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Two camps

Among trans people there has always been (more or less) two distinct camps namely: those who understood and accepted themselves early versus those who did not and, if you have read this blog for any length of time, you know which camp I fell into.

I used to read the web pages of crossdressers who saw themselves as deviants and advocated for stopping a practice they had identified as a bad habit. Conversely, I would also see pages where the individual embraced themselves to the point of exuberance.

The very same phenomenon played out on the transsexual side of the spectrum where some people transitioned after they had absolutely run out of road versus others who understood themselves sooner in life and resolved to do what they must to be authentic versions of themselves.

To a great degree I attribute the difference to personality type, life circumstances and to what extent the person bought into a narrative that was given to them by society. The more of an individual you were early on, the more likely you would rebel against something which did not work for you. Growing up in the mid-20th century or before meant that you were more likely to feel the overbearing weight of pressure than one would feel today and ignoring the dictates back then was almost guaranteed to get you ostracized. This helps us understand why early-transitioning transsexual women put such emphasis on stealth transitions.

Today we are less likely to see this phenomenon of two camps play out because trans kids can be identified much earlier and even those who tend towards obedience to messaging can escape much of the oppressive weight most of us who are older experienced. Whether they are simply gender variant or need to transition, the effect of simply being supported will make all the difference.


  1. First of all, I just realized you were back and so welcome back!

    I fall into the camp that held themselves away until I ran out of road. Many events got me there, ultimately, but I think one of the things that really held those of us in that camp (I'm 53) away for so long is because of what it was like when we were so much younger. When I finally started to explore my gender more deeply, having found people like me, I was in the 90s and the era of the dreadful Clarke Institute (Torontonian here). There was no affirmation, no positive support, I had no idea how I could be me then and it was scary.

    Today it is so much different. Support is there, the Clarke is gone, and the acceptance of nonconformance is better than ever. It's not all sunshine and roses, of course, it's a fragile ground we're on today, but it is better. Young people are so amazing to me, they are forcing us to re-examine gender and its context and they are changing this narrative. I love them for it.


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