Early this morning, I was just reading one of my online forums and saw a horribly sad piece of news: a member of this particular forum, a 50-year-old transsexual who’s at the same spot in transition as me, died yesterday of a drug overdose, a suicide. She posted infrequently, but I remember her avatar with glasses, face against a tree, inquisitive and wise. Her posts were thoughtful as she grappled with her transition and how it impacted her two daughters, her spouse, and her job. She had written in the springtime of an amicable divorce and a date of July for her workplace transition — she had been talking with her HR department in anticipation of the big announcement.

I don’t know what to say. I didn’t know her, but this news feels so personal it might be me. I can imagine the despair.

Dear readers, I know that sometimes it seems that your transsexual friends or colleagues or family members are going through life in a self-absorbed trance like beauty queens with their emphasis on makeup and shopping and physical changes.

And perhaps we are.

But when we’re by ourselves, when the computer is turned off, when the upbeat facade is removed and put away on the shelf, there’s nothing to hold back the demons. There are very dark spaces in trans*people’s heads, and I worry about all of us sometimes. As much as we beat our chests in defiance and celebrate our gender freedom, I fear we’re an awfully vulnerable lot.