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Finding Friends and Community


Lydia_R

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Hello, I'm Lydia and I'm new on this site.  My main question of the community is how does being transgender affect finding friends and community?

 

I'm in my 50's and starting a MtF transition.  I'm a strong believer in taking inventory of my things and feelings.  In preparing to come out to friends and family, I wrote down everyone important in my life.  There are 13 people on the list.  That includes everyone I work with, all my family and lifelong friends that I have any kind of recent communication with.  I'm actually quite a loner already.  I love being alone, but I always say that "it is never my goal to be alone."

 

I love cooking and have been getting a lot better at it in recent years.  Cooking for couples nights and dinner parties is number one on my list of things I want to do more of in the future.  I've just recently found a small group of friends to start doing this with.

 

What are your experiences with finding new friends during and after transitioning?

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  • Admin

Ok, this counts as a commercial I guess since I am on the Board of Directors of an LGBTQ Community Center in my area and my recommendation is to find a Center in your area, and to become involved with them.  This site has a directory of local centers to look at:https://www.lgbtcenters.org/LGBTCenters 

 

Another way is to get out and join community service organizations, such as food banks where you do not have to announce that you are Trans until some point that you want to, or it makes a difference to the better for your co-volunteers.  Having someone know you as the person you wish to be is the best way.  Your cooking idea above is excellent and can be done so many places that will let you follow the path here.  Best of luck.

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Hi Lydia. I'm also new on this site, and in a similar situation, as I'm 57 and hoping to start MtF medically-supervised transition soon. I'm scheduled to talk to a LMHC tomorrow who specializes in transgender issues. I hope it all goes well and I can proceed to the next step.

 

As far as how being transgender affects finding friends and community, it hasn't seemed to matter much to the coworkers or friends I've told so far. It remains to be seen what happens when my feminine self starts showing more and more (with physical changes from hormone therapy, and work on my voice to feminize it).

 

I have been told about a local LGBT+ group that meets at a coffee shop not too far away, and I'm going to try to attend at least one of those get togethers and see what the people are like.

 

Your idea of cooking for others sounds like a great way to meet new friends and build those friendships. I wish you the best in that.

 

Hugs,

Sandy

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4 minutes ago, Sandy Morgan said:

Hi Lydia. I'm also new on this site, and in a similar situation, as I'm 57 and hoping to start MtF medically-supervised transition soon. I'm scheduled to talk to a LMHC tomorrow who specializes in transgender issues. I hope it all goes well and I can proceed to the next step.

 

As far as how being transgender affects finding friends and community, it hasn't seemed to matter much to the coworkers or friends I've told so far. It remains to be seen what happens when my feminine self starts showing more and more (with physical changes from hormone therapy, and work on my voice to feminize it).

 

I have been told about a local LGBT+ group that meets at a coffee shop not too far away, and I'm going to try to attend at least one of those get togethers and see what the people are like.

 

Your idea of cooking for others sounds like a great way to meet new friends and build those friendships. I wish you the best in that.

 

Hugs,

Sandy

 

Hey Sandy!

 

Making friends in the community can be a little tough. Frequently the only thing we have in common is our struggles and that framework can be a flimsy for friendship. I've had better luck with LGBTQ+ people who also share my interests. I'm not trying to discourage you, I'm just making sure that you understand that it can be a long process and you might not click with whatever group you try and hook up with first. Keep trying, be you. It'll come.

 

Also, welcome to the site! Lovely to meet you.

 

Hugs!

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Maybe I'm an odd one out (nothing new there!), but before I came out to wife, family and a rather limited set of friends I could count on one hand the number of genuine friends with which I had any real and regular personal contact.

 

Since coming out as a Transgender person and joining Transgender/Pride groups in my local town, the number of people with whom I have a regular and meaningful friendship has blossomed. But as with any relationship I do have to put in time and effort to maintain these contacts. Perhaps I just wasn't prepared to do that before, but since I have embraced the concept of being a woman in all possible aspects, I've discarded some behaviours that were typically perceived as male and adopted others typically perceived as female.  

As a genderfluid person I don't reject my masculine aspect, but the proportion of time I devote to it is reduced as a significant proportion of time I spend learning feminine behaviour increases. I had always been jealous of the way in which many women appear to put themselves forward and be involved socially. I find the language is more supportive and often more positive. 

