Heavy Issues Need Self-Care

Heavy Issues Need Self-Care

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I’m dealing with a couple of heavy issues, personally right now, that I’m sure many trans readers will resonate with. The first involves having PTSD and ASD. Many of our readers, I’m sure, are also on the spectrum, because I know there is a high connection between being trans and being on the spectrum.

I went to a very large conference in England over Christmas. There were almost 2,000 people there. I presented six workshops at the conference. I did have the opportunity to meet some people IRL that I’ve only known online for many years, and to meet a lot of very awesome people, so that was great. But being in a relatively compact area with so many people was absolutely overwhelming for me. Even with practicing self-care, taking breaks, retreating to my room, etc., this experience has left me in a situation where I do not want to be around people now.

I have not been back to the synagogue I attend since I returned to Las Vegas. On a typical Shabbat, over 100 people attend services, and quite frankly, I’m afraid to be around so many people. To have to socially engage with even a few of them is just a daunting task. And having people sitting near, around and behind me is terrifying. I need to sit in the front so I can hear the rabbis – I’m profoundly hearing impaired. I’ve had problems with hearing aids, but I’m working on that, so I might be able to sit in the back of the sanctuary which will help some, but to have to engage with so many people at once – I’m overwhelmed.

Many of our trans siblings also deal with PTSD and spectrum issues, and so I know you have similar struggles when it comes to social events, whether it’s going to a concert, sporting event, bar or religious services. We can take anti-anxiety medicines, do mindfulness practices, develop strategies to help, but it can still be terrifying.

The other issue I’m confronting is aging. My wife and I are in our 60’s and she has dementia. Like many trans folx, I don’t have any children, and my wife’s kids are not in a position to be responsible for us when we need support. So, looking to the future, in meeting with my lawyer, I had to make some tough decisions. What happens if I die before my wife? Who is going to manage her care, pay her bills, etc? She can’t make those decisions. Fortunately, her sister and her sister’s partner have agreed to step up to be my wife’s health care proxy and trustee, so that part is covered.

For many of us in the trans community, as we age and have to make these kinds of decisions, if we only have chosen families, the decisions can be much more difficult. I am very fortunate that my sister outlaws (as they call themselves – they are queer) are down to help us out. But how many elder trans people have to find trustworthy people, or even hire professionals to take on these roles, because they don’t have their bio-families to count on and their chosen families may not be able to take on these roles for many complex reasons.

These issues are not necessarily unique to the trans community, but they weigh on us much more heavily because of unique aspects of our lives that others do not face. The fact that both of these issues are hitting me at the same time is making me kind of an emotional wreck right now. Fortunately, I have a decent support network, and writing this column is, in itself, therapeutic.

If you are facing these kinds of issues and do not know where to turn, you can reach out to me through Angela for assistance. Or go to the PFLAG hotline web page — many of these outstanding organizations can help you figure things out. In addition, there are, in many locations, law firms dedicated to helping queer people out with their unique issues. You can do a web search for a queer law firm in your area. They usually operate on sliding scales, so if you cannot afford to pay the full freight, they will still take care of you. Just be patient because they are in very high demand.

Whatever you do, please remember to practice good self-care.

Peace, Rona

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul


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