I’m coming out again as a transgender person because we still have such a long way to go.
Many teenagers and younger people struggle with feelings of gender dysphoria but have been taught that such feelings are shameful and wrong. Carrying such difficult feelings privately with a sense of shame is emotionally and psychologically excruciating. Here in the U.S., things are getting better. There are more support systems in place now than ever before for those struggling with these feelings. But there are still too many who don’t have such support systems in their families or schools.
Too many transgender adults live in fear of employment discrimination or violence, and deny their true selves as a result. This is no way to go through life.
For too many, the costs associated with transition are prohibitive. For others, they simply take many, many years to save up for—years that you don’t get back once you finally have the “luxury” of living as your true gender. Yes, more companies are covering or helping to cover the costs of employee transitions, but so many still offer no such assistance. Feeling the need to live life as your true gender but being unable to do so is very painful. And transition doesn’t just benefit the individual. When the pain of gender dysphoria is gone, she (or he) is likely to be happier, more comfortable, and more productive. With less emotional and mental energy eaten up by the day-to-day struggle of gender dysphoria, there’s so much more to devote to other people and things.
If you’re ever in a position to make a young person who is struggling with the pain of gender dysphoria feel some hope for his or her future, please do so. If you’re ever in a position to make the place where you work more inclusive toward transgender people, or to support financial assistance for transgender employees, please do so. We have a long way to go, but we are making progress, and every step on this journey counts.