Sometimes I am asked what it is like to be a trans woman, what it is like to have been ‘born into the wrong body’. My best analogy is just imagine you are wearing a set of clothes that is all wrong for you and you can never take them off. You are never comfortable in them, never at ease, never at one with the raiments you are wearing. This for me is what like being a boy was like, and upon becoming a woman I was able to change that ill fitting and uncomfortable set for one which fits me perfectly.
I write that with 12 years hindsight on the whole process, years spent trying to find who I was/am as a person, as ill defined as that ever can be. I have say in Buddhist temples in Bangkok, Sikh temples in the UK, and many a church around the globe, and it is only the peace of mind of knowing that I am me, Rachel, that has enabled me to move forward with life. Being me, this woman the world sees, enables me the freedom to breath, to face the world in a positive and illuminative manner. There are moments of doubt, when the skin I am in feels tight and tense, yet not for a moment do I wish to go back to the way things would have been had I not transitioned.
There are so many wonderful things about life, and the ability to be my own person without the fear that my very breath will be snatched away for me is one which I do not take for granted. I have the privilege of living in a time and place that allows me the freedom to be myself without recrimination, and that for me a the most amazing thing imaginable. I am also fortunate that I am not forced to go to from one extreme of the gender spectrum to the other, and that I am allowed to exist without the many myriads of the shades of grey that exist between many and female. This is a freedom that was hard fought by the many giants whose shoulders I now stand on, and one of the many freedoms I do not take for granted no matter how comfortable things become for me.
In the end this ability to breath freely within my own skin has the responsibility of allowing others to do the same, and because of this I am an ardent believer in giving people their own space to be themselves. I may not always agree or approve of a person’s choices or beliefs, but ultimately as long as they accept the consequences of those choices and beliefs and do no harm to others, then I will humbly respect their desire to be their own unique person. I make a conscious choice each time I interact with someone to allow that person the freedom to be themselves, and it is my hope that they will always do the same for others.