Self-Awareness: choice of where to live

Seemingly, I left the perfect living arrangement a few years ago. I lived on my own, in a place with a guest bedroom, enjoyed a quick walk to work, and my fabulous family physician, while living on a street where I cherished several lovely neighbours. I was a reasonable walking distance to several of my favourite hang out spots. What more could I have wanted?

I had hoped to find out by leaving that being trans didn’t tie me down to the place. That I could get great care elsewhere. That I could do related work but not in LGBTIQ centred way. That if I didn’t work for an LGBTIQ org, that I could date locally. That I could take my career to the next level.

Accessing trans affirming and competent care in the cities (spread across 3 countries) I’ve lived in since has proven essentially impossible. The only thing various local services could do less than initiate someone starting transition in a vaguely timely fashion was conceived of a post-transition person migrating. Several doctors in countries where theoretically, I have baseline human rights, refused to provide treatment, and those who agreed proved wholly inadequate in a myriad of ways.

I have been pigeonholed both as a “queer professional” and in a line of work that everyone says they value but very few are willing to pay, or at least, not someone with my academic background and affiliations (due to a gross misunderstanding of what the work is, IMO but also regardless.) Not unlike artists, teachers, nurses, and any other profession dominated by women and/or not within STEM or finance.

I’m able to date, and that’s been the one part of my life that’s generally gone superbly well.

It’s tempting at times to think I should have stuck it out on my beloved street. The reality is, little would be the same, even if I’d stayed.

The doctor I had back then moved, and I had a less great doctor when I was back in town for 2 years. He’s since left, and now I have a fab doctor again there, so that cycled back to awesome.

Half the neighbours I adored have moved or died. That street brings up complicated emotions for me, at best.

All of my former colleagues I enjoyed working with have either moved onto other jobs or retired. What remains of my old team would have driven me to quit sooner rather than later. My career would have stalled in a different way. Moving catalysed in my doing ground breaking work I couldn’t have done “back home” because of the role I used to have, and related circumstances.

About 8 months before I left, my do-jang relocated, and it became quite a way’s away. (Though I would have probably quit shortly thereafter anyway because my joints can’t take the training anymore.)

Seperate from all that is how cancer has ravaged through my personal life, and the silver lining that unintentionally emerged from it. Because I’ve had little stability and been underemployed, I was in a position to be there for my loved ones, which I couldn’t have had I stayed employed full-time, an ocean away with the costs of living I had at the time.

Since beginning my slow “return home” I have wrestled with having to get a place a lot less well located (the real estate market being what it is), with less room, assured I’ll be stuck commuting more than my mental health will handle well both for work and healthcare. But it is the best I could do after these last few years of the big C among my loved ones dominating my life.

I’m doing it to once again have human rights, including trans affirming parenting rights. I’m doing it to have a competent doctor, and secured health insurance for my eventual penile implant replacement. It’s a defeat of sorts, bittersweet in way. There’s no circumventing that being trans is playing the central role in deciding where I live, now and from here on. I’m at peace with this.

Sidebar\ the more I’ve made peace with that, the less I tolerate the trans older guys on trans men forums insisting being read as cis male means one need not think about being trans and this is the marker of a “successful” transition. The guys who deny it might be healthy to be honest about being self-aware, which they evidently are often enough to join a trans forum./rant

I count myself lucky my partner will be there, we have each other. And the twins will have their own room. I’m losing a parent, but my family has also grown. And my amazing friends who remain alive have been there through it all, understanding and supporting me.

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