Since beginning transition, at least four different people have contacted me with their own transgendered dilemmas. Three of them were completely or almost completely in the closet, while all sought connection and common ground. I have been able to share with them my experience and understanding, and that in turn has, I believe, moved each to some degree, relieving loneliness, anxiety, and isolation. My visibility has provided comfort for other lonely souls.
Gender dysphoria is an incredibly lonely condition. I remember when I was a kid, the great aching loneliness that filled my days. I was afraid to share with anyone – even the closest members of my family, my parents and siblings – who I was, my deepest desires, my aspirations, my own character. Not only did I fear the ridicule that I would have received, I didn't understand why I was so different from everyone else – why I wanted so much to do girl things, why it was so hard to connect with boys, why I didn't like what they liked. I just knew I didn't fit in – anywhere. Forming my presentation around a model of gender that was completely extrinsic, I could not relate to people as I was, and so I developed my skill at deception – and that disguised my own loneliness and inadequacy in a vain attempt to fit in, which only left me lonelier than ever.
It is that effort to hide one's self, based on needs for safety and connection, that makes transgendered people so lonely, so socially isolated. It is different for me now. Sure, I'm cut off from some people – those who don't understand, or who think that their God really hates people like me and so they should, too, or whatever – but I'm fully connected with so many more. I no longer spend my time developing and perfecting deception. I live openly and honestly, and that honesty has penetrated to every aspect of my life. Where I used to act in minor dishonest ways, lying or cheating or even stealing, I now rebel against those temptations, and really don't even find them tempting. Dishonesty now feels not like something natural and integral in my life, but like a desecration of it.
So the greatest value of transition for me is the redemption of my own character. And, close behind it, is my ability to connect with community, with other people – an end to loneliness. People see that, and respond to it. And other lonely souls, suffering from gender dysphoria, find connection and, I think, comfort.
There is power in coming out. It is social power – and it is also spiritual power.