1. The act of being social with other people during the process of changing to the gender roles and physical composition that match one´s gender identity.
I want to talk about this subject -the act of socializing while at some stage of transition – because I feel it constitutes a common problem among transgender people at various stages in their transition, yet is very little discussed. At the same time this is my view of offering people a peek at what´s going on in my life and – in plenty of occasions – into my conspicuous absence. When I get invited to come along to an event there´s several considerations to carefully weigh in my head.
First, there is the concern that I pass in the eyes of strangers (i.e strangers see me as the gender I identify with). Outwardly, I pass. But as I wrote before, inner confidence does a lot to undermine self-image. Days when my confidence is low, I often feel like I have to put on an act. That means everything I do gets scrutinized by an inner mechanism that tries to predict what other people think, including interpretations of the things I do – in particular, gestures, stance, glance, and verbal communication.
Needless to say, this is exhausting. The tired response to this problem, of course, is stop worrying about what people think. But that´s just it. It´s not about what they think. When I feel insecure, I start feeling like the whole gender thing is a charade. When I flaunt it to other people, I´m trying to convince myself by convincing them. Tricky, eh? The same goes for social events where family is involved. The more familiar they are with my old self, the more I feel like I have to put up a fight to be credible.
The second part of the consideration concerns my body. When I go out, I can shape the body I have – the one that in my mind belongs to the opposite sex – by wearing corrective garments. But I can only control it to a certain extent. Which means that even simple things like just taking a piss can induce anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety will block a part of my brain so I´m not even able to urinate, making me pass the extent of the event fixated on my bladder.
For all these reasons socializing is just very tiresome. Sometimes I feel like I spend all the social time by focusing on myself, instead of being able to focus on others. And even that is exhausting. As I said I believe a lot of people who are transitioning are in a similar spot. So if your friend just came out as transgender or is in the process of transitioning, and they sort of disappeared; don´t be worried. They´ll be back.*
*Coined by… me, I think.
*Unless you don´t hear anything from them, then I´d be worried…