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Thread: The Cost of Transitioning

  1. #1
    I'm finally me; I'm free. LisaMarieDayon's Avatar
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    The Cost of Transitioning

    So I hope that this will be the first of many posts. I am brand-new here and stumbled upon the site by searching for transgender chat forums. I am transgender male to female and have been living full-time for a month now.

    I've been seeing a lot of posts about what it truly costs to transition; to accept one's true identity. I'm not just talking about the financial costs but the costs about family, jobs, church, friends, and kids. Everything did change for me when I finally accepted myself. This transition has not been easy. Let me start by saying from the outside looking in everything was looking great for me. I had a loving beautiful wife of 23 years. I had four kids; one 18 and three 16 year old triplets. I had a great career that paid very well. I had a huge house and went on some awesome vacations. I was close to my parents and my brother and had many friends. From the outside I should of been very happy. I had everything that a man could ever want, but I was miserable. When I was alone I would cry. I was so depressed. I tried killing myself twice. I was too ashamed to even look in the mirror because I did not like what I saw. I was living a lie. I knew I was supposed to be a woman, but did not want to give up everything I had and everyone I loved. I kept faking it day after day.

    I started seeing a new therapist two years ago. For several months I discussed my dysphoria with my therapist. I kept telling her how much I want to transition but it would cost me so much. Almost everyone knew that I was a cross-dresser and would only dress in private. They were okay with that; out of sight out of mind. My parents admitted that they were uncomfortable about cross-dressing, my brother could not stand anyone that was LGBT, and my coworkers made fun of cross-dresser/ transgender passengers. At the time my kids seem very accepting of breaking gender norms, but my wife couldn't stand my cross-dressing. If people had difficulty accepting my cross-dressing how could they accept the real me? I told my therapist I would lose everything if everyone found out I was transgender. I was barely hanging onto my relationships. One day when I came in she pulled out her cell phone and read, "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom"-- Anais Nin. I immediately burst into tears. I knew that I've been living very tight in that bud and that was causing me so much pain. I knew I had to blossom. I couldn't lie to my friends or my family anymore, but most importantly I realized I had to stop lying to myself. I hit my breaking point; I will no longer be living a lie. I was coming out.

    I was told to be optimistic about coming out. I've always had a worst-case scenario mindset. My therapist told me I should give people a chance to know the real me. I wish I could tell you all that everyone accepted me and everything is just perfect. I'm sad to say, it did cost me a lot. After coming out to my parents, they refused to talk to me for over two months. I haven't spoken to my brother in the last several months. My kids that seemed so accepting and open-minded (my oldest daughter is a lesbian and my youngest son is bisexual) rejected me. In fact they told me I ruined their lives and I had to put myself in the hospital to keep from killing myself. My wife of 23 years left me. I lost my house. I lost my vacations. I took a huge financial hit with paying child support. After the dust settled I asked myself, "So was it worth it?".

    "Yes."

    It took a while, over a year, for to me get back on my feet mentally. My parents who said they will only call me Jason, have been working really hard at calling me Lisa Marie. They have fully accepted me now and recently I overheard my dad refer to me as his daughter. My kids are starting to come around and I think that one day they will fully accept me. While I am no longer married I have a great relationship with my ex. Turns out she couldn't accept me as transgender as her husband but now that we are friends she is one my staunchest allies and supporters. I have met an amazing woman that fully loves and accepts all of me and has been a great companion throughout my journey so far. I never thought in a million years that a female at birth would love me for me. My brother has permanently written me out of his life, but I realized it is his fault. He is the one that chose to walk away and I hold no responsibility for him doing so. It hurts because we were really close, but he is the one with the issue not me. Does kinda suck though going from a 3000 square-foot house to a 900 square-foot apartment but I'm grateful to have a roof over my head.

    Now I have been living full-time for a month. I came out to my human resources department last October and informed them I am planning on transitioning from a male to a female. I was nervous and unsure how well this will go. Human resources told me I would have their full support and have been outstanding. Not only did my focus supervisor give me her full support, the CEO reached out to me personally and told me to let him know if anyone was giving me problems. Unfortunately, I am a city transit bus driver and get flak every day from the passengers about being transgender. I hate to admit it hurts having a bus full people laughing and call me gay slurs, but when I ask myself, "Was transitioning worth it?"

