I’m sure we’ve all heard of the It Gets Better Project.Â In some ways I agree, there are very few things worse than high school.Â At the same time, I feel like this is one of those times being transsexual is different from being gay.
For me, it hasn’t gotten better.Â Not enough.Â I am still trans.Â I still wake up every morning and am slightly surprised that my lower half is entirely different from what I feel like it should be.Â I still have days, weeks, sometimes even months where seeing myself without a shirt and pants is physically painful.Â I still have times where I wonder if that pain is worth it.
Part of this is because I have chemically based depression.Â Just like being trans, that isn’t something that is going to change.Â I’ve known that for far longer and have mostly come to terms with it.Â However, coming to terms with it has not made things any easier.
I admit, my life is much better than it was before I came out.Â I have words for my feelings now.Â I’ve found people who feel the same way and can sympathise, even if they can’t fix things.Â I’ve treated my condition in the only way anyone knows how to treat it: with legal documents and hormone injections and therapy to help with all the things that aren’t solved with a simple shot.
I no longer am so caught up in my own nameless pain that I can’t function.Â I have a successful career, incredibly close friends, and a generally decent life.Â Not amazing, I’m not rich or famous or anything, but good.Â In the most basic of ways my life is better than I could have imagined at 16.
Unfortunately, there will always be reminders.Â My trans related depression was never linked to people disapproving.Â It was never linked to bullying or bigotry.Â It wasn’t even really related to society’s perception of my gender.Â No, my depression was always due to the knowledge that I would never be fully comfortable in my own body.
Some of that has gotten better.Â I enjoy my tenor voice.Â I like the feel of slightly rough skin when I rub my face.Â I love that my slim build now allows me to develop the long, elegant muscles that I wished for during years of ballet classes.Â I will never be a bulky man, but my toned abs are a particular point of pride.
Those things are nice.Â Very nice, actually.Â However, they don’t make up for what I lack.Â They help.Â They allow me just enough strength to push through the depression.Â Most of the time they’re enough to keep it away entirely.Â There are still moments.Â Moments when it feels like nothing in the world will help because medical science isn’t moving fast enough and likely never will move fast enough, not when being transsexual is seen as something deviant rather than a condition to be treated.Â Not when medical professionals view us with emotions ranging from mild curiosity to outright disgust rather than compassion and dignity.
Yes, it has gotten better.Â It also has not.Â I am no longer a terrified young adult.Â I no longer worry about being shut out from society.Â I no longer look in the mirror and fail to recognise the face that looks back at me.Â However, these things all come with their own drawbacks.Â I am not afraid, but I am aware.Â Aware that there are people in the world who hate me simply because I exist.Â I am not isolated, but in some ways that hurts more.Â It hurts when I have to decide whether I trust someone enough to disclose.Â I recognise myself, but that’s just another reminder.Â Every day I am faced with the reality that sometimes I don’t have the mental or emotional energy to look past my waist.
For me it wasn’t quite as simple as leaving high school and coming out.Â I wish it was.Â It’s not so bad that I feel like killing myself every day as I did when I was in my late teens, but it’s also not all better.Â I’m not going to lie to people and say it is.Â It’s hard.Â Some days it still feels impossible.Â I still keep sharp objects and all ingestible medications locked away.Â Most days I don’t need to.Â Some days I do.
Not all of us will ever be fully ok.Â Some of us will always feel that pain, will always have to fight against our darker emotions.Â Is it worth it?Â I don’t know.Â For me, today, it is.Â Tomorrow I may have a different answer.Â Point is, we keep fighting.Â I don’t know if that makes us stupid or strong, but we do it anyway.