So, I want to talk a little about privilege. One of the things I keep getting reminded of is that I have lost a lot of privilege by transitioning. As it was crassly put to me, "you're a diversity two-fer now! A trans lesbian!" Erm. Yes. Thanks.
But despite this, I still suffer from something quite a few of my friends understand very well - guilt over my privilege. Because the simple fact is privilege isn't something simple algorithm of your background, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and one or two other things. There's a huge variety of things that contribute, and none of them are simple or easy to quantify. So I still constantly feel like I need to be very, very grateful for the privilege I have.
Firstly, I'm white in a white-dominated western country. One where, despite a long ways to go, we have a lot of freedom and a lot of things working for us. We have medicare, for instance.
Which brings me to the main point of this blog - hormone replacement therapy and transitioning.
I live in a society and have enough education that, while it took me a while to admit it, I was able to figure out my gender identity and decide to transition.
I have a family that was accepting and enormously supportive.
I live in a place where I was able to easily get access to hormone replacement therapy. I was able to do it without enormous gatekeeping standing in my way. I was able to afford it. I am lucky enough not to have any conditions that prevented me from doing it.
And then there's more genetics. I am lucky enough to already look very feminine, and have found HRT really agrees with me. I am already beginning to finally like the way I look and feel, which is something not everyone gets to experience.
I have been assaulted, although I was not hurt and do not suffer from PTSD as a result.
On another note, I do not suffer from depression, nor any anxiety beyond what gender dysphoria can produce.
In short, I have absolute fuckload of privilege, even if it's less than the royal-flush-of-privilege that I had before I came out.
Which is why I still get that horrible feeling of guilt. Knowing people have it worse than me - especially other trans people trying to do the same thing I am, but with more challenges and difficulties in their path than I've had so far.
But guilt isn't helpful, even if checking your privilege is. It's something I keep reminding myself. Feeling guilty over privilege can lead to bad mental places, no matter how much or little privilege you have. It's easy to slip into a place where you take that guilt a step further and say, "my troubles don't matter".
You dismiss your own difficulties and problems as somehow not worth it. This is a nasty thing to do to yourself, as we can really only judge our difficulties and problems against what we are used to, and how equipped we are to deal with them.
For some people in different situations, going through what I've gone through would have been too much. But this as much a reflection of my privilege as anything else, that I have been able to do work through so many of them.
So I have to keep reminding myself - it's bad to decide you're some perfect, amazing, strong person for overcoming difficulties, but it's equally bad to dismiss what you're going through, or fall into traps of feeling that "it's nothing" and that your problems are somehow "not worthy".
I have a combination of advantages and disadvantages in my life, like anyone, and it's important to recognise both of these, be thankful and conscious of what I have, but also be aware of the things I have to face.
Feeling comfortable with the existence of my challenges and problems is important - and asking for help is always okay, whether that help is people to go out of my way to help me move house at short notice, or a housemate to sit with me while I break down crying for an hour on my birthday.