I’m not quite sure what to say today. Wednesday was Independence Day here in the States, and I celebrated by playing Batman: Arkham City, eating and drinking good food and beverages, chatting with my friends online, and generally resting as best I could. And I needed it, after all the stress I’ve had lately. But because I spent the day focusing more on Riddler Challenges and beating up Batman’s rogues gallery, I didn’t really think about what I want to say today. So I guess perhaps a look into independence within transition.
See, we have a strange dichotomy when it comes to dependence and independence. As we go through the emotional and psychological growth of our transition, we gain a stronger self-esteem, more confidence, and generally a stronger sense of independence. Yet we remain dependent on the gatekeeper system: therapists declaring us sane and giving us letters allowing us to undergo medical procedures, doctors to prescribe hormones, surgeons for the various surgical aspects we need, lawyers and judges for all of the legal aspects… If even one were to put a stop in the process, the whole thing comes to a screeching halt.
And that’s just the gatekeepers. We constantly seek the support of friends, family, and loved ones. Yet far too often, that very support is denied us. Family decide they want nothing to do with us when it becomes clear that we are trans and that we will not let them stop us from being true to ourselves. Friends prove to be not so friendly. Romantic partners decide that they can’t continue the relationship because they’re not gay/straight. New romantic interests are hard to develop because people see us for our bodies, or more specifically the bodies we were born with, rather than who we are deep down, leading to either discrimination or unhealthy attractions.
Through it all, we become more independent from those who would hold us back, but develop an even more intense bond, dependence even, with those who stay by us, until we come out the other side, a complete person. We also develop a dependence on our trans communities during transition, then after we come out the other side and are read as cis men and women, far too many of us distance ourselves from those very same communities.
I guess it all comes down to who do we want to be, who do we need to be to become that, and who are we now. Dependence is not inherently a bad thing; when we are sick or hurt, we depend on others to help us. Helping others, having them be dependent on us for even a moment, is not a bad thing either.
And now I turn it over to you, my readers, and ask how you view your own journey through life. Do you struggle to maintain complete independence? Do you rely on others to help you? Where do you fall on this issue?