Drifting through some recently discovered terrain, I came across an unexpected sunny spot within the swamp. This was a new region in a
preciously well-known area.

Now I’ve been more fortunate than many others I know, when it comes to finding acceptance, understanding and support. But they have always been accompanied by questions. Questions are a normal and to be expected part of the trans experience. When first discovering the realm of the Internet and online trans-support/chat rooms, you run into endless streams of people who
have nothing but questions. And for myself I had plenty of questions of my own. Who was I REALLY? WHAT was I? Was I dealing with mere curiosity? Was a crossdresser? A fetishist? Was I transsexual? Was I just simply sick in the head? Questions so many others like me, before and since, have asked of themselves. And then of course those places were also filled with questions seeking to learn of other people’s experiences, how to handle XYZ aspects. And of course the questions posed by those who were attracted to and/or fascinated by transwomen on a sexual level.

I wrestled with my own questions for many, many years. Eventually, through much introspection, pain, emotional turmoil and angst; I found some key answers. Those answers resulted in charting a course for my life that I never would have thought possible, never really wanted and feared following. But there was no other acceptable option. I could either follow this new charted course through unknown terrain, or end my earthly travels altogether. Obviously I chose to explore rather than end. And those who have known me best and loved me longest tell me that they are all glad I did. And
while the costs of this course have been incalculably high, I am glad I did too.

Yet though I had some questions of my own answered, I now faced the reality of having to answer so many more questions that others had for me. Questions posed by therapists, doctors and those who would be helping me along through the medical aspects of my journey. Questions that my family and closest friends would have. Those people who had known me for decades as this one person who would be disappearing and being replaced with someone new, and who I myself did not truly know. I had become a work in progress, dealing with the shedding of old mental, social and emotional constructs and disguises that has allowed me to function for so long. And the new me was being born. Previous thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviors that had been denied were now able to come forth and grow. I just had to make sure that whatever I became, whoever I developed into was fully and totally my true self. Yet I had been dealing with this aspect of myself for  countless years. For my family and loved ones it was a bit of a shock, to have their perception of me turned 180 degrees. Naturally they would have questions. I answered each one as openly and honestly as I could. And sometimes I didn’t yet have an answer for their questions. And I have no doubt that there were countless questions they never asked, either due to not wishing to hurt me, from feeling embarrassed by it or simply because it was too awkward or even painful to ask. Hopefully now, years later, their questions have found answers, or ceased to be important to them. Through all of those questions, coursed a level of love, acceptance and support that left no doubts as to its depth or sincerity. I count myself blessed in that regard.

Within a relatively short length of travel upon my new course through life, I then became faced with questions outside of family and medical professionals. I had to deal with work. (One does not make this type of trip in a vacuum after all.) Handling the questions posed by my company (I had been with them close to 20 yrs. by this point.) went pretty smoothly. At least those asked by Human Resources and the various management teams. Again I was fortunate to receive much in the way of support, acceptance and the reassurance that they employed based on ability only and that any sort of harassment or discrimination would not be tolerated. However the multitude of people I worked with meant fielding many other questions. Naturally there was much people did
not know or understand regarding the topic of the transgendered. People were curious. Many questions were logical and relevant. Many others would have been considered rude and intrusive if asked of the average person on the street. Yet again I answered them all tot he best of my ability. I had adopted the policy of welcoming questions and answering any that were asked from a feeling of a
genuine desire to understand, and not asked simply out of some voyeuristic urge. During this time I was also dealing with questions posed by business people I had to deal with: my dentist, the local mechanic, the bank I did business with, my hairstylist, my optometrist, the women who worked the cosmetic counter…. the same types of business people we all deal with every
day. Except for me they had known me for many years in one aspect and were now being presented with a completely new incarnation.

A few years later I felt the need to switch careers. Which meant going back to school and looking for a job in a new field. So now I faced new crops of people filled with questions. And I was discovering that many people all had the same questions. So I was now experiencing how repetitive it could get. But I felt I was doing my part for the trans community. I’m not the activist
type. But I know there is much misinformation and misconceptions about transpeople. I figured each person I had the chance to educate, for each person I was able to get to see me as a normal person, who just happened to be trans, it would be one less prejudiced or ignorant person in the world. And maybe by educating them, they would in turn help dispel the ignorance of others who talked through their ass about people like me. Or at least they would be able to teach their children to be more accepting and tolerant. So now I went through answering questions of fellow students, instructors and eventually new employers, co-workers and in some cases clients. But now these were people who had never known the “old” me. They’d only known and met the “new” me. But it didn’t mean they had fewer questions. Often they had more. And it didn’t mean the questions weren’t as intrusive (“What’s sex like now? Is it different?” was a common one. And for 5 yrs after surgery
I couldn’t really answer it. A second virginity is a unique experience.) or personal.  People don’t always sense when they are crossing social boundaries they would never even consider crossing with a cis-gendered person. (For those who do not know, cis-gendered means your gender identity and birth sex match and are in harmony.)

And with every job change, I’ve ended up going through the Q&A phase all over again. It’s pretty natural I suppose. I do not hide my past or the fact that I am trans. It’s part of who I am. And it’s natural to want to get to know the person yo work with. And while I have worked with some people who were less than thrilled with my presence in their world, for the most part I found always a level of acceptance. As often as not, what I found was just tolerance. And they are not the same thing. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I can say that most of the people I have encountered, worked with or had become part of my life, have accepted me. A large portion of them supports me. A few of them genuinely care about me. But as often as not they accept and support me as a TRANS-person. Not just a person who happens to be trans. All this leads me to the sunny spot I mentioned earlier…

I started a new job recently. And being the open sort of person I am, it became known in short order that I used to be vastly different than I am now. I’d rather learn quickly if I am going to find acceptance, tolerance or hostility, than to have any ill feelings crop up later. I won’t waste my time where I am not wanted. Yet this new job, my newly discovered sunny spot, has been question free. For the first time I can recall I have experienced unquestioning acceptance simply for who I am and not what I am. I get questions more about my opinions on skin care and ones targeted to my
professional expertise than anything else. No prying. No attempts to delve into the mysteries of my deep personal life. I’m just another woman working here, who happens to be trans. And my being trans is no different or unimportant a factor than my age, weight, hair color, race, spirituality, taste in movies or hobbies might be. So I am going to enjoy basking in this quiet sunny spot and just take
in this new, refreshing experience.