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Let’s Break This Down: Why Would Anybody Want to Transition?

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fb_5-2-2014-245x300-3026703-8996924GUEST COMMENTARY by Kimi Cole

Kimi Cole is Director/Advocate of Transgender Allies Group and President of the Nevada Stonewall Democratic Caucus.

Different questions about transgender people abound- why are they, how are they, and how do they fit into society in general?

One of the biggest challenges faced by the transgender (commonly also referred to as trans*) community is explaining ourselves to those who simply do not know what that means. People tend to fear what they don’t understand.

Confusion exists in society in general, not necessarily in the minds of transgender individuals. We know who we are. Our “after” pictures may look different from our “before” pictures, but deep inside, we’re still the same people we have always been.

After living “it” and surviving “it” for nearly 60 years, I know first hand what it feels like from the inside. I know what it feels like to experience rejection from those who, often with no ill intention, have simply formed opinions based on hearsay or downright untruth. Mythinformation I call it.

Like others I know, I lived with a feeling of isolation and a tremendous fear of being rejected by my parents and peers if they learned how I felt.

Outwardly, I appeared to be a boy, but inside I identified more as female. During my formative and young adult years, it seemed the only option was to give society what they expected. Unfortunately, winning motorcycle races, experiencing successes in business, and raising a great family never helped overcome my deep inner longing to live authentically. It was the acting job of a lifetime, replayed year after year, but with no annual awards ever given for outstanding performance.

By age 50, the thought of not embracing my authentic self became increasingly painful, ultimately surpassing my fears of losing family, friends, employment, or community acceptance. When anybody insists my transition was a “choice,” I can agree– to a point. My only available choices were to live openly and authentically or die inside. I chose to live.

With the recent revelation by Bruce Jenner and increased visibility of other high profile transgender individuals, the word transgender has suddenly reached a world audience that was mostly unaware.

Transgender has been catapulted into the public conscience. The trans* community now has incredible opportunities to embrace open discussions, to engage more bi-lateral conversations.

Transgender, in my world, looks like this: I get up in the morning, shower, eat breakfast and go to work. To any who wonders, doubts, or fears the unknown, my simple response is, “Let’s talk!”

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