I know that there are some people in the world - many people in fact, who just hate the trans community. I get that, but today, I think we should celebrate once more, our friends and allies who, frankly, are just so awesome, kind and who take acceptance to a whole new level. I have many of those people in my life and I am so thankful for it. This week, I added another. As I have mentioned in recent posts, I have just joined a diet-group-slash-slimming-class-slash-fat-club (delete as applicable). It is going well so far - 22.5lbs lost - clothes that were tight are miraculously fitting again. My favourite dress still eludes me, but I’m nearly there with it.
Anyway. I have an issue with slimming club leaders and Doctors for that matter. When I say I have an issue with them, let me rephrase that, I have an issue with them not knowing something I never told them. After all, surely they should be mind readers? I don’t tell them I’m trans. I know that you might roll your eyes at this, so I apologise, but part of the reason I’m large of body is that my trans-ness makes me desperately sad sometimes and I comfort eat (and drink) to overcome it. Its a bad coping mechanism, I know. The best one (full time as Rhiannon) is a work in progress. So I am choosing to go somewhere to get help. The issue I have is that when I go, I’m presenting male and so that’s how I’m treated - I’m a man losing weight to become all buff and handsome. Having my motives for losing weight misunderstood, is a really painful thing for me that makes me very unhappy. I want to be understood as Rhiannon and for the people who support me to know why they are doing that and what I’m really trying to get from their help.
Recently the diet-group-slash-slimming-class-slash-fat-club have run this thing where you set your short-term goal of what you want to try to achieve by Christmas. I’m still in the ‘lots to lose’ category, so I realise that I’m not so much interested in my promise to myself for this Christmas, but that my goal is for the next one - 2017. By then, I want to be comfortably fitting into a size UK14 dress. Its a big ask as i’d need to lose about 5 dress sizes, but I’ve already lost 1 and I think it is do-able.
The leader of our group is such a supportive lady and we recently connected on Facebook. Our group members regularly and spontaneously stand up to sing her praises as to how she has helped them and made a difference to their lives and I’m really not surprised. She is total bundle of positive energy. So I figured in for a penny, in for a pound, I’ll tell her. So tentatively, with a terrible opening message along the lines of, “Hello. Ok. So. Support. I'm nervous. Scared more like. I've sought help on my slimming before, but to my regret, I've never told any of my previous people why I'm slimming which is actually the most important bit really. Not sure how you'd take it and whether I'm about to make a mistake that will alienate you forever...this is really not something I'm sure about. Can I confess the secret only selected friends and family know...? If this is already TMI, honestly, I won't say, but clearly, it already sounds too interesting I suspect…”
She gave me to ok to go ahead, and so I did: “The target by this Christmas is interesting, but my target by the following Christmas is more revealing. I want to be a size 14. I’m transgender.” Way to blurt it out.
Following my shaky start what unfolded was probably one of the most instantly supportive, accepting and enthused conversations I’ve ever had. One of the opening lines from her was that she had suspected something. Clearly this just confirms that they are mind readers after all - I’ll never have to out myself again! :o) It continued through her saying it is awesome and exciting. I showed her my Flickr page and this blog. She responded that I look beautiful. I told her about the medical reasons for losing weight to help get prescribed with hormones etc and she offered her absolute support with helping me to achieve my goal and my dreams. Her recognition, from her own past, that people can be judgemental and ignorant really helped. Her perceptive responses really amazed me, the genuine depth of understanding is really unusual. It left me happy, elated and reassured and was really lovely.
All of this happened on FB messanger and I’m not at group this week as I’m away on holiday, but I am nervous about the next group session. I’m always a little more shy in person about this stuff. My work persona, for example, is different - I have to present confident and accomplished - but secretly I’m shy and a little bit (or a lot) insecure and lacking in self esteem. But I’ve been bowled over so far by her response and, who knows, one day, I might be able to go to the group as Rhiannon and be welcomed by the other slimmers. Certainly that dream feels a step closer and I know that I have another amazing fierce strong woman helping me in my corner. I’m very grateful.