Topic Discussion: Being Transgender…

 

This week I restarted my blog with the book review for “I Am Jazz.” This was partially because I wanted to engage this blog with diversity conversations immediately and it was also partially so that I can be straight forward from the first moment of this blog in stating that yes, I am transgender. I am male to female transgender. I am part of a group that I recognize is highly ostracized within the United States. We are frowned upon because many people incorrectly assume that we are predators. The reality, for me, is that most of my life I felt wrong, but I never could actually pinpoint what the issue was. I thought for many years that it was because I identified as a gay male. Due to situations that I found myself within in life (homelessness, domestic violence relationships, and several other things that I will probably discuss at another point of the blog) I never was fully able to process gender identity as being separate from sexuality. They were too infused because I was in constant survival mode. I was figuring out how to survive. When you don’t fully know where your next meal is coming from you can’t process that you may have internal feelings that make you different in your gender than the “norm.” As a result, I struggled. Largely with feelings of unhappiness that had settled within myself that kept saying something is wrong with your life, but again I just couldn’t figure out why I felt this way.

Several years ago my life started getting better. I had a partner that I loved and I had a stability that I hadn’t known before. It was when this stability finally hit me that I started the hard process of coping and dealing with my gender identity. When I started processing my emotions related to gender I recognized that I felt that I should have been born a female and I wondered why I hadn’t been born as such. It was a weird revelation to come to. I had seen others in the transgender community and knew that I didn’t identify with gender in the same ways they did. For example, many of them felt some type of sexual attachment to gender changes, but I didn’t have that. I thought I couldn’t be transgender since I didn’t share all of their experiences. I had a limited view of what it meant to be transgender because of the group that I had been around. As I started trying to understand myself better, I started seeing a wider community. That the transgender community encompasses all types of people. People with varied experiences, some very much like my own that simply understood that they were born into the wrong body and wanted to make that change over to what they should have always been. When I fully recognized that I was transgender, I spoke with my partner at that time and he, as a gay male, knew that the transition was something that he could not fully accept. We ended up breaking up. It was devastating for me, since I hadn’t known stability like this before in my life. It made me question if maybe I was just crazy and going through a rough time. I pushed gender back to the side, away from myself.

2 years ago, a new relationship was forming. Before I could enter into it though I recognized that I needed this person to understand me for who I was. When I got these feelings of needing him to know who I was I knew that I was truly transgender. He accepted me for who I was and told me that he loved me for who I was and was not caught up on if I was male or female (we have been together ever since). The process of becoming my true self has been a slow painstaking one. I live in a very rural community and I also have had some anxiety related to the transition, but I make small strides nearly every single day. I have had roadblocks placed before me (trying to start or get on hormones has been a NIGHTMARE!). Many days I feel depressed over the whole situation, but I push through it. I know that one day how I internally feel will be validated by someone and I can start my process of being who I feel that I am.

What is funny about understanding that I am transgender is that I see signs that I didn’t recognize before. I remember growing up and being called a girl a lot. I was feminine. My grandmother took pictures of me in female’s clothing and would laugh it off as me just being a goofy playful child. I remember having a picture of me done up as a cheerleader when I was probably about 5 years old. These small things have started forming a picture for me. Then I was told that when I was younger (around the time of the cheerleader picture) that I constantly told my grandmother and grandfather that I was a little girl, but they told me that I wasn’t. I must have chosen to believe them at that time that it wasn’t possible because again gender identity was not something that I processed for some time because of the situations I found myself in.

I have been regularly attending and am a group facilitator for a local non-profit organization that caters to the LGBT community. This group has helped me greatly with finding a voice for myself, but also understanding that there is no singular experience with being transgender. My viewpoints on how someone should transition has also changed. People take their own individual paths on this journey. They take their own individual journey. It will not look the same for everyone.

My transition and understanding who I am as a transgender woman has helped me to embrace a wide set of individuals. I see the beauty in every single human being and I see their worth. I know that the struggles that I have gone through are just helping me to become the strong woman that I am. I will not apologize either for saying that I am a woman because I know deep down who I am and what I should be. I know that the person that I am is beautiful and I have learned within the last year that the only validation that I need is my own to be true to myself. Thank you for listening to my story attached to being transgender. I appreciate it greatly and I wish you well. Go in love and light, Cassie!

