I posted an entry a few weeks ago(Trans Lives Matter (even those over 24) about how older transgender people are often forgotten, or left to just get on with it and deemed of lesser importance by LGBT and transgender activism, which is heavily biased towards transgender youth. This is an issue I feel very strongly about and will continue to campaign for, as I feel a deep sense of sympathy towards older transgender people.
Although I don’t have much to do with the transgender community and for my own sake, I tend to shy away from making transgender friends, I have met transgender people of varying ages, including some younger than me and some older (but very few in my age group). Many of the experiences of older transgender people seem to be quite similar. The focus on preventing transgender youth from becoming homeless and destitute after being kicked out by their families is admirable. But very little seems to be done to help older transgender adults when they find the strength to come out, only to find their lose everything and can even end up unemployed, homeless and destitute. It seems that the older transgender people who “make it” are usually the ones with good jobs and rock solid marriages that survive the partner transitioning to their correct gender.
Many older transgender people are quite literally ‘trapped’ living as their assigned birth sex, because they are forced to make a choice between the love of their spouse and children or transition, which means dissolution of marriage and the estrangement of adult children who cannot accept the transition. It makes me wonder how many suicides and attempted suicides there are from people feeling doomed either way, yet no one ever talks about these people because they may not have even come out as transgender, never mind change their presentation in public and medically transition.
I was saddened to read this article, which is one of the few I could find regarding ageing transgender people:
Many of these people were subject to discrimination by health care professionals, were placed in wards or nursing facilities that did not correspond with their gender or were denied treatment altogether. It is sad and dehumanising that such people are literally condemned to a life of misery, after being forced to wait so many years to be themselves.
Then there’s the 25-55 age group, which is systematically forgotten and deemed too old for help with issues such as housing, but too young to benefit from medical care granted to seniors. Such individuals are just as much at risk from homelessness and destitution as any other age group.
I blame favouritism in the transgender community and an intentional bias towards transgender youth, selling images of beautiful trans-women and hyper-focusing on ‘passing’ in order to to try to make transgender people more widely accepted in the predominantly cisgender world. But what they are doing backfires, because it sets the bar way too high for many transgender people to reach, which in turn leads to more discrimination and harassment as those deemed “not trans enough”. Equally, trans-activism doesn’t seem to care much for the needs of non-binary transgender people either. But if you’re young and pretty, you’ll be seen as vulnerable and you’ll stand a better chance of getting the help you need, even if you’re poor and ostracised.
I hope that more is done to help the 25-55 age bracket and the 55+ age bracket. Doing so would save lives and would show cisgender people that the transgender community is united and keen to defend the rights of ALL transgender people.