Whoa!!! Controversial title or what!
There are so many difficulties with having to live a gender different to the one you were assigned at birth, that it seems bizarre to even think of any of it as a positive experience. Everything I write next is solely based on my personal experiences and I fully appreciate that many will not have as good a journey as I have done. However, I have approached my transitioning in as positive a way as possible and I wonder whether this is why I have got to where I have with very few hitches.
Sure there have been negatives and most of them caused by the medical profession, ironically the very people who were supposed to help me through it. But I've moaned enough about them in the past so lets get on with what has been good about this journey.
Living life as two different genders
This may seem a strange thing to day but it does have merit. Much as life as a man was severely unpleasant at times, some of the male experiences were worth living. This has led to a more rounded me and I am able to appreciate how life is for a man. I am very female now, finding comfort from many gender stereotypes but those male memories will remain for a great deal of time and I can particularly relate to transmen and why they wish to transition. I also know what it's like to live, work and love as two different genders and it is very insightful. It's a unique situation and only I and other transpeople can experience this.
Being less judgmental
I am definitely much less judgmental than I used to be. I suppose that being exposed to levels of abuse on the streets gives you an insight as to how others may feel with their differences. I am much more able to listen to all sides of the story and perhaps understand why others get in the difficulties they are in and not judge even if those problems seem self inflicted.
Being a part of other trans people's lives
I have needed support occasionally from others, but have found giving support is as rewarding as seeking it. Helping someone else achieve something is a privilege and seeing that the results are even more rewarding. Being a part of and contributing to someones journey means you are forever remembered in that person's life.
Another very rewarding side of this is that often the only thing you will have in common with other trans people is just that; being trans. This leads to rich relationships with others because you will find yourself having to accept different views and opinions as well as having to take interest in hobbies and activities that you might otherwise never have even known about.
Helping educate others
This is something that I have achieved a great deal of. I am very honest and open and I'll tell anyone anything about my journey. Telling my story gains me a massive amount of enjoyment and by going over everything I have achieved, helps me realise how much I have done. I know for a fact there are others who have a much better perspective of the difficulties we face.
I am still amazed by how many people really want to take an interest in my journey. Even today, we went to pick up the tax disc for my partners motability car and the lady at the dealers asked about whether we had taken the car for a long drive yet. I mentioned I had my pre-op appointment at Brighton which would involve a long drive and she seemed so pleased. She insisted that we tell her when my eventual GRS was and how it all goes. I find my days littered with such genuine interest and find it a pleasure sharing my journey.
Being in charge of your own life
I had to throw away my male self and literally start over. This gave me a unique opportunity to make myself who I truly wanted to be. I am by no means perfect, but I do like what I have achieved and love the fact there is still work to be done.
Changing yourself with hormones
This has to be the most fascinating experience of them all. I remember my puberty as a horrible time. I was turning into the man I did not want to be. Skip forward 25 years and I get to do it all over again but into the woman I always was. Add to that fact, I am a mature adult and very aware of changes and it makes for a very positive time. I got to watch my face change, my breasts develop, my body shape alter and of course many emotional changes. It was almost worth waiting for this long, to be able to appreciate it with the benefit of all those years behind me.
Appreciating help others give
This is more about the people you encounter over the course of transitioning. I think of the people like Lynne at the Exeter Nuffield who has done all my LASER treatments, Nicola who has done all my electrolysis, Lynda at the Laurel's and many more. Although they are all paid, they have given me so much and I feel so humbled at the effort they all made to make me feel normal. It helps confidence no end when you realise the world is not against you.
Being more open minded
I am much more open to ideas and suggestions that I would never have considered in the past. I had too many years of being closed minded and dismissive and anything I could not comprehend. Having this attitude has led to a few experiences that have been very positive.
Realising what you have achieved
I lived 38 years as the wrong gender, admitted my issues and started living as the correct gender. What I had to do to achieve this is sometimes mind boggling, there was so much to do. So perhaps this was the most positive thing I can take from my journey. I made it (nearly) to the end and it was so worth it.