I spent my childhood unable to conceptualise myself after high school. I couldn’t fathomed aging in the then shape of my body. As a teen I kept coming across grim statistics about trans youth. As a white financially stable male adult, “on paper” I should feel like I can look forward to prosperous aging. But I keep learning of the latest trans male seasoned advocate/service provider/community leader completing suicide.
This is related to why I left the community based job I had during my lower surgeries. Why I’ve shifted my interactions with community activities, and diversified my hobbies. It’s essential to my mental health’s well being. I prioritise nurturing my resilience.
I was the first person I knew starting testosterone therapy as a teen. I legally changed my sex marker in my early twenties, a decade (age wise) before most of these guys were able to access medical transition. So while we started testosterone close in calendar time I’ve been fortunate to start addressing my dysphoria at a younger age than they could. This is primarily because I benefited from their advocacy for which I’m continuously appreciative.
The world I live in as I close in on middle age is different from the one they knew; never mind the different bodily history I have compare to them. It won’t be like it was for them. I can selfishly and awkwardly be grateful that I’ll be better off because of their blood, sweat and tears.
I wish we didn’t live in a transphobic world that wears trans people down. I wish there wasn’t a scarcity of resources constructed by systemic marginalisation. But this in turn leads to a community rife with horizontal hostility, which isolates seasoned advocate and community based service providers. We have some privileges, but when we need support, we can’t turn to the services we provide or with which we’re associated.
I intend to be in the first dozen trans old guys I personally know to reach their sixties. I know of three already there, well two are in their seventies now, and a dozen or so who should reach that milestone before me. But the choice of verb should is because some of them are open with me about frequently battling suicidal ideation. Time will tell if I’ll be in good company or mourning even more… And then, of course, there are causes of deaths out of time unrelated to transphobia at play as well.
It’s hard some days to wrap my head around how feasible my sixties are of a goal, even if it feels like it should be a relatively modest one.