I'm Samantha, from the UK, a Happily Married Trans Woman & Mother.
It took me far too much of my life realize that the only person holding me back from being my true self, was me...In fact, I was well into my 30's before I finally took the leap to begin living my authentic life. Sure, it was a long time coming but, I’ve never been happier.
The world isn’t easy for trans people but, day-to-day life is fairly “normal” (yuck – I hate that word). That’s not to say though that I don’t face a few problems. Some I expected, some I didn’t…
There are all the obvious things we worry about. What if my family disown me? What if I lose my job? etc. but I have been very lucky in that respect. I haven’t been disowned, my clients are still happy to work with me, and my family are being really supportive.
The biggest problem I have really had to get my head around though is that I suddenly feel like a target. The recent explosion of negative media, political assaults and acts of physical violence towards trans people is hard to ignore. Maybe it was always there but, until now, it didn’t feel like it was directed at me.
For instance, when the UK media was having a field day, slating trans people within Rainbows (That’s the UK Girl Guides for younger kids), it felt like a personal attack. My daughter had a meeting planned at Rainbows the day after a huge story broke. I won’t lie, I felt really exposed there. Exposed myself, and worried for my daughter. That evening though, I still walked my daughter down to her meeting. What else could I do? I wasn’t going to hide who I am!
Now, if I’m not careful here, I could paint a picture of the world being a very bleak place for trans people right now. Truth is though, from my experience, most people simply aren’t as awful as you might think. In fact, most of the people I meet have never met a trans person, have no idea of the hate in the media and are largely outraged when I explain to them what is actually happening in the world right now. Most people are generally really lovely and able to see past “what I am” to see “who I am.”
I guess my point is, don’t let the bleak picture the media portrays define who you are as a person. I really did let it get to me and it’s done nothing for my self-esteem.
It’s not just about ignoring the awful things you hear, you need to actively look after yourself too. It took me years to understand what was meant by “Self Care” but, now I really understand the benefit of it. We all need to take a little time off from our lives being simply about our gender identity.
When I really want to chill, I run a lovely hot bubble bath. I can lay there for an hour or so, with a good book and just relax. When its time to get out, I wrap myself up in a snuggly onesie or some new PJ’s (maybe even have a glass of wine) and let myself unwind. Self Care is taking that little bit of time for yourself, it’s important.
Equally as important though is to make time for the people in your life. My wife, my daughter, my family and friends were always a massively important part of my life. They are going through a lot too, so I am making an extra special effort to make sure life just carries on as before. Dinner with the parents, days out with little one, and nights out with my amazing wife. Nothing’s really changed in that aspect, and it feels lovely.
Every trans person I have met on my journey has their own incredible story to tell. We are so lucky to have such an amazingly supportive community around us. A visible community is something I wish I could have had when I was growing up (in the dark ages of dial up internet) but, it simply wasn’t there. That’s why I was so grateful for the opportunity to write this for Action Link.
I think the most important thing we can do as trans people is to be visible. To show the world that we are, that we are real people, that we have real lives and to help them see that we are not a threat to anyone.
Anyway, that’s my two pence on that. Thanks for reading and I wish you all the very best in your journey.
Love & Hugs