Understanding Transition: They aren't being selfish
The passage below is excerpted from Holding on to Hope: Help for friends and family of transgender people.
Each of us is given just one precious life to live. Choosing to live our truths isn’t selfish, and the sooner we discover what authenticity means to each of us, the happier and healthier our lives will be.
Your loved one may be in the throes of all kinds of emotion. They might be nearly manic with the joy of being truthful about who they are. They may be despondent about the impact the news could have on family members, friends, and work relationships. They might share frequently about dysphoria and hopes for entering into authentic gender expression, or they could be silent and brooding over it all.
The early phases of being out can be frustratingly self-focused, but sometimes they must be. There’s a difference between temporarily centering on self and being selfish.
When a person has had to deny their true selves throughout their lives, the act of revealing and stepping into authenticity requires a specific kind of intensive energy which necessarily self-orbits. It’s like the spinning of a top. A string is wound around it, creating a mass of potential energy, and when the string is zipped free, the force of the energy is released and the top spins into motion. It’s not the top’s fault that it bangs into things as the initial impetus is unleashed. It can’t help it.
Obviously, your loved one is a sentient being. They aren’t a toy top and so are responsible for the things they say and do, regardless of the pressures they’ve been under.
But the action of coming out and the resulting side effect of temporary self-focus isn’t selfishness. It’s salvation.
Newly out trans people are the most awkward, vulnerable, hopeful beings in the world and bullying them is like kicking a first-grader in the teeth.
Jude Ellison Doyle
Suzanne DeWitt Hall 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.