accept. embrace. live. There's a lot in that title. I'm past the accept part. I'm stuck somewhere between embrace and live. Clearly, I still have a lot of work ahead of me.

I went to a gathering tonight with a bunch of friends that I've known for a few years, most of whom I see once every couple months or so. I'm trying to figure out why I felt so uncomfortable in a roomful of friends. It certainly wasn't because of anything anyone said or did, save the occasional pronoun slip-up. Everyone was completely friendly, kind, all that good stuff. I have less in common with them than I once did... these were all triathlon friends who I trained and raced with. Life has been consumed with transition for the past year-and-a-half, so I've not trained, and I'm not sure if I'll get back into it again.

I'm also realizing that I'm not comfortable being the transsexual in the room. At least when everyone knows. It'll be nice when I just feel like a "normal" person and conversations aren't exclusively about transition. Bleh. I'm not there yet, much to my chagrin. I felt very quiet and withdrawn tonight, almost invisible. Was talking with a friend and his new girlfriend, whom I hadn't met before. As we're talking, he uses the wrong pronoun, which resulted in a very crinkled forehead on the new girlfriend. I guess she hadn't figured it out, before that, anyway. That sucked. I watched the other women socializing, dancing, carrying on the way women do, and I don't fit in that way with this group. I know many of them will read this post, and I hope they know it isn't because of them; they've been nothing but supportive. Anyway, I'm not quite comfortable enough with myself just yet to let go completely. I wish I was there, but I'm not. Much of it is because of my voice. Besides, I've never been too good at parties. One on one or small groups is more my comfort zone.

So I caught up with everyone I wanted to catch up with, and retreated to the couch. I sat down next to a woman I didn't know. I was trying to think of something to say to her (um, how about "Hi, I'm Faline," you idiot!?!) when a guy yelled something across the room at me, pointing and using the wrong pronoun. I doubt many in the room noticed. But I did, of course, and was mortified. That was the point when I decided I needed to go. On the drive home I wondered when my life would feel normal again. Someday...


Faline, it took me five years and four moves to finally reach that point where I'm "just another woman". Originally, all of the people I'd hang out with had known me prior to transition, so I kind of know how you feel. People were always cool with me being a transsexual, but yeah, it still sucked. It's so much better now, though it does take some getting used to.

You'll get there in time, though it will likely mean breaking some old ties and creating new ones.

I think that confidence is a very tricky thing. I am also very afraid of my voice and see it as the biggest challenge in all of this. I am torn between thinking that these types of incidents spurn us on to become better or whether they are just downright nasty. If I keep my mouth shut I pass. Many years of smoking and testosterone have made my voice what it is.

I think it's the well meaning people accidentally misusing pronouns which hurts the most. You know they don't mean to hurt or embarrass you. But it reminds you that even the nice people in your life don't really see you as being a woman.

For as good as my transition has gone, I'd be lying if I denied the temptation to move away and start over some place where no one knew my pre-transition past. Maybe something less drastic like a vacation first. Want to share a room in Maui? ;-)

This is what comes with people knowing you from before and being out. You have to embrace your uniqueness and wear it proudly or hang out with different people and make new friends who don't know.

The uncomfortableness will come back every time you entrust a new friend with your past. It's not something people always keep to themselves. Yet I've noticed that those who never knew me as male and now know I am trans don't make pronoun mistakes.

I tried being the proud tranny but those missed pronouns are like sucker punches when you least expect them. They hurt.

Confidence is something that comes with time, as well as with knowing that your presentation is how you want it to be, including voice. You work on it, and it will come along. But it also helps immensely to be with people who have only known you since you transitioned. When you are ready, you might want to meet new people. I'm a big fan of You can find people nearby who are interested in things you're interested in (which might be new things to you).

And: If you ever find yourself with a new friend who didn't know you pre-transition, with a nagging feeling that they are somehow entitled to know this detail about you, that otherwise you can't really be intimate friends, that they can't really 'know' you unless they know this detail about you - that's not true.

