churches are unwelcoming. Most people reject the local LGBT individuals. The state legislature is actively pursuing bills that legalize discrimination against people like my children.
Given that the trans population is less than half a percent of my state’s population, the lack of awareness of transgender people is unsurprising.
Visibility of transgender people in the media is increasing, but not at a rate fast enough to make a dent in the general population. Here, where we live, at least, visibility occurs as the few LGBT people come out of the closet to their families, friends, coworkers, and ultimately to the community as a whole.
Being out in a conservative, Republican city and state is often dangerous. Add in any other minority characteristics and the danger to the individual increases exponentially.
My two wonderful teenage transgender sons have to navigate this world. It’s terrifying to think of them in the school setting (so they are homeschooled), unbelievably frightening to think of them out there alone and out as they medically transition in the future.
Transgender visibility and awareness is vitally important. My kids were born into the wrong bodies. In the second trimester of my pregnancies, each of them were exposed to increased testosterone, changing their brain structures to resemble male brains.
Like sexual preferences, being transgender is not a choice. My sons, despite the identification at birth being female, are male. Because they are trans male, they are the lucky ones. They are less likely to be abused, less likely to be killed than trans females. They will, with testosterone, grow facial hair, increase their muscle mass and deepen their voices. They will enter into society with the stereotypical male look with ID cards that match their genders.
Most transgender people are not fortunate enough to have accepting families and doctors. Most struggle and suffer because of the extreme prejudices they face.
As allies to the LGBT community we can help change these struggles.
We can make sure that all people are accepted and treated equally.
Trans visibility is key, but without our speaking up for the community, for our friends and family members, change will be slow.
We must make this a seismic change. For my boys. For all trans people. For the world.
My husband hasn’t been himself lately. He’s seemed down. Distant. Very grumpy. He gets angry a lot. Things have been very unpleasant. Finally, after putting our daughter to bed the other night, I broached the subject.
“Honey, is there something that’s been eating at you lately? You don’t seem very happy…”
“I’ve been grumpy, haven’t I?”
“Well, yes, you have. And it’s not like you. I’m concerned.”
I desperately wanted him to tell me my instincts were wrong. Reassure me. Say I had misconstrued the situation, and there was nothing going on. Instead, he sat down and let out a long, heavy sigh. His shoulders sank, and his body language told me something big was coming. I was terrified of what I was about to hear.
Then he used the words I don’t think a wife ever does want to hear: mid-life crisis.
We talked for a couple of hours, during which he outlined all the things about his life he is unhappy about:
The status of his career and the lack of opportunity for advancement with his company.
A feeling he has not accomplished enough (particularly in comparision to others).
The lack of other job options.
The fact that having a child later in life means he will not be able to retire anytime soon.
Our financial status since we decided I would quit working and care for our child full-time until she starts school.
The things he can’t do because of the above.
His physical state – the signs of aging he is noticing.
Our lack of a social life.
All the issues we are dealing with concerning our own parents. And how much worse things are going to get. Soon.
I was relieved to not hear him listing our relationship or family life. He said those are the things that keep him going and bring him the only happiness he has. Although he is not able to enjoy them as he once did.
He is not enjoying much of anything these days.
I calmly pointed out that some of the issues concerning him are under his control, and some are not. I asked what he thought he could do to change or improve the former, and how he could learn to let go of or accept the latter. Furthermore, what could he do to invest in himself? Carve out time just for him, to engage in something that will truly make him happy? He has a number of hobbies he loves, but he hasn’t been devoting any time to them recently.
It was a good conversation. He seemed relieved to be able to get it all out and that I accepted his concerns without judgment. He hadn’t thought about some of the things I brought up and seemed somewhat encouraged.
Since then, however, he continues to sink deeper. Grow more distant. I fear he is becoming severely depressed.
I’ve been through a major life transition myself. In fact, I’m just coming out of my own period of discontent. The transition to motherhood was not an easy one for me, but I am finally in a good place. I’ve made changes and taken control of my own happiness, which has made all the difference. I have a better outlook on my life – our life. But have I been so focused on myself I haven’t given him enough? Or could my recent experience help me help my husband through his difficult time?
What was most noticeable and concerning to me during our conversation was the tone of his voice and the pained expression on his face as he talked. He was a man deflated. I hurt for him.
I’m going to admit I had a selfish reaction as well. What does this mean for ME? My marriage? Will it survive? I want to support him, do everything I can to help him, but I also feel a strong desire to protect myself and my daughter in the event this ends badly.
I fear there is a storm coming, and I don’t know what to do. I am so scared. I want to help my husband get through this. Most importantly, I want US to get through this.