We’re all stressed

Last night I watched a programme about the fatal collision Bruce/Caitlyn was involved in back in 2015. I can’t say when this actually aired, for I recorded it for one of those “I can’t sleep so let’s see what I’ve recorded” nights.

At one point, they had a segment with a psychotherapist – actually they had many segments with her discussing the situation – during which she said that part of the reason B/C hit the vehicles in front was that he was distracted by transitioning in view of the public. This comment caused me to exhaust my abusive vocabulary.

Granted, being part of the Kardashian circus places extra scrutiny on B/C during the transition (and that horrendous “I am Cait” didn’t help), but c’mon now – we all transition in public. We don’t go around having collisions with whatever vehicle we’re driving and some other object. Well, not unless we’re perhaps under the influence of some intoxicating liquid we don’t. Many if not most of us can’t afford to hide away in our dwelling place, only venturing out at night for bread and milk or, heavily disguised, to visit doctors, until we think we have transitioned enough to feel comfortable in daylight.

If the psychotherapist’s comment was intended to elicit sympathy for B/C, it may have worked with people not familiar with the reality, but for those of us actually going through it, it gave us a chance to exercise our command of gutter English. Does this psychotherapist not think that any person transitioning feels stress and strain? Does she not think that for some of us, doing what we do in public can be tantamount to an invitation to violence? Does she think that for people who aren’t celebrities it’s all sunshine and rainbows? Or is she only concerned with finding an excuse for why B/C was driving too fast for the conditions and consequently hit one vehicle and pushed it into oncoming traffic, then hit a second vehicle?

Listen, sweetheart, every person on this planet is under stress and strain of some kind. For many of those people the reason may not be obvious but for trans people, the reason can be highly visible. So please don’t use the fact B/C claims to be transgender to excuse his/her involvement in a fatal traffic collision.

Cat.

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What you need, not what you want

Many of us, when we start our new lives, don’t have the advantage of surrounding ourselves with a circle of advisors unlike a certain former Olympian. Instead we either go it alone or listen to the advice of friends and acquaintances.

When I began my journey in the mid-nineties there was a great dearth of support groups in the part of Ontario where I lived, so depended upon the latter. Sometimes the advice I was given was good and many times I ignored it. There were very few people though who would give me advice.

I can’t say if they felt I didn’t need any help or if they were afraid of how I might react to being offered tips on makeup and clothing. Don’t know why they would be frightened. I don’t bite (as a rule) and if I did, being trans isn’t like a virus that my bite could transmit to them. These are people who would have no hesitation criticising any of their other female friends if they felt it was warranted, yet wouldn’t say a word to me. Instead they would tell me what I wanted to hear, not what I needed to hear.

Over the past several years I’ve been fortunate to have a friend who isn’t afraid to tell me what I need to hear. If I look good, she says so; if I don’t, she’ll say that too. She’s forthright, but does it in a manner that isn’t upsetting and I appreciate that. I must admit that the one thing she has been unable to eradicate from my wardrobe are my miniskirts. They’re staying. We’ve discussed attitude this many times and agree that part of the problem seems to be that people aren’t really certain how to approach a transwoman. They can’t seem to understand that we want to be accepted as, and treated as, any other woman, so the same way they’d talk to other friends would be well received by us as well.
If we look good, tell us, if we look like a hooker, ask us what corner we normally work. We’ll get the hint that perhaps our clothing is a little inappropriate.

As I wrote above, many of us have done this on our own, without benefit of support groups or friends not afraid to tell us the truth. As a result, we may not yet embody all the best visual qualities of being a woman. So please, tell us what we need to hear, not phony compliments. We’ll appreciate the assistance. Don’t be afraid of us – we don’t bite or, if we do, you can’t catch a trans virus.

Cat.

Where are their support groups?

If you’re like me, you ignore most of Facebook’s suggested groups as being of no interest to you. Tonight though, I noticed one I have no intention of joining, but couldn’t ignore either. It was called “The Caitlyn Jenner Support Group”. Now I agree that we could all use support when we begin this journey, so my objection isn’t to the existence of the group. I just wonder if this group was started from an honest desire to support Caitlyn or from some hope to perhaps share the Jenner/Kardashian spotlight in some small way because of her former life? I just hope for her sake that anything Caitlyn gets involved in doesn’t degenerate into a typical Kardashian media circus but that hope may already be misplaced.

But my real question is this: What of those other people who chose the day Caitlyn made her debut to decide they could no longer live the lie and took their first steps into this strange new world called Trans without all the television interviews and magazine covers? Where are their Facebook support groups? No, I’m not bitter or jealous for I’ve been Cat for 19 years now and am doing quite well, thank you for asking. We’ve read recently of people committing suicide, Leelah Alcorn comes to mind, because they had no support systems and didn’t feel they could cope on their own. There may be some support groups out there, but how easy are they to find? I know of none in my town or the two towns on either side of mine.

I recently changed doctors and this new doctor is very trans-friendly. One of the first questions she asked was “who’s in your village?”, meaning “who supports you on your journey?”. If asked that question, how many people can put a number to the people who they can rely on as they go through this? I’m fortunate in that I not only have some close friends in my village, but two of my three sons also support me.

As I asked in the title though, where are the support groups for these other people who aren’t athletes or reality television personalities? They are just as deserving as Caitlyn Jenner, if not more so since they probably don’t have the same financial backing.

Cat.