A reader writes: “I am an older guy (53) about a year into transition and I am finding that almost every trans man I meet (online or in person) is under twenty-five. I even tried joining an online support group for those over forty, only to find that I was the only member over thirty-two!
“I found one group that did have older members, but they were all trans women. I am wondering if you can direct me to any support groups or information sites that are specific to older guys (over fifty).”
It’s a new world with regard to transition – or it seems like that to me. Of course, I blame/credit the Internet, because I think that a lot of people who might have taken years to come out and transition due to lack of information and support can now find it easily online. This often results in a much earlier transition. (At least this is what I’m seeing in the trans man community. I would be interested in what trans women are seeing in their community.)
But it also results in guys getting more information, finding community, and starting transition in middle age or older, whereas before, without the resources and contacts, they might not have done it at all. So you’ve got a couple of groups of older guys – those who transitioned many years ago (some in middle age), and those who are just starting.
Those who transitioned many years ago are not the ones you find with great frequency in YouTube videos, on blogs, or in support groups now. They were involved in social and support groups fifteen, twenty, or even thirty years ago, when they were just starting out, and they aren’t interested anymore or have gone on to other things.
Those who are in their fifties and sixties and just beginning transition are also generally not the ones you find in YouTube videos, on blogs, or in support groups. Some of them, like you, have looked for support groups and found them populated by younger guys who are having a different type of experience. Some are more private about their lives, possibly because they are more established in a career or with family, and so don’t want the visibility that the Internet brings.
And others may simply not be as well versed in the Internet. Those of us in our fifties and beyond (I’m fifty-seven) didn’t grow up with it. We didn’t incorporate it into our lives until much later, and some did not embrace it at all. I’m still trying to figure out Twitter, and I know a lot of people my age who are not on Facebook and barely use e-mail.
Not only that, but the young guys are very active, both online and in local activist communities. Maybe they just have more energy! So they’re the ones who you run into when you go online or go to your local centers. But there are older guys out there right now who are newly transitioning. I think it is just a little harder to find them.
Two places that might have information are FORGE, a Wisconsin organization that deals with anti-violence and trans aging, and SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders). Okay, at fifty-three, you’re hardly an elder in the SAGE sense, but they might be able to point you in the direction of resources for those on the younger side of old.
I know there must be other groups and resources out there – I just forgot them! (I can finally use age as an excuse for my sometimes-poor memory.) I’m sure readers will have more.
Here’s a video I found on YouTube from a guy who is having a similar experience. He is concerned about health issues, but he also talks about a lack of community for older guys, and he has done some additional videos as well. So you’re definitely not alone in feeling alone. Readers – ideas?