    "Yes."

    I've discovered that despite all I've lost, I still firmly believe it was worth it; I've also gained a lot. Not only did most of my pre-transition friends stayed I've met many new ones. I have never been happier with myself. I am no longer dysphoric; for the most part. While it did cost me my marriage and damage my relationship with my parents, kids and my brother, I still know I did the right thing.

    I can finally look in the mirror without shame, which is something that I've never been able to do in my entire life. For me it was worth the cost. For those that are considering transitioning don't only focus on what it will cost you, but also consider that you may finally be at ease with yourself (I know everyone's struggles are different). For me, not living a lie is extremely peaceful.

    Lisa Marie

  2. #2
    Senior Member Maid_Marion's Avatar
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    Hi Lisa Marie,

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Marion

  3. #3
    Isn't Life Grand? AllieSF's Avatar
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    Lisa Marie,

    Yes, thank you for your well written story. I am glad you are on your way to total freedom everywhere. I transitioned a few short years ago and am not sure if I truly lost anyone, but there are probably a few injured souls out there now. I did have problems with my adult children, but they have pretty much come around. It is so free to be me, regardless what others think. Keep up the good work and be ready for a few roller coaster dips and rises. It can actually be fun with the right attitude.

    One additional recommendation for you is to try out Susan's Place (susans.org) for additional information about all the various aspects of transition, from surgeries, hair removal, name and gender changes, etc. There is a lot of information here and there and well worth the effort when you need help, social or details!

    Allie

  4. #4
    Member Leasa Wells's Avatar
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    I am sitting here with tears running down my face. Your story resonates the struggles we face transitioning an our hopes and dreams. I made it to the other side an i can tell you the inner feeling the acceptance out weighs the past. May your journey continue to blossom by the love you received an your love to give.

    Leasa

  5. #5
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    Lisa Marie,
    At first it doesn't make any sense to gamble with our lives , if you were in accountancy the profit and loss sheets would tell not to take that risk .

    You story resonates with me as I'm sure it it does many others , the bottom line for me was my wife couldn't live with my TG situation and I couldn't couldn't live without it . I have two adult children and three granddchildren and after separating three years ago set up a new home as Teresa , I divorced this year . I consider myself very lucky that we split the sale of our home 50-50 so we were both able to buy new homes suitable for the family to call .

    It's so good to read you are getting back family support , it has to take time , no one can rush the difficult choices they have to make . An important point to consider is it's not always your fault the way other people react , sometimes we touch a nerve in them so it's for them to deal with it not you .

    I look back at the good times and great holidays not with regret at their loss but something to retain as good memories . Like you I'm sure we could both say we were good husbands who did their best for their family , gave them a nice home and took care of their needs . You now have the opportuntiy to build a new life with new friends , it is lovely to say I have gained more new friends than I lost .

    After almost three years my son phoned to ask if he could drop in for a coffee , he was fine , I have been going out with my daughter to shows and shopping the whole time , my mother has accpeted me and calls me Terri .

    As for transition you are being guided by your counsellor , I didn't know how I felt about transition until I lived full time , now my life is in balance I'm not sure if I need to go further , I'm sure you will see the situation clearer as the dust settles .

    The important things we need are time and patience , many of our fears and doubts subside given time , I wish you the very best for the future .
    Last edited by Teresa; 02-03-2021 at 09:51 AM.

  6. #6
    Gold Member Lana Mae's Avatar
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    Transition or the lead up to it have costs and benefits for us all! I repressed my desires and all related to it for decades! My wife was totally against me wearing women's clothes! Repression was the cost and two wonderful children and marriage of 34 years and 5 months! She passed away! I mourned as I really loved her! That lasted 3 months and then GD hit me like a tidal wave! I have not looked back! Everyone in my life has accepted me as Lana Mae! Most stated that I have to be me! My children just want me to be happy! My friend in PA wrote and stated he did not agree with my life style but still and always will consider me his friend! I am accepted at work as well! My loss is mostly my repression and the knowledge that the surgeries are beyond my reach! GD sneaks in now and then over the surgeries but I am able to push it away! I have gained so much and I will not bore you with all of that! I have found peace at last! Best wishes on your journey! Hugs Lana Mae
    Life is worth living!
    "Foxy lady! You look so good!!" Jimi Hendrix

  7. #7
    happy to be her Sarah Charles's Avatar
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    The costs are easy to identify and we hear about them all the time. My losses have been minor but real, however the benefits tend to be a little more hidden and more difficult to define in a way that can resonate with others who haven't experienced them.

