I was reading Jacky’s blog today and a bit of an epiphany (??) struck me (well, something like that). I’ve heard, and personally experienced, where cis-gendered men help trans men learn various male activities: tying a tie, smoking a cigar, how to dress, etc. Sort of a quasi-bonding effect. And it’s made me begin to wonder if this is the one way to remove “hatred” towards trans individuals by involving cis-gendered individuals into the transition process. It’s not to say that they should be forced to participate but rather that if help is offered, it may be worthwhile to accept it. Laws do not help society accept change; being exposed to a positive experience does (conversely, so negative experience re-enforce stereotypes and poor preconceived notions).
This is also not to say that if you’re stealth that you come out, looking for a cis-gendered mentor/big brother/big sister. I think that having this, especially as we go through our puberty stage of life (yet again!), can be helpful all around in the long run beyond us. Those that did the Stonewall Riots started the path for us. This helps us set that path more and more as an open one for all who walk down this path. And, ideally, to do so without fear, uncertainty or doubt (there should be a healthy smattering of each of those but they shouldn’t shadow our lives to non-existence).
One thing I’m not sure of is whether this is strictly something that FTMs experience it or whether trans-women get help from cis-gendered women as well (strangers, colleagues rather than spouses). But even spouses, to me, are more supportive when they feel they are part of the process and have value to add. It’s really something that is needed and can be helpful, especially for someone like me who didn’t really have male role-models. I have recently joined FTM Mentors as one place to get some support from other trans guys and I might see more support from colleagues in May (we’ll see — it will be interesting to see what is said or asked).