Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Back In The Closet Again

What are our choices?

One of my duties as executive director of the non-profit is to answer the phone, and normally it does take up much of my time and the calls are usually looking for information that they could have found on our blog or it is someone who wants me to do training for their agency, but it has been different for the last couple of weeks. They are now from worried trans people and there is not much I can tell them except that what they are feeling is understandable with us facing the unknown.
The Trans People Who Are Detransitioning To Stay Safe In Trump’s America
The Establishment
By Sam Riedel
November 20, 2016

Being homeless and living in a tent in the mountains wasn’t exactly where Addy had expected to be at 31. A month ago, she’d at least been bouncing from a motel to a shelter. But life has a funny sense of humor—especially when you’re a transgender woman—so Addy used her own humor to make the most of it: Alone in her remote shelter on Election Night, “I was just making weird as heck Trump statuses on Facebook,” she says. “‘Shit posting,’ as the kids call it.” Her friends rallied around her wry, Dada-esque absurdities, and even Trump’s widening lead in the electoral college was funny for a while.

Eventually, however, reality settled in. “It hit me, like, ‘oh no, this is serious.’ And I started thinking about my friends. Black, Mexican, Jewish, Muslim, trans, queer . . . they (we) are all fucked.” As hate crimes skyrocketed around the country over the ensuing week, Addy realized that to stay safe as a homeless trans woman, she’d have to take drastic measures and detransition.
I wouldn’t call it detransitioning but rather going back in the closet because detransitioning is more about realizing that transitioning is for them, not about safety.

For those who are not far along in their transition it is not that hard to go back into the closet, but someone who had GCS or has been on hormones for awhile it will be a lot harder.
Trans people who’ve been on hormones for a long time and/or have undergone GRS are in a much different boat. Amelia Gapin, who made headlines as the first transgender athlete to grace the cover of Women’s Running magazine this summer, told me that in the first 24 hours after the electoral results came in, she found herself pinging back and forth “between terror over what would happen to people like me and just feeling completely deflated and empty. Like there was nothing. Nothing at all.” Amelia, who is 33, has been transitioning since 2013; she underwent GRS earlier this year. Although she’s come so far in her journey, Amelia still considered detransitioning—something she says was partially related to thoughts of self-harm, but “it felt more like self-preservation. Detransition to blend back into the world. If I go back to playing the role of being a straight cisgender white male, all threat is removed. Not just for me, but for my wife. It was an answer to the question ‘How do I survive in a Trump/Pence-led America?’”
Then there are those who take drastic measures.
The simple, bleak answer is that not everyone will. A suicide note was posted to Instagram on November 9th; written by someone calling herself only Lydyne, the note was brief but chilling. “My parents are going to put me through conversion therapy. But they can’t,” Lydyne wrote. “I am going to kill myself tonight so I would like to thank everybody for making my life seem at least a little better online. I know a lot of people will oppose this, but my life was over the minute trump [sic] was announced president.” Although the note is one of many accounts that may remain unconfirmed, suicide hotlines were jammed following Trump’s victory, with Trans Lifeline reporting more than 500 calls by the evening of the 9th. One of them might have been Lydyne’s. Amelia says she had thoughts like that too. “Those still haven’t gone away entirely.”
The calls to the CTAC phone has dropped off but the angst that felt form talking to them and listening to their fears has taken a toll on me.

My best advice is if you are in transition change your federal documents as soon as possible, after January 20th it is a crap shoot. And if you need emotional help see your therapist or call the transgender hotline.

Locally there are...
Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective also offers ID assistance for transgender individuals every Tuesday and Wednesday. Call Diana [That's me] at 860-278-4163 for info on HGLHC's ID program
Medical clinics solely dedicated to completing the necessary paperwork and writing gender affirming letters for trans* individuals in CT who want to urgently have their documents changed will be held December 1st, December 8th and December 15th from 3pm until 7pm in New Haven, CT.
Transgender people living in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont) seeking to update their legal name and gender on federal and state documents can receive free legal representation through this rapid-response program, Pop-Up ID Project

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