 

Perhaps it is just that I have become more open to the concept of different social behaviour that means I am happy to join in with other people. The net consequence is that I have more friends and these are people with whom I'm prepared to share emotions which I would never have considered before. I think that helps to cement relationships.

 

I would also add that social media and groups like this all help in the communication process with these new friends, but meeting in person seals the deal. 

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I relate to what you are saying Niamh.  It's good to meet you!

 

Even communicating on this message board is a new exercise for me.  I've done virtually no social media in my life.  I'm not sure how much I should write here.  I've got writing chops, but not communication chops so to speak.  I've been deleting a lot of the emails I've been writing lately because I know I'm drowning people with words.

 

I relate to your genderfluid description.  I want to transition to being female, but it's not because I'm at war with my male side.

 

** deleted 4 paragraphs because I'm just rambling.  And that doesn't count the 3 other times I tried to write a response.

 

I don't know how much I'm actually into socializing.  I like cooking for people in intimate settings.  I don't think industrial cooking would do much for me.  It could be that the gaming group I'm involved in now will evolve nicely to allow me to do some good cooking for them (I've cooked for them twice now).  And starting to include some LGBTQ+ groups could augment that.  I could go on and on about myself on this site, in GT and with new friends, but to myself I'm starting to be a broken record.  I do love learning other people's story and I certainly don't mind sharing mine.

 

I've been studying absurdim lately so maybe that has something to do with my current struggles with finding meaningful conversation 🙂  There is no true meaning!  But food does make the world go around.  Without the need to eat, we'd probably evolve into rocks.

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I'm in my 30s and I have a very small social presence in person, as I rarely speak unless spoken to and I don't necessarily go out often. I find people unpredictable so I keep a lot of my thoughts to myself, unless I'm in a group that I know is LGBT+ or unless I'm posting online. I think joining a local LGBT+ group is a good idea. One thing you could do, if you were open to it, is join a dating site for transgender people and specify that you ONLY want friends. Some sites, not all, let you do that for free. I did that over a year ago, somebody contacted me, and I gave her my Facebook page. We still talk to each other to this day, and she's actually quite talkative, most of the time! She's transgender and we've had nothing but good things to say to each other, although, since it's an Internet only friendship we don't get emotional too often and that can be a little frustrating. She is one of my closer friends now and it was worth looking.

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Hello Artpetal!  That's great you found an online friend!

 

I don't want to make the impression that I'm getting all morbid with this absurdism stuff.  The people that know me say that I have a good disposition.  I'm generally all bouncy and happy working in my workshop, even if it is just sweeping the floor or cleaning the toilet.  But life can get exhausting and getting out in the world has always been a little scary for me.  And of course one of my main concerns with transitioning is that this will get worse, not better.

 

But I do have hope that I could have an experience like Niamh's and that it could actually get better.  There is a bit of a dichotomy with me about it.  I love being alone!  But I don't want to be absolutely alone!  My last wife filled this void perfectly, so I guess I am still dealing with some loss there.  The loss of knowing I may never have a relationship that good again.  I guess that's part of getting older.

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On 1/17/2022 at 4:17 PM, Lydia_R said:

I wrote down everyone important in my life.  There are 13 people on the list. 

When my son was growing up I told him of my thoughts about friends.  This is aside from my family whom I love dearly.  Close friends are people I would run into a burning building for.  What's mine is theirs and I know they would reciprocate.  These are fewer than a handful.  Then there are friends whom I enjoy being with and the feelings are mutual.  The next circle is acquaintances, people I know and enjoy being with but I understand the relationship could end at some point.  Then there's everyone else.  Due to hiding over the years and keeping to myself these groups are not large.  I've also thought of myself as a loner.  

 

But all that said, I have met some of the most wonderful people on this transgender discover journey of mine.  I now have a number of friends I would fight to keep.  Vicky's suggestion is spot on!  Get involved if just to attend meetings in your area.  You may be surprised.  Women are much more social than men and I find I have done a 180 turn in how I relate to people now.  

 

Hello @Sandy Morgan and welcome!  You've got a great idea there!  When I attended a monthly meeting of a group in Portland Maine, a good number of us wold adjourn to the nearby Denny's to continue the conversation and have an evening nosh.  It was a great way to meet people and learn their stories.  Go for it.   

