What I’ve Learned From She’s Not There

I re-read Jenny Boylan’s book She’s Not There yesterday. It’s been about a year, but some things still kind of leap out at me.

The most startling is how easy to think that the transgender struggle is all about me. I guess it’s understandable in a way; after all, it is my identity. But it is so easy to blow right past the struggles of those I love and who have always loved me trying to make sense of this. Life becomes such a revelation, like a lightbulb that goes on and never switches off, I can forget that what I’ve found is going to represent loss to somebody else.

I don’t want to think about the loss for another reason. I feel guilty. I tell myself that what will make me happy is really what somebody else wants. That is a myth…a well-meaning myth, but a myth none the less. Guilt is a brake on my excitement and relief just when I don’t need any brakes.

Who would willingly put themselves in this kind of quandary, the quint-essential spot between the rock and the hard place? Why would I choose this? The answer is that no sane person would choose it. It’s not about choice at all. It’s about life equations that seem to work by giving with one hand and taking with the other.



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