Have you read this blog post? http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?p=3631&cpage=1#comment-41986
It's an elegantly phrased call-to-attention for all transfolk about the fact that, as weak as many may feel, what all trans people have in common is their "integrity." She says this because in order to allow oneself to go through with the transition, one must be willing to give up everything.
This is a true statement, I think, especially for adult trans people. Kids don't have as much, if anything, to lose.
What I first thought about after reading this blog was, "Does this apply to ALL trans people?" I mean, from my understanding, only transsexuals have that overwhelming urge to transition, even if they don't. Those who are called "transgendered" occupy many positions on the gender identity spectrum, but none are medically diagnosed with a gender dysphoria that can only be cured with gender reassignment. To me, how anyone else "comes out" or doesn't is a choice that is not necessarily absolutely necessary.
Okay, so let's say I'm wrong and that anyone who considers him/herself a "trans person" risks losing everything if he/she tells the secret. Why is this "integrity"?
Integrity has two major definitions: honor and wholeness. At first glance, I questioned its usage here because from my experience with Natasha, her decision to tell me and everyone else was not because she needed to be honest but because she couldn't stand not doing anything about it anymore. Yes, after a while, she would say that she couldn't stand the "lying" to people, but truthfully, was it the lying that was so painful or the hiding? They're not the same. For transsexuals in particular, there is a NEED to transition. If one doesn't start the process, then one must live with the constant pain of denial. Even during the process, just waiting for each step is... painful. So, is telling everyone... stepping out of the darkness and into the light... an honest move or is it a move to stop the pain?
Having thought that, I reminded myself that coming out can cause its own kind of pain: that of loss and segregation. This was the point of the article, after all. But again, if you have a giant axe in your leg and if you pull it out you'll bleed a ton but you'll survive, whereas if you leave it in, you'll slowly die of blood loss and infection, which choice do you make?
What about "wholeness"? That's like the integrity of a ship's hull. Without it, the ship would sink. In that respect, I think "integrity" is what trans people are looking for. Part of that search is letting people in so that any rebuilding of a person's foundation of support can take place. Telling people and risking their rejection of you enables you to continue forward towards wholeness.
PLEASE!!!! DON'T THINK THAT I'M TRYING TO DIMINISH LISA'S POST!!!
There needs to be a tremendous willingness to sacrifice meaningful relationships and other things in your life when you come out as a trans person. I'm just saying that I'm not sure it's "integrity" that moves a person to do it. I'm arguing semantics. :-)
I think a better word is: courage.
Courage means bravery: a willingness to face fears or pain or danger.
Why courage? Didn't I just say that I thought most trans folk NEED to come out? Yes, I did. You tell me if everything you NEEDED came easily. Did you just say, "I need this job" and you got it? NO! You had to work for it. You had to kiss somebody's butt or get that stupid degree or sit in traffic for two hours to get that job! What you NEED rarely comes to anyone without a fight and sisters (and brothers), you sure had to fight your way past your own fears to come out and say that you are who you are. You had to say to yourself, "As much as I need to do this, to make myself feel right, can I do it even if I lose everyone I love and everything I have? Is it THAT important?" You answered, yes, and so you gathered up your COURAGE to tell your loved ones, hoping so strongly that you were not wrong about their unconditional love for you.
And sometimes, you were wrong. But you did it anyway and you continued to move forward.
Natasha, my wonderful, funny esposa, you ARE courageous. You might not have all the strength you wish you could have, but you must be courageous to have stepped through the fire.
...Stay tuned. I have another post on the way wherein I will attack partners who leave because of a LACK of integrity and courage...