 

Jani

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On 1/17/2022 at 1:17 PM, Lydia_R said:

My main question of the community is how does being transgender affect finding friends and community?

Hi @Lydia_R Being transgender and not transitioning made it harder and harder to want to be social the older I got. So transitioning actually made it much easier for me after some initial awkwardness of finding myself and what I wanted in my relationships. I think being authentic has made me more comfortable around people in general. I had always felt people could tell I was keeping something from them although few knew (at least right away) what it was I was hiding.

 

After many months, my desire to socialize increased and I felt a need to attend trans support groups to meet like-minded people. Even in those groups, there were several individuals with completely different skill sets, different interests, and at different life stages. Yeah, the ‘transgender’ commonality helped me become acquainted with most but it was those with several additional commonalities that helped create my longer lasting bonds. So as @Jackie C. stated above, the more commonalities over and above the fact of being transgender, the easier it is to become close.

 

One other interesting thing I found is that after transition, the individuals that you seek out or feel more comfortable getting to know changes quickly. Pre-transition, I enjoyed being around women but felt out of place if the guys were grouped together. I had to hang with the guys because that was just a societal expectation. Now however, I obviously feel much more free to be around the company of women and it is more awkward hanging with men. I noticed this with both friends and family too. The relationships changed dramatically in each group…mostly to my liking.🙂

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I decided from the start that, as Bigender, my two selves would be entirely separate, none of my fiends would ever meet my other self, and vice versa.  With me, a lot of the problem is inability to confide in family....I already know the response and it really wouldn't be favourable, so it's a non starter.  I've got great friends as my other self, but the moment you tell one it's just a matter of time.  I spent a lot of time rebuilding a badly damaged relationship with my mum, and I don't want to jeopardise that at all.

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I have found that I have a much larger social circle and friend group than ever before transitioning. As I am sitting at home recovering from FFS these last few days I have had a steady stream of friends bring food by, helping with chores and keeping me company. Not one is in the LGBTQ+ community.  That's not a knock on our community, its just my way of pointing out that just because we are trans, that doesn't pigeonhole us into only building community within our own group. I have a much more diverse group of girl friends now. Becoming comfortable with who you are and being authentic to yourself is an attractive quality to others.

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2 hours ago, Bri2020 said:

I have found that I have a much larger social circle and friend group than ever before transitioning. As I am sitting at home recovering from FFS these last few days I have had a steady stream of friends bring food by, helping with chores and keeping me company. Not one is in the LGBTQ+ community.  That's not a knock on our community, its just my way of pointing out that just because we are trans, that doesn't pigeonhole us into only building community within our own group. I have a much more diverse group of girl friends now. Becoming comfortable with who you are and being authentic to yourself is an attractive quality to others.

 

That's very true for me as well.

 

I mean, OK, my new friends are mostly LGBTQ+, but I think that's more of a reflection on where I've been spending my energy. They're diverse in other ways though.

 

Hugs!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all your thoughts ladies.  I like being on this site, but part of me is taking my time with being here.  My ability to ramble on with the computer keyboard has become a bit of a bad habit.

 

I've certainly learned quite a few things on this site in the last month or so that I've been here.  It's good to see and hear about the transitions that others have made.  I've made some progress on building up a wardrobe and have taken some strides with presenting as female in public.

 

I've come to the conclusion since I've been here that I don't want to be over critical of the transition I'm making.  I'm being more accepting of myself.  I've lost friends before as the result of other absurd things I've done in my life, so if I lose some friends over this, it'll just be par for the course 🙂  I doubt I'm going to lose any friends over this though.  And the more comfortable I get with myself, the more I feel that there isn't going to be any problem at work either.  I'm just a crazy musician after all!

 

One quote that I picked up from a post on this site is "people come in all shapes and sizes."  I noticed some women on the dating sites lately who are 6'.  So on and so forth.  And a few posts back was that people are attracted to confidence.  I certainly lack confidence.  I'm not naturally confident unless I've put a lot of hours into studying something.  Even then, I'm constantly questioning myself and my motives.  I tend to be over analytical.

 

One of the things that was brought up in GT...  She asks me how I feel about things.  And I usually say that I don't feel much of anything.  I use logic.  I take care of business.  I have goals, interests and desires.  I enjoy things.  I'm not very emotional, although I do like being emotional, sappy and romantic.  So there is the question of how my emotions could change with HRT.  It's quite an experiment!

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