|Posted by Transgender Education Collaboration on June 23, 2012 at 8:00 AM|
Today we introduce one of our new regular guest bloggers. We are excited to be featuring new bloggers!
Hi, everybody! My name is Sara Jakubowski. I'm a 32 year old transgender woman, living in the Metro Detroit area. I've been living full time in a female role since April of 2011, so in a lot of ways, I'm still discovering new things about living life on the other side of the gender-line.
For that last year since I've gone "full time," I've been keeping a blog of my experiences, at www.suddenly-sara.com. Now, the good people here with the Transgender Education Coalition have asked me to join forces with them, which I agreed to readily! I'd like to thank them for the opportunity to be a regular feature here on this site.
It's always a bit difficult being handed a deadline, and being told, "Write something." I'm certainly not saying this as a knock to the wonderful people here with TEC; quite the contrary, such a request shows a lot of trust in my creativity and clarity as a blogger. That said, it's something I struggle with my own blog, and again with this one. Often, I look for inspiration for topics around me. Some of the most seemingly unrelated things can get me to thinking about how my life as a transgender woman is effected by them, and those trains of thought often turn themselves magically into blog posts.
I'm actually writing this on June 19th. Today is my 8th wedding anniversary. My wife and I have not been together for 2 years now - some would argue we haven't been "together" for much longer than that, but that's a whole different story. I mused, though, that I had entirely forgotten about today having any significance, and how June used to be such a meaningful month for me. My coworker asked me a rather insightful question as I mused : "Do you think you'd be the woman you are today without her support?" I was immediately able to answer, "No."
There is quite a bit one could say on the subject of my ex, and my relationship with her. We certainly had our fair share of problems, and I often wonder when - not if - we would have divorced even if I had been cisgender. In spite of those problems, though, she was always supportive of me and my gender variation. Even when I had no idea where any of this was going, and I thought I just liked wearing pretty things, she was supportive. I would even go so far as to say, when I first told her that I liked dressing as a woman that fateful Halloween party, and that I'd like to maybe do that more often, the very fact that she was accepting right at that moment shaped my entire future. If she'd have told me she was uncomfortable with my dressing in female clothing, or worse, called me a freak, I would have shoved Sara back in the closet so far she'd have suffocated! It might have been years - decades - before I let her back out, if ever again. In many ways, Sara was conceived the very second my wife nodded thoughtfully and said, "I can deal with that. Okay."
That was only step one, of course. Recreational crossdressing doesn't quite compare to hormones, surgery, and living full time in this gender role. There was a long process of self-discovery that she was at my side for, as well. When I was paralyzed with fear, having come so far and realizing that I needed to transition if I was ever going to be happy again, she was the one that encouraged me to seek help, and motivated me to make that change. Ultimately, she put my happiness and well-being before her own. She helped me live.
In retrospect, every single person that didn't balk at my coming out to them was a significant point in my transition. Every person who showed support, told me I was beautiful, made an effort to use my female name and female pronouns, who lent me clothes, gave me makeup tips, and most importantly, every single shoulder I cried on along the rocky path to womanhood helped me live. There is no doubt in my mind, I would not be the woman I am today without my allies cheering me along the way.
So, my lesson to the cisgender community is this : You may be weirded out by all of this. You may think you're losing the guy or girl you've known all these years, and they're becoming someone you don't know. You may not understand. You may even object for personal reasons. None of that matters one bit. The support you show to a fellow human being today can literally count for life or death in the future. None of us go through this world alone, but it can sometimes feel like it. Loving and accepting someone for who they are, and genuinely being there for them can change lives.