I’ve written elsewhere how frightening and lonely this situation is, this gender identity disorder and the decision to change my sex. And I’ve got love and support! I daily read 3 discussion boards dealing with transition (Susan’s Place, BeginningLife, MyHusbandBetty), and several more every week or two, and after a while, one begins to notice similar themes that come up over and over. There’s the “my hands are shaking because I’m writing this for the first time” email. There’s the “my significant other has given me an ultimatum: if you transition, then I’m leaving.” There’s the “I’m at X stage of transition and I’m feeling depressed and wanted some support.” And probably 50 other common themes.

The one that Mary Jo and I watch for is the initial post that says, “My SO, after a few months of anger and fear, is now OK with this and we are working through the transition together and we’re going to manage to keep our family together because we love each other.” Or even better, the initial post that comes from the SO: “I discovered that my spouse is a transsexual and I’ve joined this board because I want to understand him/her because I love him/her dearly and want to support him/her.”

Just when you think you’re the only person in the world with a particular set of circumstances, you run across a story just like yours. It’s humbling because you realize you’re not that special. But it’s also encouraging because you realize that you’re not alone and someone else out there has been through (or is currently going through) what you’re going through.

I’ve written about Jennifer Finney Boylan and how I believe she is my doppelgänger, so I won’t repeat that theory. But there are many others in the same situation. Today, for example, as I was reading the various news stories I subscribe to, I encountered Lori Anne Davis, a MTF transsexual in Arizona, and her story in Colorez: Southern Arizona’s GLBTS News Magazine. She writes of her Gender Identity Disorder:

[My wife and I] silently decided to just sweep it under the rug. Still, though, that dang beast loomed underneath. In fact, like what happens to the majority of transgender people who don’t deal with the issue, that little beast grew into a monster.

I’ve done it, and you see it all over the transsexual literature–this personification of GID as a voracious beast you can try to hide, but which will resurface, meaner and hungrier than before. Lori Davis’ story follows the good version of this story, which is the one that goes “and when we realized it would never go away, we began seeking out professional help.”

I often find myself buoyed by this type of story. I feel connected with my brothers and sisters who are facing a similar situation to me, even if the specifics are different. As abnormal as I feel most of the time, when I read this type of writing, I myself feel normal.

But sometimes I feel quite sad because these stories that are published online must represent only a tiny fraction of all the stories out there. Where are the others? I suspect most of them aren’t told because they’re harbored in secret, pushed down into the recesses of the mind, or never allowed to bubble up into consciousness, much less written into an online forum. Do these transsexuals struggle with their condition utterly alone? When the crisis gets large, do they feel trapped, forced to choose between sanity and suicide?

Where are the songs of winter? Aye, where are they? Lest I start feeling connected with all my fellow transsexuals, I think it bears noting that we don’t know how many of us there are, how many kill themselves before ever seeking help, or how many drink or drug themselves trying to bury the misery.

The stories we read are written by whoever is left standing.