Her process of becoming her authentic self has been a long and complex process with many winding and steep paths. Our feet have thick blisters from the challenges of the journey. But the view from the top will be amazing!
After two years of counseling, two years of hormone replacement therapy, and more than a year living publicly as a woman, my wife Cassandra will finally be having gender confirmation surgery in June. As a major surgery requiring a specialized doctor, this will require our family of four (plus Grandma to help!) to be in Chicago for almost 3 weeks for the surgery and recovery. We are fundraising to defray the costs of the medical procedure, lodging, and food.
Gender-affirming surgery 'significantly improves quality of life,' study says
When she told me she was a woman, I offered her my full support. I've been in love with her over many iterations of her personhood, from middle school through college and beyond. Over the 30+ years I've known her, we haven't always been lovers, or even friends, but we've always found our way back to each other. Our souls are paired.
Even so, transition has been hard on us. Very vew couples survive a transition. Gender dysphoria is brutal. It breeds depressive episodes and anxiety. HRT causes massive mood swings, just like puberty in adolescence. Additionally, transition exacerbates the flaws in relationships, putting stress on the tension spots that are easy to ignore or hold lightly when life is stable and routine but which bend and buckle under the weight of major identity shifts. Many of our relationships with friends and family have survived the change. But not all. Those we lost or said good-bye to when they could not show us support and understanding left us with deep sadness. Each day brings anxiety about being "clocked" as trans or misgendered, accidentally or intentionally, undermining Cass's sense of self and triggering her dysphoria. And that's not even considering the threats of violence trans people face in the world.
In addition to these common stresses people face when
transitioning, multiple buried traumas surfaced as Cassandra peeled away the layers of her pre-transition identity, one that was built to protect her after bullying experiences in early childhood. This bullying continued through high school, even though Cassandra became adept in Tae Kwon Do and intimidation to dissuade her bullies.
As a young adult, Cass was a victim of sexual assault and emotional abuse in multiple intimate relationships. The effects of these relationships were broad and deep. Dropping out of college, depression, and undiagnosed post-traumatic stress.
Cassandra deserves peace with who she is as a woman, emotionally and physically. As she continues to work with therapists to help her emotionally process her dysphoria and trauma, we will take the next step in her healing: gender-confirmation surgery.
Please help us make this possible.
- Michelle Shepardson
- Michelle Shepardson
- Ian Perry
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