It is good to read positive stories about people who have transitioned and now live 24/7 in their true gender. For those of us who are in the midst of transitioning, however, and are still spinning plates, this concept feels some way off. I fall into that ‘category’ so I wanted to share some of my experiences, in the hope that they might resonate with others in my position.
I will kick off by saying that life is a constant struggle. The struggle is not so much with my trans identity – I am finally comfortable with who I am – or being ‘found out’, but the financial pressure of being trans. It’s not cheap! Make-up, clothes, hair and beauty treatments alone carry a hefty price tag, not to mention the costs associated with laser hair removal and, if I were ever to go there, surgery.
It is important to note that these aren’t things that I consider ‘nice to have’ – especially the day-to-day beauty regimen – they are essentials, what you might call the uniform of the trans woman.
I work part time with variable hours. This allows me time to develop as a woman but not enough financial freedom to develop as fully as I want.
I have lived 15+ of the last 20 overseas. I left behind a partner and kids. So coming back in itself, and trying to fit in back in, has been really hard. All of this would have been bad enough but everything is made worse by the fact that I have been dragging my gender variance around in secret my whole life.
I have longed to do this since as long as I can remember , and I can’t say for sure which straw broke the camel’s back but in 2018 I decided to act. In Autumn, I started taking hormones and moved into my own place. This gave me the freedom to work a few hours in the day as my birth gender and then be myself at home.
I didn’t think I would be confident enough to leave the house as Stella for some time. But I guess my confidence grew quickly once I had my own place. Now I regularly visit my GP and beautician as my true self. Both women have been so wonderfully kind to me. I have also travelled to Blackpool and Manchester and attended events where I met a lot of people in person, who beforehand, I had only felt comfortable chatting to online.
I can see I am making progress, it is just very hard to make the final leap, especially from a financial perspective when it will impact my work.
Interestingly, one thing that has helped to grow my confidence has been flickr. I post alot of my pics there and I look back (and cringe!) at them a few months down the road to see how things have changed. I regularly get 50-60k hits per day and people leave some really leave nice comments. Who’d have thought it!
Nothing about this process is quick. As I said, it took me the best part of my adult life to accept myself as who I truly am. But I know I will get there. In time, my confidence will grow and Stella will emerge full time.