Back in 2004 I lost my father, who had been there for me since I was born. In May I unexpectedly lost Ed Kossoy, the man who joined my mother in raising me from when I was twelve. If you think saying goodbye to one father makes you think about your own mortality, you can imagine what it’s like with two.
There have been other deaths near me recently as well: a thirty-year-old neighbor dropped dead of a heart attack; another acquaintance died of a freak (i.e. non-car-related) accident. Friends have told me about losing loved ones in painful ways. Even pets: two years ago one of our cats died after a long illness.
I’m not a kid anymore, and sometimes I have weird health issues and I wonder, could this be it? Of course I hope I’ll be around for many years to come, but my time will come eventually. And I know several transgender people who have decided to transition when they were confronted with the fact that some day they will die. As I understand it, they realized that they really didn’t want to live as men their entire lives, and that if they didn’t transition they might just die as men. That was their choice for themselves.
For myself, I’ve seen two men I love die, and I think it’s okay. When the time comes for me to go, I’ll be a man like them.
Does this mean that I no longer feel any desire to be a woman? Far from it. I feel it every day, as much as many who have transitioned. But I also feel a desire to be a man. Not some caricature of manliness, but a thoughtful, problem-solving man like my dad and Ed both were. A strong and loving man. Long ago I realized that I can’t be both, and chose to be a man.
I still plan on cross-dressing on a regular basis for as long as I can. You may some day see an elegant old lady walking down the street, and it’ll be me. But then in a few hours I’ll go home and change back. I hope that I don’t die in the dressing room at Macy’s, but there are certainly more embarrassing ways to die. And of course the most embarrassing way of all is to die after a lifetime of hiding yourself in fear. Whatever happens, it won’t be that for me.