    My successes in life were slightly less wonderful because they were under a shadow as I wondered how it would feel to experience that event as my true self. Now even the smallest victories are felt more deeply than was ever possible before stopped being dishonest with myself. I wouldn't have understood that until I felt it, but it is a benefit nonetheless. There is so much less time invested in self-negotiation and planning between different interactions with others, that like Lana Mae, I finally notice the peace I now feel.
    Sarah
    Being transgender isn't a lifestyle choice. How you deal with it is.
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001872677630

  8. #8
    I'm finally me; I'm free. LisaMarieDayon's Avatar
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    It's great hearing that I am not alone with the decisions of cost vs gain. I hope everyone that reads my post understands that I am not advocating one position or another; rather just what it cost me personally. Everyone's experience is different. I have a trans friend that has decided to live the rest of her life in the closet and not ever let anyone in her family know she is trans. For her she isn't willing to risk the cost of losing her wife and kids. There wasn't anything wrong with my choice, and there isn't anything wrong with her choice either. It's important to get the big picture and not rush into any decisions.

  9. #9
    Aspiring Member Barbara Joanne74's Avatar
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    Lisa Marie, thank you so much for being open and sharing this with us. I have begun to contemplate the realities if I were to transition and this helps frame my thoughts more clearly.
    I am so glad to hear that even though there were some dark days, the future seems brighter.

    Barbara

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    Lias Marie,
    Your friend made the decision that was right for her and her family , no one can say if it's right or wrong . From my own perspective living with that compromise for an extended period wasn't possible . Often the fears of what we lose don't always happen but it is a balancing act between your happiness and that of others . You saw it differently and risked far more , OK I accept we do pay a price for trying to be true to ourselves but as you mention the alternative is far worse and possibly permanent , I know because I almost went there .

  11. #11
    Call me Pam pamela7's Avatar
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    Wow, that is a load off your chest, hopefully to be replaced with the right kind of chest loading!

    Your thoughts lead me to wondering if perhaps having a large cost is a necessary test and affirmation - without it, how would we really know we had done it for the right reasons?

    And welcome to our forum.


    xx Pam
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJFyz73MRcg
    I used to believe this, now I'm in the company of many tiggers. A tigger does not wonder why she is a tigger, she just is a tigger.

    thanks to krististeph: tigger = TG'er .. T-I-GG-er

  12. #12
    Senior Member mbmeen12's Avatar
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    Miss Lisa I am very glad you found that reason to make one happy. My personal story, the past 8 years here Ive had to a walk metaphoric knifes edge. I am 2 months from being retired again (Covid-19 drew me back to work since I am a first responder). I too can go back to being me.
    Escapism isn't necessarily bad, but is definitely unhealthy in the long term. While helpful in the short term, things will degrade over time. At some point, the escapee will have to face the issue. Things simply blowing over isn't really going to happen in many situations.

  13. #13
    Silver Member IleneD's Avatar
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    I am almost 2 yrs into HRT. I too have, or had, it all. Retired military officer, fighter pilot. Wife of 40+ years, grown kids, the house, .... everything.
    When I started down this road I spent a couple years prior in therapy and support groups. One common theme ran through the transition stories of my Sisters.
    THIS IS MAJOR LIFE CHANGE. IT WILL COST YOU SOMETHING VALUABLE. without fail.
    The best allegory I learned was this: BURN YOUR SHIP.

    When Hernan Cortes landed on the shores of the Yucatan, he was seeking wealth in gold, silver and other riches beyond his wildest imagination. Cortez had only 11 ships and a few hundred men. For over 600 years, vast empires with enormous resources at their disposal had attempted to invade and conquer the vast Aztec empire ending in their own deaths, destruction and dismal failure.

