Transition or die? I ended that sentence with a question mark because, at least for me, it’s more of a question then it is a sentence. I’m not saying that to disparage my brothers and sisters for who that is a sentence both literally and figuratively. I’d also assume you know the back story to that thought process, but in a world where a six year old can transition to full time and ask a newly transitioned ten year old, “What took you so long?” it bears a backstory, mine as much as anyone else’s.

For those of us that began steps towards a transition as adults, many of us speak of a moment in our lives when it came down to “transition or die”. Surviving yet another suicide attempt, deciding to get clean and sober or in some cases just living through a near death experience compels a great number of people to transition to something other than their birth identified gender.

I reflect on my life and having come out at 13, it’s hard to believe I made it this far and I didn’t either fully transition or end up killing myself, not that it hasn’t crossed my mind. I feel pretty safe in telling you that most, if not all, people who identify as gender variant of some sort have given some thought to “ending it all”. I’ve thought of any of a number of creative ways myself, but that’s as far as I’ve taken it or really plan on taking it.

I had my transition or die moment last night though. Snuggled up in my bed, I considered my transition path and all the things in my life I cared about and it hit me. What’s the point if I have to be something, or in this case someone I’m not? I won’t die a slow horrible death if I have to live just one more day in my present gender; I haven’t reached that point yet. But I can’t shake the feeling of why should I continue to live as something I’m not. I don’t know what the reaction of friends, family and my employer will be – but the truth is I’d rather be despised for being myself then loved for being something I’m not.

I didn’t sleep well last night, I often don’t these days. Do I feel depressed, not always, but I know that I am. I can go on faking it, people seem to believe me so I must be doing a good job, and pull further and further away from the life that I love and no one will know I died of a broken heart, broken by a life I wouldn’t let myself live. Or I can feel the pain of transition and know that I’m alive and happy.

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