Keep believing; we’ll get there

Current Department of Defense transgender policy. Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense.

by Amanda Kerri
Transgender Issues Columnist

Sometimes I look back at my old pics from my transition and wonder what the hell I was thinking. Oh, not with transitioning! Oh God, no. I’m happy I transitioned; I just wonder what the hell I was thinking at that moment. I mean seriously, duck lips?

I was 30 at the time. Orange t-shirt? I clearly cannot pull off blue streaks in my hair. Those shoes clearly did not go with that dress. Oh God, so much five o’clock shadow and bad haircuts. Transition was just one long, awkward, difficult and frankly painful process.

Between the growing pains of learning how to dress myself, learning how to navigate new social roles and dealing with the verbal and social harassment, this hasn’t been easy at all. Transitioning, even compared to my deployment to Iraq is harder. For those of you who haven’t transitioned yet, I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be a long, difficult and painful process, and you will not enjoy parts of it.

But it will be better.

You will come to a point where you can look back on all the difficulties, all the failures, all the frustrations and know that it will have a reward at the end. Yes, you will have to make sacrifices, you will feel pain, you will cry but it will be worth it.

There will be setbacks, failures and disappointment. You probably won’t end up perfectly happy with your transition; boobs aren’t big enough, your hairline sucks, hormones made you fat…on and on. Yet, you’re living an authentic life, you get to be who you want to be, you have taken control of your life.

No, it won’t be a fairytale ending. You will always have those that marginalize you, insult you and plain hate you, but you’ll also find tons of people who love you, elevate you and laugh with you.

Ask most people who’ve been transitioned for a while. Sure, they’ve got their complaints and gripes about transitioning, some things they might regret and wish were better, but they will all say they’re happier.

None of them will tell you, however, that it was easy.

I say this to remind you, Trump is attempting to roll back transgender protections by “tweeting” his idea that an entire class of people should be thrown out of the service. Further, his administration has revoked Obama’s transgender student protections. Our trans military members have been integrated into duty and some are stripped of their own dignity while he abuses us in fits of rage to distract from his own scandal.

Unfortunately this, too, is part of the process.

Achieving equality and acceptance isn’t easy, it’s painful, often disappointing and yes, there will be setbacks. If you read any history it’s the same story again and again, progress and reaction. It’s been true of civil rights, gay marriage rights and women’s rights. It’s true for us as well.

Right now, we’re in a reactionary period. It’s sort of like that period right after you come out and first start dressing in public, but still haven’t figured out how to dress or carry yourself. Yes, you made a huge step by coming out, but you have ended up drawing attention to yourself by looking like a hot mess.

Instead of the discomfort of the closet, now you have the anxiety of passing in public. But ask any person who’s been out for a while, it got better and they got over it. Like all things, this will get better. It may seem bad now, but honestly, it really is a natural part of progress. If it was going to be easy it would have been done already.

While things may seem desperate now, they may seem bleak and you’re probably scared. Just know, barring Trump nuking us all back to the Stone Age, it will get better and easier. In years to come we will all look back on this and see this as part of the long, awkward and difficult process of transitioning to equality.

Keep believing; we’ll get there.

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – September 10, 2017 @ 7:20 a.m. CDT.