Brianna and Lorna at First Event

The Road To Oz

A transgender journey can align with a girl lost in a far-off land yearning to find her way home, could that be you? Are you really that different from Dorothy?

The holiday season provides a host of things that we have all come to expect each year: good will, a helping hand, a little more patience from strangers, and the classics on television – no, not Santa on the Norelco razor. I’m referring to A Christmas Carol, “A Christmas Story”,  “A Wonderful Life”, and the “Nutcracker” ballet.  I was lounging around home this past holiday season and watched yet another classic, the Wizard of Oz, which I hadn’t seen in years. I wondered, is Dorothy so different than us? A girl lost in a far-off land, yearning to find her way home.

They say home is where the heart is, so perhaps we are trying to find our internal home. She enlists the help of many strangers to assist her get home, only to discover that she alone was the only one that could make it happen.

There is always that day when you look in the mirror and realize that regardless of whether your “girl” desires are fashion, passion, or bedroom fantasy, they don’t seem to be going away. You acknowledge – perhaps for the first time — that this is not a phase that will pass, nor can you pretend it will never happen again. What an exciting and horrifying moment! Your transgender journey has begun. Has the tornado just plucked you out of a dream and dropped into reality? Well, you’re not in Kansas anymore, that’s for sure! Of course, you know you can’t go back the way you came, because you don’t even know how you got here in the first place. So now what? Glenda, the good witch of the North, said it best, “it’s always best to start at the beginning.”  

The path of a transgender journey can lead to self-discovery. It can be lonely and confusing, but, one step at a time, whether you like it or not, your quest has just begun. And while the journey’s end may be yours alone, it doesn’t mean that the road — yellow brick or not –, shouldn’t be accompanied by friends. Dorothy, the Tin man, Scarecrow, and Lion were total strangers with different backgrounds, experiences, and goals. Yet, they shared an adventure resulting in joy, sorrow, fear, courage, and a friendship that they could never have imagined, and their lives were enriched from the experience.

Transgender Journey

Are you ready?  Are you ready to step out, and find out who you are, not merely what you like to do? If so, friends can make any situation less scary, more insightful, and fun. That’s right fun. You’re allowed to have a little fun. That doesn’t mean you will never stand frightened before the raging fire of the Wizard like Dorothy and her friends did. You may be confronted by many unknowns and tremble through indecision and confusion. But, with friends at your side you may gain strength from their presence, and they from yours.

Variety is a good thing. That applies to your choice of friends. Find transgender parties, support groups, and advocacy groups to attend. Interact with other transgender people. Have fun, learn what you can, and teach what you know. By listening to others, and understanding their point of view you expand your horizons and theirs. Does this mean you should follow the collective vision of the trans community? Or, should you embrace your own individuality, while enjoying the company and respecting the thoughts of others? Dorothy and friends stuck together yet thought for themselves. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Invasion of the Pines 2002

Invasion of the Pines 2002

At the same time, take your newfound gender expression and make other friends outside the trans-community – gay, lesbian, straight, married, single, everyone!  Dorothy wouldn’t have found her dream if she stayed in munchkin land. You have to expand your horizons to grow. I was on my way to a gay bar and invited a friend to come along. She said, “they don’t like us there,” and chose not to attend. Do people really dislike transgender people as a group, or do some of us hide behind that idea to mask our own insecurity? Can a person be liked because of who they are and transcend their gender expression? Through my adventures, I say yes you can. 

But if you decide to share your journey with strangers, who may or may not become close friends, you have to be honest and real. No fronting allowed, because you’re only fooling yourself. Saying, “I’m different and I’m proud,” is different from actually believing it, which then makes saying it unnecessary. On the flip side, saying, “I’m no different from the average guy in the street is a bit of a stretch as well, because in some ways we are different than the mainstream. It doesn’t make us better or worse, just different.

So for the New Year, see if you can expand your social circle to include people from various types and backgrounds. Observe how they interact with you, and you with them in your varying degrees of gender presentation. If you’re comfortable with yourself, others will be too. Treat them with respect and be genuine about who you are. You may find a whole new world out there beyond the rainbow.  However, don’t rush out into the mainstream without doing your homework first. Make sure the environment you plan on going into is safe and generally accepting. Always be careful and safe by traveling with a friend, or two or more.

Have a great new year, and until next time, be safe, be happy, and always think pretty


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Brianna Nicole Austin is an author, writer, columnist and journalist and editor of from New York City, now living abroad.
Brianna Nicole Austin