Transgender Loneliness and Anxiety
The transgender experience can be lonely. When I first began hormone replacement therapy, my doctor asked me if I had a good support system. I lied and said I did because I didn't have the time or energy to join a support group and didn't want to cause worry. Now, I think about all the hands that have reached out to me in the past that I brushed off. I believe loneliness was caused by my self-imposed social isolation.
Coming Out Transgender and Feeling Lonely, But also Self-Isolating
I have come a long way with my gender identity since I attended a liberal arts school in New York City some years ago before I knew I was transgender. During freshman year, I read about Judith Butler's concept of gender performativity. "Gender is just a construct," had echoed in my mind. I was both fascinated and confused.
By sophomore year, I started developing a new style and grappling with my internal sense of self. I picked up Maia Kobabe's Gender Queer: A Memoir and read it in a day. I skipped class because I couldn't tear myself away while on the edge of a life-altering discovery: my gender did not agree with my birth sex. I was not cisgender.
That was just the beginning.
Coming out was so frightening that I did it over email. When I first introduced myself with they/them pronouns in class, the person beside me could have heard the beat of my heart. I struggled to correct people when they used the wrong pronouns.
I had no control over the way people assumed my gender. People could only see who I was on the outside. Consistent misgendering and lack of social gender affirmation took a toll on my mental health. Whether it was gender euphoria or gender dysphoria, I had no friends who shared my experience.
Sometimes I'll be scrolling on TikTok or Twitter and see a post from a transgender person about their gender experience, and I'll open the comments section and find more people like me. Then I'll think, "Oh, yeah. I'm not alone."
It's easy to return to my loneliness because it's safe and familiar. But now I know I can join a local support group or an online community--take a chance and put myself out there. I've done it before, and I can do it again. Now I'm ready to put in the effort and reach out to people. I hope you've been inspired to join me when you're ready.
Mitchell, H. (2023, February 23). Transgender Loneliness and Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, March 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/thelifelgbt/2023/2/transgender-loneliness-and-anxiety