You see I grew up during the time of no internet and little published information about transsexuality, transgenderism or transvestism. What I did learn was through a small selection of books in the public library where the subject matter was either not well covered or consisted of a litany of photographs of transvestites.
I only read Harry Benjamin’s “The Transsexual Phenomenon” a few years ago and I still consider that book to be one of the best I have read on the topic but, before that, my previous information came from the early websites of people like me which began sprouting up by the mid 1990’s.
I come from a generation of transgender people who knew little about what they were suffering from and tried their best to deny that it existed at all. We held our breath in hopes that it would go away and only grudgingly indulged our interest in dressing up when the pressure built to a crescendo and we could resist it no longer. We thought we were the only ones in the world with this problem.
Today is very different time and I wonder what a much younger version of me does these days. Do they become emancipated crossdressers, do some fully or partially transition or live as gender variant people?
The internet age has changed everything and the roadblocks that existed back then are far less daunting.
But does that mean there might be a mob mentality to what people now do to manage their dysphoria? Do some young transgendered people feel pressured to transition because they see someone else’s YouTube video and become inspired to follow suit?
Whereas we denied and held our breath do young people today feel empowered and emboldened by the availability of information and resources available to them?
These are all questions I cannot answer since my internet contacts are from my generation and experienced the same world that I lived in.
I would hope that young people today engage in a high degree of individual reflection and consider what is right for them before jumping on a bandwagon.
I remember reading an article recently where a UK teen had decided to embark on the transition path and, after receiving hormone treatments and following all the guidelines, stopped the process in order to reverse course and live as a gay man instead. He recalls always feeling he wanted to be a girl but in the end it was not for him.
Perhaps it is a good thing that at least today we have the availability of choice and no longer need to suffer in silence. This way if a path is not for us, we need not wonder what to do next and can proceed to explore it. Indeed things have improved dramatically from when I was young but only time will tell whether we remain on the right track.
We are at the cusp of a brave new world that is wholly foreign but yet does not scare me for this issue has begged for examination and attention for the longest time. It deserves to be removed from the shadows.
It's all in the open now and the public can examine, poke and prod and try to figure out what makes us tick. Perhaps if they succeed they can let us in on it too.