It’s the new year, a time for resolutions and improvements in our lives. It occurred to me that I have been writing this column since November of 2013 and I’ve enjoyed sharing my experiences crossing the gender divide. But, my original intent for this column was to create a forum for the trans-community to open up a dialog between those interested in trans-issues and this magazine. I had hoped folks would ask questions, seek advice, or simply share their experiences as a way to foster more understanding of the trans-experience. Most everyone in the straight world has crossed paths with someone transgender, but there is still room for greater understanding inside and outside of the LGBT community.

It’s clear that it’s better now than it’s ever been for trans-folk to come out and go through transition, at least in America, and this is largely attributed to a greater presence in media and in the local community. We needed to be more transparent. When Harvey Milk called for everyone to come out at work, to family, and to friends, he knew this was an integral part of the equation that would create the incredible advances we have all achieved. Communication and discussion has always been a key element to make it happen.

Even under the most ideal conditions and support of friends, work and family, being transgender and going through transition, is still a great challenge. There are issues in coming out at work. Kids are often still being bullied at school. Coming out to family and friends is daunting if not devastating long before it becomes liberating and rewarding. Navigating the world of dating is another major hurdle. For many it’s difficult finding a way to pay for the expenses related to transition since health insurance pays for very little and rarely for SRS. There’s the therapy required by Standards of Care, hormones, clothes, possible electrolysis, SRS, etc.

The internet is filled with information and there are dozens of sites and blogs dedicated to transgender issues these days. This is a fabulous resource that was not available to me when I was young, confused, and longing for someone to understand what I was feeling and going through. But, it would also be nice if we could hear from and/or create a local dialogue from within the Baltimore area community.

I am going to continue to share my experiences in this column and I hope they are in some way useful and/or entertaining, but I am only one voice—it would be helpful if others spoke up and contributed to the discussion. Please write in and share your experiences, issues, questions/answers, advice, anger, joy, frustrations, etc. While it was a serious matter changing my sex there was also much humor along the way that helped to lighten the load, so please share that as well. I would love to hear from you, but either way, I will still be writing this column.

May we all have a wonderful year in 2015; filled with Joy, Love, and Gender Peace!

Gay Life January 2015

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