Today I think I had what has to have been the least painful separation in my life.

For some time now, two of my friends and I, along with a few others with whom I'm only mildly acquainted, had been meeting regularly for a regularly scheduled role-playing session. I've been role-playing, in various forms, most of my life. In fact, one of the first clues that something in my life needed addressing was the simple fact that my female characters outnumbered my male ones nine-to-one and always felt more comfortable. At any rate, though, tonight was supposed to be a game night, so I called to make sure that the game was still supposed to run tonight.

Now, I feel it only fair to mention first that, prior to a month ago, the two abovementioned friends were the only real ties to Texas I had. I didn't want to leave them behind. I knew I could find a job anywhere, and I knew that I could find professionals in the fields in which I needed them to help me through my transition, but I didn't want to lose these two friendships, both of which had lasted over six years, one of which had lasted sixteen.

The one that had lasted sixteen ended, more or less, two weeks ago.

Tonight, the other asked, in the tone of a concerned friend, "Look, could you please not wear a dress when you come over any more? I get very distracted, and honestly it's somewhat disturbing to me."

Now, I'm usually very easy-going, but I'm also trying to learn to live my life by my standards and my rules. I asked him if he would ask the same of the other woman in the group. He said he wouldn't have to do so. I asked
why it was an issue. He said it was just the way he was raised, and that the blouse-and-jeans were fine but that the dresses and skirts bothered him. We spent a few minutes beating around the verbal bush, and ultimately
he admitted that he just wasn't dealing with my transition well and that he had in his mind a set image of me as who I used to be and that he had no interest or, so he claimed, capacity to change it.

This is where we hit our impasse. If he had said, "I'm having trouble adjusting to your changes, please give me some time," I could've said no problem and been as accomodating as possible. What he said, though, was basically that he wasn't interested in trying and wanted me to change my behavior to accomodate him. I explained in careful, simple language why, if I had to put on a certain outfit, or even avoid putting on a certain
outfit, whenever I wanted to interact with him, then I was faking reality for someone else's benefit, and that I couldn't in good conscience do that.

He said in response that he understood my position but that he didn't feel it fair to claim that he could improve when he didn't think it possible and that he didn't think it fair that I force him to be uncomfortable. I agreed but said that the only means of guaranteeing that neither of us felt uncomfortable in each other's presence, if all these facts were immutably true, was to stop interacting with each other.

At that, he got very quiet and said he was only being honest. I said I knew that and that I respected him for it. I do, actually. I respect him greatly for refusing to lie to me and telling me a truth he didn't think I wanted to hear. I also respect him for standing by his beliefs. I don't agree with his beliefs, but they're not mind to make. The conversation ended quickly from there. He wished me luck in my future endeavors and I said that any
time he felt ready and willing to attempt to face his limitation, I would be available. I made sure he had my phone number and my e-mail address, and then we said our goodbyes and ended the call.

Only afterwards, sitting in an IHOP with Jason, did I realize that, now, I really have no ties left to Texas. My parents are here, but they'll be moving when my mother finishes her degree and won't even be here to hold me. I have a few other friends, but I see them so infrequently that they don't really count as a motivation. I have the job, but that's something I could get anywhere. I have the professional relationships, but I could rekindle them with others. In short, after my endocrinologist's appointment in July, I have no reason to stay in Texas, and many reasons to leave.

I think it's time I spoke with my therapist about getting my name-and-gender letter and starting my real-life test. I've got nothing holding me back now.

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