How Small is Too Small of a Community to Transition In?
Hello my name is Laura.
That is not my birth name and it is not on any official documents yet, but that is who I am and how I present myself and live my life. I am and have known since I was 3-5 years of age that my identity did not match who I was assigned to be. I am a stubborn person and I was determined to be the person everyone saw me as. Born to a rural family with 2 sisters older and 2 younger and assigned male at birth, many expectations were to come my way and though they did not always fit who I am, I chose to take them on and be the good child.
Laura Budd lives in Kelliher, Saskatchewan
I fought my nature for nearly 40 years, often finding myself feeling shame, guilt and self loathing over the feelings I was having and the frustration I felt over teaching myself how to be male and how to fit into that role. At 45 I could no longer hold it all in and felt I would rather die than continue the lies. Lies that I had told myself and then shared with everyone in my world that I was who I was assigned.
I had not done my homework and the next few years were to be Hell for myself and my wife, though not nearly the hell it was for me prior to sharing my secret with the first person I would ever tell. Her life would be torn apart and for that I am truly sorry–not sorry that I shared my truth, but sorry that I had not made peace with my feelings before dumping uncertainty and a life of hiding on the person I love the most.
I am going to fast forward through years of self discovery and healing (hopefully to discuss at a later time) and jump forward to a time where I could look myself in the mirror and see love and smile. Once I had made peace with myself and had done the work to rekindle the love and commitment my wife and I share, and after much mental and physical preparation, I started my transition from a life I was assigned to the life I am destined to live.
We moved forward by telling first our children and loving and supporting them as they found their way to see their parent in a new light. Then to close friends, my parents, my wife’s parents and then a letter to extended friends and family, sharing that letter at work and coming out as transgender in a workplace of 7 in a town of 11 in a rural community near the town I went to school and lived near all my life.
With much apprehension and a little hope we moved forward. Me getting stronger and more at ease with my new found freedom each and every day. I was armed with decades of pent up anger and fear, ready to pounce if anyone should laugh or ridicule myself or anyone in my immediate family. Though I will not deny there were a few who did not understand and were vocal in their ignorance.
I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to find acceptance , genuine interest and many, many people I had known all of my life truly sorry that they had not known my internal turmoil and more than willing to help me in finding my place in society and our small community.
Yes pronouns are still an issue over a year after my public transition. Yes I can still silence a room for a few moments when I enter in heels and a dress. But I am quickly surrounded by those that support me and life goes on.
I will tell you that for me, transitioning in public in rural Saskatchewan was the right decision and my only option for life. Living as I was assigned, I was a frustrated, angry person (inside, I hardly ever let anyone know) and was suicidal and near giving up. I was very fortunate to have a spouse that loves me and though she was hurting and did not understand, put my need to find help ahead of her pain. I did seek the help of a Psychologist and spent many hours of self discovery and allowing my true feelings to surface and to be dealt with prior to publicly coming out. I credit my wife and her love for me with most if not all of my success.
I have titled my entry how small is too small of a community to transition in, but there is no community to small. It is fully dependent on you. If you are strong enough to bare your true self, to hold your head up proudly and with honour, to listen to those that do not understand and yet not take on their ignorance, to accept support and help from those that do understand and love you, to not deny your past but to leave it in the past and not try to correct or carry it into the present.
Transition and to accept and live as your true self no matter who you are assigned at birth is possible in all communities in Saskatchewan.
There is a loving and supportive Transgender community here, there are loving and supportive people in this province to be found everywhere. Though it may be seen as easier to transition in a larger centre where you can be anonymous and changes in your presentation can more easily go unnoticed. I have found, however, that my physical changes, though at times questioned, have been supported and I have been able to help those that did not understand by answering their questions and finding positive dialogue taking place. I find the more patient and understanding of others the more patient and understanding they are of me.
I can assure you that transitioning genders in this world no matter the size of your community is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage and time no matter what age you are and no matter how many people are near or around you. True success however is possible no matter where you find yourself when it is time for you to move forward and live as you are not as you were assigned if you are Transgender. I hope this helps those that are contemplating transition and that I may share more of how I have found my way to happiness as a transgender woman in Saskatchewan so that another generation does not have to reinvent the path to living life as your true self.
Yours in love,
Laura (Brice) Budd
For more information about transgender issues in Saskatchewan or for support services, please visit TransSask Support Services’ website or Facebook page.
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