Small places

I’ve met up with a local trans* support-group a couple of times although I must admit that “local” might not be the right word when you need to travel for two hours to get there. But that’s how it is living in a lovely but small village like we do. The support-group consists of mainly transvestites, a few mtfs – and me. Most of them are in their 50s and up, very nice and refreshingly secure in themselves. And even though I love talking to them (after all, that’s the reason I keep going back) I still miss “others like me” or rather the FAAB perspective. The transformation and coming out proceed is very similar for all trans*, but there are certain aspects that differ depending on what your assigned gender was, age and wether you have kids and spouse. Many of the women in the support-group are divorced, have teenage kids, are over 50 years old and came out a decade or so ago. I’m not in their shoes, literally, and society’s tolerance towards trans* has changed a lot over the last decade or so. Their experiences of coming out will most definitely differ from mine.
Last time I was really surprised when another transman came up to our table. A fully transitioned transman. With beard! Unfortunately I didn’t get to talk to him properly as we sat at opposite ends of the table and I was already engaged in a conversation, but I overheard some of his conversations with the other end of the table as he was talking about his transition in an even smaller and more remote place than where I live. He said it was such a relieve to move to a place where no one knew him before the transition as he experienced a lot of anxiety when meeting old classmates or colleagues. It got me thinking about my own situation, living in a small village and already being the odd one. The only visibly gay couple with four naked dogs that can’t behave in public… And to top that we’re going to stop being gay. We know people in the village is already talking about us; random people we meet know who we are and where we live and they know we had a baby recently. It’s a strange feeling, but for me it’s better that they are strangers, then I don’t have to take notice of what they are saying about me.
Me and my wife have always been very well accepted wherever we have lived. 15 years ago we lived in an area mostly inhabited by immigrants and other marginalized people. One of the strongest memories I have from that time is when I went to one of the small shops in the center with one of my friends. The owner of the shop, a middle-age Muslim man, didn’t greet me the way he normally greeted me and it felt really unsettling. My wife had just parked the car and joined us in the shop shortly after. When she arrived the shop owner suddenly greeted the three of us with a big smile in his usual fashion. It was like he was saying it was ok that we were gay – but changing partner, that’s a totally different matter! I honestly think he would approve of me becoming a man, as long as I stay married to my wife!!!

17 thoughts on “Small places

  1. I honestly wish I could have transitioned in my twenties or had the chance to start over where nobody knows us. Unfortunately life goes on as usual. I wish for you to be able to live and be acknowledged as the man you are and will keep following your journey and cheer you on. Peace.

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    • I like the cheering on bit, and I need it too!
      Someone once said “don’t look back – you’re not going that way” and I live my life by it. There’s a lot of things I would have done different if I could live my life all over again, but I can’t so there’s no point of thinking about it. And if I would have done things differently I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and I kind of like that person.

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  2. I’ve been thinking about support groups lately. Honestly the main thing that puts me off is that I’d like to chat to people my age and I hear support groups are often similar to what you described, full of people 50+ and/or a lot of people who just want to crossdress for giggles. I feel like I’d just end up feeling out of place. There’s an under 25 group nearby here but I’m 26, so I just missed out! Honestly I just kind of want to chill out and talk about video games and nerdy crap, rather than grandkids. I might be best crawling around on Reddit and Twitter and trying to build my own informal one.

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    • Yes! I don’t read much myself anymore, 15 years ago I suddenly forgot things I read to the point that when I finished a sentence I forgot how it started. I’m much better now but I still prefer audiobooks and writing. My wife have read most of the books though and they are set just an hour away from where we live (if it’s Wallander you’re reading).

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  3. Funny, we never find the exact kind of support we are looking for. I go to a transmasculine discussion group at our LGBT Center and there are only three of us (out of about 20) over 30! All three are late bloomers; the rest are young ones.

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    • I think it would be impossible to find the support we want. We get what we need instead (I believe in fate like that). But it sure is funny how different the support groups are!

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      • NYC is so big that in theory I should be able to find my little subset of a subset, but even when it exists it is sometimes difficult to find. In a couple more years I can invite Kris to the SAGE events (Seniors in A Gay Environment) – which includes the T.

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      • If I don’t want to travel to Stockholm on a regular basis (which I don’t, it’s almost 8 hours away) I have to make do with the group that are available within reasonable distance. I’m lucky to live within commuting distance to a large city, it could have been far worse! I know there’s a national gathering twice a year, I might attend that some time.

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