    During the sail he would speak to his men in an effort to instill courage in them. His fiery rhetoric was unable to convince his soldiers to fully commit to his plan and he knew it! When his small force landed on the shores of this vast and powerful empire, he knew he had to do something. After all his speeches , he knew they had their doubts and that many would tremble in fear at this overwhelming adversary and retreat in defeat. He knew he had to do something. SOmething that would create a situation where his forces would either conquer the Aztecs or die in the attempt. He did so in three words.
    He ordered his men to "Burn the Ships"
    It could have gone horribly wrong. There was no other option but to fight and win, or die.

    If you are going to successfully transition, make no mistake, you are going into battle; a battle that could kill you. You shall indeed have to "BURN YOUR SHIPS", letting go of virtually everything you have ever had. The price of admission is high and you face being disfigured for life, or potential death at the hands of those who hate you, or by your own hand when you just can't take it anymore.

    You are playing with a fire that at any moment can rage out of control and destroy you. If you cannot grasp and realize the potentialities of this, you need to stop! You need to stop and re-evaluate if this is truly what you must do. Because if it isn?t, you'll perish as many, many have. You had better want it more than anything else in your life. This is NOT a dress up game! You need to prepare to die for it!

    I know your story, dear. I am living it too. I still have some of my past and good life with me and haven't lost everything.... yet. It can still happen.
    Knowing all this, I still proceeded, and continue HRT & transition. There really was no choice. The choice made me.
    PEACE be with you. The sense of loss is crushing but you had no other option.
    Last edited by IleneD; 02-18-2021 at 11:51 PM.
    There resides within me a Woman, and she is powerful.
    She has been my Grace and Bearing on the stormiest seas.
    I could no more deny Her than I would my own soul.

  14. #14
    Davina Katherine Davina Katherine's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing your pain and your joy. You are very courageous!
    Last edited by Davina Katherine; 02-18-2021 at 07:20 AM.

  15. #15
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    Like many here, I have paid a great deal for my transition, emotionally, physically, and financially, yet I don't think it's helpful to reiterate all my details, most of which are back in the history of my posts, if anyone's interested. But this is a good opportunity to mention what it is that I received, in return, for those investments. In short - a long-sought sense of well-being.

    While a picture may be worth a thousand words, how about an actual thousand words? Or, make that several thousand... Following is a link that leads to a wealth of scientific, medical and psychological studies that lay out the many nuances of cost and benefit for those of us who need to transition and actually seek to do so:

    http://https://whatweknow.inequality.cornell.edu/topics/lgbt-equality/%20what-does-the-scholarly-research-say-about-the-well-being-of-transgender-people%20/

    The extremely high cost that many of us have paid for peace and well-being should be balanced, some a bit more, some a bit less, with what we have received. The evaluation of this bargain is strictly an individual matter, but hopefully supported as much or more on factual information, than it is on your emotions. This is likely the most important decision you will ever make, so make it carefully.
    ​​ღϠ₡ღ✻ Ϡ₡Ϡ₡Ϡ₡Ϡ₡Ϡ₡✻ ღϠ₡ღ✻

    No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent
    Eleanor Roosevelt

    ​​​ღϠ₡ღ✻ Ϡ₡Ϡ₡Ϡ₡Ϡ₡Ϡ₡✻ ღϠ₡ღ✻

  16. #16
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    Thank you for sharing. Many parts resonate with my story, but my wife was fully supportive of my dressing during my long period of denying to myself that I had to transition. It was not easy for her to start, but she came around, and wished my all the best on my transition. My final delay in transition was to support her through a major medical challenge. Sadly, my #1 supporter lost her battle last Fall, but between the supporting her and Covid, this past year has given me much time to contemplate my choices and my future. I am now committed to proceed where I've been denying my need to do so for many decades. Stories as the ones I've read here give me hope that the other side of the tunnel will indeed be a better place, and my fears of loss, though possible, are not a guarantee for every person or position.

    Hugs,
    Evelyn

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