How to Start Right Where You Are

Welcome to One Small Thing—my biweekly newsletter that provides you each time with one small thing you can start doing today to make a difference in the life of a person who identifies as transgender or gender non-conforming.

I’m so grateful you are here.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like spring carries with it the buzzing energy of change and clearing out the old to make room for the new.

Most of the time I welcome the newness—especially when tulips are involved—but let’s be real: change can be difficult, too. Even when the change is for the better.

I am guessing that you are reading this because you are interested in learning how to make the world a safer and more compassionate place for trans* folks.

And learning new behaviors and ways of thinking is difficult!

That’s what I want to acknowledge today. That change is hard.

And that for lasting change to happen we first need to accept ourselves right where we are.

One of my favorite quotes by psychotherapist Carl Rogers is this:

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.

Before we get to definitions and terms and experiences that are relevant to those who identify as trans*, it’s important that you know that it’s absolutely okay for you to be right where you are.

For some of you that might mean having a lot of knowledge about issues and experiences relevant to those who identify as trans*. And for others of you it might mean that you don’t have much knowledge at all—and that’s okay too.

It’s okay to have a lot of questions. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to keep learning.

Just because I identify as trans* doesn’t mean that I was born with my knowledge and experiences programmed into me (wouldn’t that be nice?); I’ve had to do a lot of learning myself.

I have friends who have shifted preferred pronouns and/or name over the course of our friendship.

I’ve had to challenge my own biases and internalized transphobia.

This is a process. It’s not a thing you can learn overnight. It’s not something you can read in a packet of handouts and then consider yourself an expert.

It takes time. It takes patience. It takes challenging yourself and moving beyond your comfort zone.

But the beauty of a process is that it gets to be just that—a process. Something that happens over time. You don’t need to know everything right now. You don’t need to be perfect.

You need to be exactly where you are. (I’m going to spare you the flower-blooming-in-spring-on-its-own-time metaphor here but, for the record, I endorse sentimentality whole-heartedly.)

Right now you are here, reading this, and every other week I will meet you here—often through video, sometimes through writing, photos, or interviews.

I’ll be here with one small thing you can do today to make a difference in the life of a person who identifies as transgender or gender non-conforming.

And you can be right where you are.

So, let me know: where are you in this process? What do you hope to learn? What would you like to learn? Let me know in the comments below! You can share your excitement, concerns, hopes and struggles with this process.

If you enjoyed reading this or know someone who needs a reminder that it’s okay to be right where they are, please share. And don’t forget to sign up in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page if you’d like a tiny dose of me twice a month in your inbox.

I look forward to seeing you again soon!

With gratitude,
grey doolin

2 thoughts on “How to Start Right Where You Are”

  1. I am at the beginning of a journey with my sibling as they begin their transition. I am educating myself, working on using their preferred pronouns, and being there to support them however I can!

    1. Thanks for sharing where you are in this process, Alyssa! And I deeply appreciate the ways you are supporting me 🙂

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