Those who go through a process like transition form strange alliances.
We were all different before; the process forces us to come together, and we form cross-cultural friendships as a group, our backgrounds not mattering. For a while we all have the same goals and preoccupations. We are bonded. And to the outside world we all seem remarkably similar. And then, once the major personal changes are over, we diverge again into our separate worlds. A Breaking of the Fellowship. Because unless there is something particular to sustain a connection, the mere fact of being trans cannot hold people together indefinitely. There is only so much you need to discuss with your friends for the time being. There is only so much group comforting required. Only so much that can be agreed upon. One day, after every essential stage is complete, the glue cracks and people break away one by one. Probably to disappear without trace into their private worlds, pursuing the ordinary ambitions of any human being, and never to be heard of again.
Imagine going to live in a foreign country. At first the language and the local customs seem impenetrable, and you cling to mutual support from other ex-pats. But after a while it all becomes easier. And then one day you see that it has stopped being difficult. From that point, you can go your own way. Your world revolves around the ordinary people of the country, and a distance opens up between yourself and the ex-pat community.
For some of my trans friends, that moment of departure happened a long time ago. For others, it looms and will eventually have to be faced. I'm thinking that the greatest challenge of transition, apart from the original coming-out, is deciding when you will make that decisive break.
It's a psychological thing really. It comes on bit by bit. There is no need to literally abandon dozens of friends all at once, nor the lifestyle that went with them. But in your mind, a fissure will open up between yourself, the transitional life, and some of the people you associate with it. It will gradually widen into a crevasse. It's entirely natural. Time's up. You've had your turn. Now you must do something different on your own.
Who should stay in your life? Who can you take along with you into the future? Surely in the end it's down to personality alone. Only those people who have important things in common - interests, attitudes and temperaments - will be a good match for each other, and survive as friends.
Mind you, this is a counsel of impossible perfection. I've had friends - I speak of the past forty years - whom I now realise were not a good match at all. I could not abandon them for two reasons: one, I'm terribly loyal; and two, I felt that one should bend over backwards to overcome reservations about a quirky habit, the occasional forgetfulness, some intolerance or prejudice or unjustified partisanship, or a certain touchiness when this or that subject was mentioned. And sometimes I felt they were wobbly and vulnerable in a secret way that they couldn't possibly have admitted to, and this, if nothing else, made me feel that I couldn't rob them of whatever my friendship was worth. Perhaps, for all I knew, the perception was mutual. Perhaps we were deceiving ourselves. But it's easy to see how difficult it is to make rational decisions about breaking away and making a definite new beginning.
So the 'trans world' is a transient world really, full of temporary alliances that will last only if there is some other, more enduring adhesive. Very far removed from the Monolithic View of trans people as an ever-growing united Force on the March, with a Collective Agenda and a Subversive Presence everywhere. To me, that seems like 1950s science fiction. Lookalike aliens infiltrating society and taking over, and other scary nonsense. When all the time we were just getting on with clearing up after the snow, and cooking lunch, which is the next thing on my own agenda.