It may be perfectly appropriate and necessary to share it with someone for your own reasons. But whatever those reasons are, they should have nothing to do with a notion of someone else's requirements for really "knowing" you. Here's why I think this is true: Saying (via behavior) "you can't really know me unless you know this about me" is also saying "I endorse the idea that you are justified in seeing me differently based on this information," and that is so not true.

It has nothing to do with how the person reacts, either, even if they don't see you differently. It has to do with what you, internally, consent to.

That is my exposition of the day :)


Wow, lots of great and helpful comments here, all around. Thank you, everyone.

@Angel: Thanks... it's good to know that I am where other successful women used to be. This too shall pass, right? I know it's probably true, but it is saddening to think about breaking old ties. Que sera, sera.

@Kathryn: my voice is marginal.. not at all where it needs to be. I can't speak confidently. Really holds me back.

@Diana... yes... the guy who used "he" in front of the GF, totally supportive guy. Gave me a big hug when I saw him. Maui? Hmm... sounds wonderful, but since you know that I'm trans, I'm afraid you might mess up pronouns!! :)

@Teri: Yes, it hurts a lot. And so unexpected. Sucker punch is a great analogy. It's not that I am ashamed of who I am... but on the other hand, I won't want to walk around wearing a transsexual sandwich board. :)

@Ariel: I'm sure when I'm ready that I will want to. Meetup sounds like a great idea... one thing I've always wondered is how does a 40-year old woman meet new people?

@David: That's a great point, and something I never considered. I know I will be in that situation in the future, and I will try to remember your advice. Thanks.

Morning Faline,

Trust me, it does get better, this is a process of growth and changeand you, Faline are becoming a VERY different person than you were so its only natural for your old friends will all drift away, and if they do not, you will!

Loneliness is one of the harder things we have to bear in this... at the time when you need friends the most they are the unaccessible and becoming more so!

But it will get better... just focus on yourself and not so much on the social! Remember this is not easy, it is anything but fun, but it does... if you do the work.... end!

A Sister

Faline, being born transsexual is a nightmare. Transition is worse!It certainly is not an end in itself. The only good thing about it, is that it ends. How it ends is in your hands and depends very much on what you want and need in the end.
People do not always mean to be unkind and they often do not intend to inflict the hurt of a slipped pronoun but they do. One of the most painful stages of people who know is they think it is ok to throw out hints in the company of others who do not know. A comment and a knowing wink at you. They may mean nothing but kindness by it, however it stings and begins to get tiresome.
The person who posted before this "A Sister" is someone I know well and many years ago I had a similar conversation with her that the exchange here is dealing with. She has just said to you now what I said to her back then "If old friends do not drift away, you will"
Have a goal in mind and build and rebuild your life towards it one piece at a time and try not to take too big a step each time. It will hapen for you if you want it badly enough.
My best advice to anyone is "Genesis" begin again start every aspect of your life again. If there needs to be exceptions keep them separate one from the other.

Another Sister

I would say it's not impossible for old friends to get over it, and eventually "forget," and get back to just knowing YOU. What's happening right now is that this one characteristic is much more salient to them than it is to you; to others (both the old and new people) this is suddenly the most interesting and important thing about you.

You would think that the more intimate information you have about a person, the better you know them. The irony with this is that by knowing this bit of information, because it seems to them so much more important than it really is, they actually know you less. It ends up distorting and erasing you, because being transsexual is NOT the most important or interesting thing about you.

I hope those people do read this, so they can start examining their own assumptions and thinking about it differently. I think it's a natural reaction, and nobody is to blame, and it would suck to end friendships that could move beyond this.


Yeah you'll get there girl. I have definitely gotten to a point where I don't feel the need (or have the desire) to talk about my transition all the time. There's other things going on in my life nowadays.

You'll get there...and sometimes you need new friends that never knew you before.

Hi T! I just read this...I wasn't there, but I can tell you at times I'm uncomfortable too. There's a lot I don't have in common either! I'm sorry you had to go through that. It has to be very hurtful and embarrassing, and I'm sure, equally embarrassing for those at the party. I apologize in advance if I make such a mistake, its just all my memories come from the past.

Must be time to make some new ones. :)


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