It's been over a week now since I heard the news that Kris is no longer with us. Kris is a friend that I met in late 2004 at a transgender support group meeting. To my surprise it was revealed in the meeting that he was an ftm - female to male. I can honestly say that I would not have known this based on appearances, mannerisms, clothing, or voice. It wasn't long before I found out that Kris had a rough time of his transgender journey, but it seemed to me as though he was finally moving in a direction that suited him. Each time I saw him he seemed so energetic, upbeat and lively. He was very knowledgeable and excited about the various medical procedures in the area of ftm surgery, but he was also always ready to tell a joke, always talking about things he wanted to try, and the events of his day. After I got to know him better he'd occasionally talk about the darker parts of his life. It was from knowing of these events and how they affected him that I was not surprised to hear that his death was at his own hand.
A simplistic view of trangenderism is that all it takes is a change of body, clothes and lifestyle to become whole. In truth that is only a portion of the struggle because even though you may be dealing with your transgenderism just fine, you still have to live in a world that doesn't accept it as easily or as fully. When a person is seen as some state between the two genders they stand out as incongruous and different. In my experience many people are fine with it, but it does make some people upset to a greatly varying degree. This is a problem because all transgenders are between genders. We're never fully able to change over, and even if we could, some wouldn't. I think that no matter how well we may pass, or how long we've been doing it, it is very difficult to stop seeing the incongruities and differences, and just as it does in others this results in ourselves being upset to some degree. I don't know what specifically was going on with Kris, but being transgendered causes hurt that runs pretty deep. It makes the most commonplace activities in life very complicated. It makes living an ordinary life seem impossible. I'd like to be angry with him for doing what he did... but I'm not. I can understand why he did it. I've had my own thoughts in that area at one time, I so understand it, but it is frightening to see evidence that I may have only temporarily put them behind me.
I wish I could tell him that the times I spent with him often cheered me up at a time in my life when I really needed it. He was obviously hurting inside, but he was still able to bring a smile to my face. He was important to me, and he will be missed.