A post-transitioned friend mentioned that she’s run into a lot of older potential transitioners who have decided not to pursue their transition because they fear the cost will be too high, i.e. loss of job, loss of family and friends, etc. Whether all those things would come about or not is irrelevant because they don’t want to take the chance.
Am I doing a cost/benefit analysis myself right now,? Yes. To answer another friend’s “Trans Turing Test,” if I could magically transition tomorrow, would I? Yes.
But I don’t think it’s as simple deciding not to transition out of fear.* It’s also possible that one concludes that the benefits aren’t sufficient.
As I’ve said before, I don’t hate being a man, but I’m finding I’m more comfortable as a woman. With the added overtones of: I’ve done the guy thing for five decades, why not try something new (shades of “Orlando”).
So the benefit for me of relieving dysphoria is less than it seems to be for many people who transition, i.e. for me it’s not “transition or die.”
Even if I do end up transitioning full-time, I don’t see that’ll be for “transition or die” reasons. It’ll probably be because of the desire for body modifications that can no longer be disguised in guy mode (i.e. for me, D-cup breasts are appropriately-sized given how stocky I am (I’m a 44-46 bra size), and binding them to go to work doesn’t seem particularly desirable or realistic). Would I die without big boobs? Nope, but I might be somewhat yearning.
So yeah, for me it’s more about how much happier will I be after each step, electrolysis, FFS, hormones? (Obviously the first two do definitely come with a financial price tag.) Will true dual-living be sufficient? Yes it means putting on the “guy suit,” but then again, like most people I put on my “work persona” anyway. Would full-time transition make me happier enough to justify all the various costs of transitioning full-time? Specifically the cost of what it might do to my career, and all that implies financially. Lots to ponder…
So I think it’s also that middle-pathers (even one like myself who seems to be tiptoeing up to the line of transitioning) are more comfortable with handling ambiguities and contradictions. So the costs and benefits are less clearcut as well.
At the point the reasonable course of action seems to be take a step and seem how things go afterwards.
* Which isn’t to say there aren’t would-be late transitioners living lives of quiet desperation.