Sunday, June 15, 2014

Why I'm Transitioning - Part 3

The last post was getting kid of long, so I split it into two.

So at that wish-washy stage, I shared my testimony about and then talked with my Bishop about falling back to what you know, to first doubt my doubts before doubting my faith.

Really, there were only two constants I could come up with.

I know the LDS church is true. I can't deny that. As a result, I didn't want to do anything that was clearly against policy. This includes SRS, because I would also like to go to the temple as endowments and such are an important part of my salvation (even if marriage has to wait for the next life). I want to stay active and in good standing with in the church, and continue to strengthen my relationship with Christ.

I identify as female. It really doesn't seem to be changing. As a result, I knew I needed to treat the distress this caused me in some way. I knew that HRT works for many people, and the church has no official stance on HRT. That it's basically just seen as a medical treatment (like blood pressure medication or something), and is okay, while of course working closely with church leaders. I also knew of people that were very active in the church and married, and able to more successfully fill their male roles in both through HRT alleviating some of the distress.

So I was pretty sure that HRT makes sense for me. The challenge is that it also makes me infertile, but I eventually reached the point where I was comfortable with just adoption, if I ever would have kids in this life (not until marriage of course). That right now mental health is more important for me to be safe, and hormones help with that.

I also came to understand that, for every person I've met that struggles with GD that I've talked to that got married, it didn't go away after marriage. That it came back at times just as strong as ever. Many of them learned ways to mostly deal with it most of the time, but it was still an extremely difficult trial for them and their wives. Some of them had to present as their identified gender some of the time. Some of them went on HRT. More recently I've learned that for many it was still so difficult that it was hard to even get out of bed at times/focus in work and otherwise, because of how overwhelmed with emotion they felt. One couple I talked with he wasn't really able to advance that well in his career either because of the distress GD caused. He found ways to be self employed and do his best, but GD was such a daily part of his life it was hard. I also met a few people that GD broke up their marriage, often after they had kids.

Thus the other constant became that, before I get married, I will make sure to tell that person that I still struggle with GD very much. Because many I've heard from say they made the mistake of thinking they had GD under control, to learn that they didn't and it was actually just receding for a time. That "pushing it away" never helped in the long run, and they had to find other ways to address it.

As an aside, my heart really goes out to these people. I don't think many people understand the sacrifice these husbands and wives go through. The husbands give up living authentically as themselves for all the distress I described in the previous post, because transition would make their wives understandably too uncomfortable. The wives also compromise amazingly, holding princess parties for their husbands, sperm banking to preserve kids so the husbands can go on HRT, talking often about a very difficult topic and trying to understand their spouse and his struggles, letting him present as female part time, etc. All because they love each other.

Still, I'm very iffy on intentionally putting myself and a spouse in such a position for the rest of my life. Many of them were acting on the limited information they had, assuming they had their GD under control and it was something that could be cured. In retrospect they learned that was an incorrect assumption, and so are doing the best they can with where they're at now. But knowing all of that I'm not sure if I could make a similar marriage commitment.

All of this means there are a few decisions that are clear to me.

First, I know I want to go on HRT. I have no medical reasons that I know of for being unable to take it, and so far it combined with a level of transition has helped those panicky things be less often and me have more energy and motivation to go through life. If anything it also helps me be more comfortable in my own skin. I also will do laser hair removal (on my face and neck), because I hate shaving. That's another thing like HRT that is just to manage my GD, and not right out transition. I am comfortable with adoption as well if I do choose to have kids later in life if I get married as well, but that's something I would have to discuss in great detail with my spouse. I also will sperm bank later if I can afford it and if it's still viable because I'm not infertile yet.

Second, regardless of marriage and transition, I want to live my life the best I can, with friends and family and other things like work I care about and can devote my life to. I'm very service oriented, so my goal in my career is to serve and help others (in whatever way my career in CS lends to), which is also true with my family and friends. This is all kinda a given, but I still feel is important to state since it really affects what other decisions I choose to make.

With these decisions made, I could either:

1: Not transition, and remain presenting as male, just looking a little more feminine than most guys being on HRT. The truth is I went through male puberty, so this is sadly probably always possible if I want. I then would go through life, hopefully doing the best I can in accomplishing my goal of living a good life serving others. I would also stay active in the church, and may or may not marry in this life. I don't know, it really depends and I'd take things as they come.

2: Transition socially. This includes HRT and laser hair removal, but also growing out my hair, practicing with makeup, slowly easing into more feminine clothes, and asking others to use female pronouns and "Dani". I feel I could remain in good standing with the church while doing so, but it's still a very difficult thing to do because it's such a huge change. And I have no idea what possibilities for marriage exist on this route. I don't know, it really depends and I'd take things as they come.

So with those stated, I feel it makes sense to choose number two. This probably isn't too much of a surprise given the title of these posts, but my reason is partially because I feel like it makes sense to at least try. I'm pretty much out to everyone so any social "damage" is already done, so it doesn't seem like I have much else to lose in trying social transition, not having any family commitments or anything. Worse case scenario it doesn't work for me, I detransition, and I find other ways to cope with life.

More importantly is my goal I stated above of living my life in a way that serves and helps others. That's what really pushed me over the edge, so to speak: I came to realize that, due to the mental health concerns and exhaustion presenting as a male creates, I'm actually better able to serve others while trying to present as female. Transition is obviously not an immediate fix, and either way requires me to work through shame and the mental health issues that I currently struggle with. But I feel like, with time, it has the best chance to help me be functional enough to best serve others. There's quite a bit more I'd like to say on this topic, but this seems sufficient for now.

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