A few days ago, texting with a couple of friends, the conversation we were having shifted to comparing why transitioning is like rock climbing.

I really enjoy one on one conversations with other trans friends, especially when we talk about the unique views we trans people share.  I learn so much from the dialogue not only about the other person, but also about myself.  Often we have similar experiences but very different points of view. Sometimes it’s the opposite; very different events but with the same or similar approach.

Transitioning is Like Rock Climbing

I thought the exchange we had about rock climbing and transitioning was brilliant.  Mostly it was between my two friends, though I contributed one line.  Later I asked them if I could post what was said (texted) and they agreed.

So, here it is. Reproduced with permission, with minor edits for clarity and privacy, three individuals chatting:

  • A:

    Illustrating how Rock Climbing compares to transitioning
    Ug. Just remembered I’m afraid of heights. ?
  • B: Maybe just hang on…This represents transition so well!
    Climbing a rock face.
  • Me: And being afraid of [reaching] the top?
  • B: And having the forces of the world (think gravity) pulling you down in spite of your will to get to the top.
    Being on some crazy spot where you don’t know what your next hold will be.
    Every move is a calculated decision. And each move needs strength from a different part of you (like body and mind while transitioning, but arms, or fingers, or legs, or abs, or toes while climbing).
  • A: That’s why my goal is to climb the front face of a large rock wall this summer. Represents overcoming my biggest fears.
    And that transitioning can make me powerful!
  • B: I went skydiving when I was 21 to overcome my fear of vulnerability and do something to boost my confidence, and wake myself up from my brain fog. It worked!
    And that it takes work and self determination with the will to make it happen. AND to not allow yourself to second guess your decisions.

I really liked the simplicity and elegance of the conversation.  It’s thoughtful and at the same time spontaneous. Came out of nowhere and ended up quickly, but I feel it’s very descriptive particularly for cisgender individuals.  Transgender readers would probably just say ‘yep, that’s about right’.

P.S. Ms. B. suggested the title “Parallels”. She explained, ‘because we transition in parallel with other things and also the article is drawing from two parallels in comparison. It has two meanings’.