According to Lori Ann Davis of Colorez: Southern Arizona’s GLBTS News Magazine, 2007 was quite a year for high visibility transsexuals. Being one to watch the news and participate in online discussion groups, I was aware of these newsworthy items, and they are a major part of my own consciousness.

I wonder, however, what these items actually mean for the larger consciousness about transgender issues in general. As I come out and talk with more friends, colleagues, and family, I expect to find that there is probably a greater general awareness that trans people exist, but I would be really surprised if anyone had any more than a passing understanding of the condition, treatment, and issues around trans people. The problem, of course, is this — I live, breathe, eat, research, and write about this every day. I have explored my identity from a thousand angles over 40+ years. I am in therapy. I talk with Mary about this every day. My gender occupies a major part of my consciousness these days, while most people never even think about their gender, as it’s invisible and natural and real for them.

There is no way mass consciousness can grasp the complexity of this condition by talking for 10 minutes to a transsexual, or by reading one memoir, or by watching a transsexual character come out on All My Children. These are very important moments, of course, but they can only break the ice. Being a teacher and a communicator, I really want people I care about to understand the complexity of this condition, to want to know as much as possible, to dive deep with me into the fascinating research and introspection that really needs to be done.

I’m setting myself up for disappointment because people simply don’t care that much about this, and nor should they, if I honestly think about the way people are. They want to research their own topics, explore their own issues. To the extent they want to know about transsexualism, it’s almost certainly going to be simply so they can understand what I’m going through so that they can empathize.

I have read about this dilemma many times before — that some transitioning transsexuals are so knowledgeable, so in touch, so willing to help people understand that they get frustrated when all their colleagues want to know is that the transitioner is actually healthy and the changes are attributable to the transition and that their own lives won’t be affected very much at all.


Of course, there are transitioning transsexuals who want people to butt out, and that's a whole different dynamic.

The right message in the right amount at the right time — that’s what is hard for me now and what’s going to be hard going forward.