If everything is so painful, why don't trans people just go back in the closet?
My transmasculine husband Declan periodically re-reads my books and asks me to post entries from them in this blog. Today he asked that I share this one, because trans existence is tremendously challenging under normal circumstances, and these past months of political footballing have made things even worse. Given the difficulty, trans people often contemplate going back in the closet. Their loved ones also wonder if it's just the best thing to do. But is it?
Have a read.
The passage below is excerpted from Reaching for Hope: Strategies and support for the partners of transgender people.
Turning Around Is Hard
As you contemplate the challenges of transitioning and worry about the disruption it could mean for your lives, the fear and apprehension can feel overwhelming for both of you. Your level of discomfort may get so intense that you can’t help but wish your loved one could just return to their previous state of hiddenness. You might think that if they’d simply do that, all the disruption and confusion would disappear, and life would return to the stasis you previously considered normal.
But the life before your loved one revealed their truth wasn’t experienced by them the way it was by you. For them, the storm had been brewing and growing until the atmospheric pressure of dysphoria, denial, and deceit became unbearable. The blue skies you saw were simply an illusion.
It’s hard for trans people to go back into hiding. The taste of freedom and authenticity is heady. For many, it’s not possible to go back to an existence of shame, deception, and discomfort, even though they recognize that life will be a new kind of difficult.
Most people don’t like to hide truth or deceive others. All people want to be accepted for who they are. Turning back to living that way is often simply not possible.
Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity.
Suzanne DeWitt Hall (she/they) is the author of the Where True Love Is devotional series, the Living in Hope series of books supporting the loved ones of transgender people, The Language of Bodies (Woodhall Press, 2022), and the Rumplepimple adventures.