One of the many kind things which people say to me about all this is that I'm being very brave. I really appreciate the compliment when they say this. It's a really nice thing to say. The only thing is, I don't feel it and I'm not sure it's true.
Another rather surprising comment I saw today was that transitioning is supposed to be more stressful than being on the battlefield. Considering that whole denial process, I presume there are quite a few people who are in a position to compare this. Lots of M2F GID people in the military.
There is of course no way I can compare my experience to theirs, so I can't compare. However, I have been shot at several times and the difference there is the abstractness of the situation. When people are shooting at you they tend to be a long way off and if you don't get injured or killed and one of your compatriots don't get injured or killed, it's a bit of an anticlimax because nothing happens apart from loud bangs and bright flashes. I'm sure that this is entirely unlike being on a battlefield though.
I suppose the difference is that if you're on a battlefield, it doesn't go on for very long compared to this, whether or not you survive, and you might also be armed yourself and be able to defend yourself. Self-defence is a possibility here and there are the obvious "not being stupid" things which everybody is conscious of and is lucky enough to avoid.
I think the key for me not thinking I'm brave is the same as the usual reason. I live a charmed life. Just as the local authority never found out about our community-based education and no-one challenged it for the whole time we were doing it, I am likewise floating blissfully through life with no problems arising. I do get people swearing, shouting and laughing at me of course, and giving me looks of disgust and disapproval, but I'm thoroughly used to that and it happens a lot less than it did before I started doing this. I've escaped from a much more threatening situation into this one.
Something I really do want to emphasise here is the massive level of support and acceptance I've received from friends, family and even clients. There is only really an upside to this. Few people have my brilliant people, city and situation. That might go some way towards explaining why I don't need to be brave.
There is one other thing though. If you were in a burning building, you would leap through the flames if you could. The circumstances immediately beforehand were pretty awful and it doesn't take much courage to run away from the sinking ship, burning building, landslide or volcanic eruption. Or rather, it does, but you have to find it.
Therefore, I think the fact that I don't feel brave comes down to the fact that I know some truly wonderful people whom I feel I can never repay, I am very lucky to be living in Leicester, I am possibly blissfully ignorant of how bad things can suddenly become, and as well as all that, it would've taken a lot more courage, and probably foolhardiness, to remain in my former situation than to escape from it. So I did need to have some firmness of resolve, but in the end it wasn't that daunting.