Believe it or not, not everything I do is about being transgender. Sometimes, I even forget I am trans. It’s always there in the back of my mind, but it doesn’t influence every decision anymore, at least not in the way it consumed me when I was first coming out and medically transitioning.
Right now, my wife and I are in the midst of a big change in our lives. I’ve accepted a job opportunity in Albany, NY where I’ll be developing training curriculum related to LGBT health, including HIV, STIs, Viral Hepatitis, and drug user health.
It was too good of an opportunity to pass up and it will directly benefit the future I’m working towards doing almost exactly what I want to do and have been doing in a less official capacity for a long time. This position requires us to move from Lehigh, PA to Albany, about 4 hours north. My wife was also job-seeking and ended up getting an opportunity in a reproductive justice organization which will allow her to work remotely. We’re currently selling our first home and are under agreement on a new home in Albany.
It’s scary, exciting, and sad. We love where we currently live, and as an added bonus, we’re currently only a little over an hour away from my family which includes 5 nieces and nephews. This was not a decision which was made lightly, but everytime my wife and I sat down and did the math and played out all the various scenarios, it always came down to the decision that taking this new opportunity was right for us. So we’re leaping into the unknown.
My days in the last few weeks have been filled with worry about transitioning out of my current job, listing our house for sale, weighing offers and negotiating, dealing with home inspections and radon tests, arranging moving company estimates, visiting houses in Albany, making an offer on a new home, locating boxes to start packing, and everything that this ridiculously stressful time entails. In one summer, my wife and I are leaving our current jobs, starting new jobs, selling our home, moving to a different state, and buying a new home. Our first year of marriage has certainly not been a boring one, that’s for sure.
In almost every part of these large decisions, being trans has not been in the forefront of our minds. When I was first transitioning, being trans was all I thought about. Every interaction I had was about wondering if they saw me as male, every time I looked in the mirror I was checking to see if I saw a man looking back at me or if I finally had beard hair, I researched all the surgeries and surgeons, I bought clothes to fit my new body, and more and more. Everything was about being trans. One just has to look back at my Facebook during those years to see how all-consuming it was.
During my interview for my new job they said, “As far as we know, you would be the only trans person who works here.” That feels like a lot of pressure. I can’t speak for all trans people and I don’t want to.
While I am trans and incredibly proud of it, being trans isn’t all I am. My days are filled with going to work, taking care of our new puppy, and learning how to support my wife in the way she needs me to.
Our issues aren’t always because we’re trans. Our dreams and hopes and wishes aren’t all related to being trans. Being trans just means that there are things cisgender people take for granted that I never do. It means that I have different perspectives that I feel are worth sharing so that I can help lighten the load for the trans people coming along behind me. But really, being trans means I’m just like you.