Regrets, I’ve had a few…and maybe Caitlyn Jenner does too

patti dawn swansson
patti dawn swansson

There were, I must confess, moments during the formative days and months of my transition when I wondered if I had gone completely off my nut.

As much as I had been blessed with the unwavering support of most of my closest friends and some co-workers, I also experienced much pain and many tears, the product of disturbing actions and catty comments delivered by a large constituency of uneducated agitants and those in the lesbian, gay and bisexual collective who view transgender individuals as a circus sideshow.

I swear, had I a dollar for every drop of waterworks that fell from my blue eyes due to verbal and/or physical abuse, I could swan off on an annual Hawaiian cruise.

Indeed, I recall engaging in serious self-counsel one evening in the ladies washroom at Paparazzi Nightclub, scant seconds after yet another callous cad had foul-mouthed me with yet another unnecessary and unprovoked unkindness.

“How,” I asked myself as I dabbed at my tears with a tissue, “can people be so cruel? Especially gay people. I might as well go back to being a guy.”

Yes, that’s how bad it had become. I actually said, “I might as well go back to being a guy.”

I knew that, as a guy, I never had been mocked, maligned and ridiculed simply for being a guy. Being a guy was easy. I never had trouble finding work. I never had difficulty getting dates. There was no shortage of landlords or landladies willing to rent me a roof and four walls. No one mistook me for Einstein, but few considered me a ditz. I could walk past any construction site in town and not one of the hard hats would send crude and lewd, sexually explicit remarks my way. No one stalked me, no one groped me and no one hit on me on the street. I was seldom alone or felt lonely. On the surface, being a guy was a good gig.

But, of course, I was dying inside. So, cue the transition, beginning January 2007.

Since then, all those things that never happened to me have happened to me. Repeatedly. After all this time, some of it still does. It was, for example, less than two months ago when a fellow named Claude chose to chat me up one early Saturday evening at Paparazzi. He knew me to be transgender, but I was receptive to his bidding because he seemed to have a harmless, pleasant bearing. Then, after about 10 minutes of light-hearted, getting-to-know-you banter, it happened.

“Do you,” he said, “have a penis?”

vanity fair cover3That is an unacceptable remark at any time, let alone 10 minutes after introducing yourself to someone.

“Oh, just fuck off,” I told him on one of the very rare occasions when I drop the F-bomb. “Just get the hell away from me.”

This incident helps explain why my physical time spent in the LGBT collective has gradually eroded over the years, to the point whereby it now is basically non-existent. Who needs that level of abuse, right?

At no time, however, have I granted serious ponder to detransitioning.

I bring this to your attention because sex-change regret has wiggled its way into the larger transgender conversation due to celebrity biographer Ian Halperin’s claim that everyone’s go-to trans gal, Caitlyn Jenner, is contemplating switching bathrooms. That is, the former Bruce Jenner might become the former Caitlyn Jenner.

“Her doubts centre not on her identity as a woman, but her devout Christian beliefs about sexuality,” says Halperin, author of Kardashian Dynasty: The Controversial Rise of America’s Royal Family. “Caitlyn remains attracted to women but as a Christian believes same-sex relationships are sinful.”

Not surprisingly, one of Kitty Cait’s salaried mouthpieces has denounced the Bruce-to-Caitlyn-to-Bruce trifecta as “idiotic,” and Jenny Boylan, a member of the I Am Cait trans troupe on E! Channel, writes it off as “total crap.”

“The real question is, why is cis-media so eager to believe it?” asks Boylan, Writer in Residence at Barnard College of Columbia University. “Why are you?”

I don’t necessarily believe the story, but I do believe the story is possible because I’ve experienced the many struggles of transitioning, and I know one person who detransitioned five years post-surgery. I’m also familiar with the sad Mike Penner story. A sports scribe with the Los Angeles Times, he made a very public transition to Christine Daniels, then reverted back to Mike Penner before killing himself a little more than a year later. Detransition happens. How often, no one knows for certain. There is no definitive data.

Considerable wealth, skin hue and celebrity entitlement grant Jenner privilege that most transgender women only dream of. She is not, for example, required to seek employment. Her job is being Caitlyn Jenner. She lives in a Malibu mansion, people can’t resist the urge to decorate her with an assortment of awards and honors, and she flits about the country with her I Am Cait trans posse, presumably on her dime. Life is grand. Or so it seems.

None of that, however, is a guarantee that she is exempt from sex-change regret because, all surface appearances aside, it’s possible that Caitlyn Jenner harbors one commonality with many other transgender women—she might be an incredibly lonely person.


One thought on “Regrets, I’ve had a few…and maybe Caitlyn Jenner does too”

  1. No dicision of this magnitude can be made without serious contemplation. Even with that there will be gostly doubts. Over all it is a decision that we make based on what we know. It is also a decision we make, knowing we know nothing about the final outcome. The decision to transgender ultimately is made because we (I) knew I could not go on living with the status quo.

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