26 July 2013

What Young Love Might Have Been Like

I began my gender transition in my 40's and had my surgery three days after I turned 51.  While I am glad for the time I've had--and whatever time I have remaining--to live as a woman, I cannot help to think about what might have been.

Other trans people I know who transitioned in the middle of their lives have similar feelings.  While it was undoubtedly easier to transition when I did than it would have been, say, in my 20's, I still can't help but to wonder what my life might have been like had I done so.  Would I have made different choices about school, work, relationships or other areas of my life?  Would I have lived in different places from the ones in which I've lived?  

Then again, I also realize I might not be alive now had I started my transition when I was young.  As difficult as things are for trans people now, they could only have been more so thirty or twenty years ago.  Perhaps I would have done sex work, which I think would have destroyed me mentally, if not physically.   

Still, I occasionally fantasize about having hopped on my bike or taken a bus, train or plane the day after I graduated high school (or even sooner) and ended up some place where nobody knew me.  I imagine having started a new life, under a new name and identity, among (or away from) people who did not know of my life as a boy.

I also wonder what kind of love life I might have had.  You see, I didn't date when I was in high school.  I didn't attend my senior prom, even though I served on the committee that organized it.  And, in college, even though I had a few scattered dates, I felt even more isolated than I did in high school:  I felt even more pressure to fit in with other males and to conform to ideas about maleness I'd learned up to that point in my life.

I especially think about what wasn't, and what might have been, in my youth when I hear about children and teenagers who transition.  Reading about Arin Andrews and Katie Hill really made me wonder about what my life might have been like:  They have transitioned together.  Arin is now 17 and Katie 19 and both talk about the strength each drew from seeing the other's transition.  And now they can share the comfort they feel in their own bodies, in their own selves.  

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