12 Replies to “Topic Discussion: Being Transgender…”

  1. Danielle

    Cassie, you are such a strong person! I could not ever imagine the hardships you went through. I am so happy to hear that you have found someone who loves you for YOU! You are so inspiring and brave to share this story. All the love in the world goes out to you ?

    Reply
    • cgwinters1981 Post author

      Thank you for the kind words. They mean a lot to me! I have survived everything I have been through and am a kinder, more compassionate person as a result. 🙂 I wouldn’t change a moment, even when I feel down! Thanks so much for the comment!

      Reply
  2. Sinead

    Wow, what an inspiring story – thank you for sharing the journey you have been on, and I’m glad you are happy in yourself and that you are with someone loving and supportive ❤ You started your piece saying you are part of a group that is highly ostracised in the US – know that most people are loving and tolerant and just want people to be happy. I won’t comment too much on the political situation in the US just now but recent headlines are unfortunate and might feel like a setback, but it’s important you put things in perspective and look at how far we have come for lgbtq+ rights in a relatively short space of time!! This “setback” is only temporary because I firmly believe the people won’t stand for it. In the UK we have just celebrated 50 years of the legalisation of homosexuality (I know – crazy) and it really is a celebration! Love conquers all ❤????

    Reply
    • cgwinters1981 Post author

      Thank you for taking the time to read it! It is sometimes scary knowing what the country I live in is going through right now, but I know that I will make it through this, just as I have everything else that life has thrown at me. 🙂 I agree with you “Love conquers all.” The entire LGBT community will weather this storm. I appreciate your comment and thank you for reminding me that there are people out there that accept me just for who I am.

      Reply
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  4. Jo-Ann

    Cassie, what a strong person you are! You have overcome so much adversity in your life. Thank you for sharing your story. I am happy for you that you have found someone who loves and accepts you for who you are <3

    On a side note, I tagged you for the I Messed Up Book Tag! No obligation to participate, of course, but here it is if you'd like to check it out 🙂 I Messed Up Book Tag
    Jo-Ann

    Reply
    • cgwinters1981 Post author

      I am going to participate in it. Going to schedule it for next Friday actually! I appreciate your comment. I have slowly recognized how strong I am and I know I can survive anything placed before me. It may feel like a struggle, but I am a strong person. I look forward to completing the tag and thank you so much for reminding me how strong I am!

      Reply
  5. Maggie

    Cassie, I applaud you for putting yourself out there and composing this beautiful post! My husband’s cousin began the transition from male to female a few years ago – I remember first hearing of her coming out and I burst into tears. I cried not because of the impending transition, but because of the thoughts of what our cousin endured, silently, for about 35 years. I cried tears of sadness and joy and I remember feeling grateful she made the ultimate decision to transition rather than do something irreversible to herself…She was married – the wedding was seriously one of the best ever – and no one had a clue re: what was truly going on. She is now the happiest I have ever seen her and remains close friends with her now ex-wife. We love her for who she truly is and I hope you find that you are loved for who you really are as well. I haven’t gotten to go in-depth as far as discussing her transition with her, but I hope to do so one day. You are an inspiration and I’m so happy and proud to call you a fellow social worker – the world needs you! Love, Maggie
    Maggie recently posted…Synopsis FreeMy Profile

    Reply
    • cgwinters1981 Post author

      Maggie, thank you. These kind words brought a bit of a tear to my eye. I am learning more and more how to love myself every single day for who I am. It is a struggle sometimes with the world constantly trying to tell you not to be yourself, but I am learning that the world doesn’t matter in these things. I am so grateful for you sharing this story with me and I am also grateful that your husband’s cousin didn’t do something irreversible as well. So many of us in the transgender community can fall victim to negativity surrounding our transitions, so I am thankful that it sounds like this person found their own little slice of happiness. Everyone’s transition is unique, which makes it interesting to hear multiple experiences. You truly start seeing that transgender people are just people trying to find their own happiness in this life and surviving as their own true selves. I am grateful to be a social worker and I am grateful that you are one as well. Much love! Cassie

      Reply
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