How can I meet other post-transition people?
Q: I transitioned around 15 years ago. I struggled to connect with trans community earlier in my transition because I had a lot of internalized transphobia. Over the years I've done a lot of work to address my internalized transphobia in therapy. I would now like to have more friends in my life who share similar life experiences around gender and transition. It's not so much that I want to talk about gender and transition as such, I just want to have friends who get what it's like to move through the world as a post-transition person, so I don't have to explain things like what it's like to live with the constant threat of transphobia hanging over you. However, I find that the people I meet when I go to local trans community events are at much earlier stages in their transitions compared to me. They do seem to want to talk about gender and transition much more than I do, and often the things they want to talk about are practical details of how to go about taking steps to transition. I'm so out of touch that I can't contribute to any of these conversations! How do I meet other post-transition trans people?
K: Honestly, I'm not sure what to suggest that you're not already trying. You could keep going to local trans community events, but you will have to continue to wade through all the trans folks who are pre- or early transition to find anyone at a similar stage as you. The good news is that many of these people you meet will eventually become post-transition trans people, but I get if it feels too much like you're at different stages in life to become close.
If you use social media and your local area has queer or trans groups (like on facebook), you could make a post about wanting to meet other trans people who might be in a similar stage of transition/life as you. You could also check out an LGBT center in your city (if you have one). Most of the trans people I met who had transitioned a decade or more ago when I was first coming out were organizers of events there. So, while the events themselves might not be catered to trans people in your situation, the organizers might be more relatable.
S: Trans peer support groups do tend to center the specific needs and experiences of people who are newly out and/or in some stage of active transition, so it's not surprising that those spaces aren't meeting your needs. You could try a couple things:
(Sort of) publicly put yourself out there so others can reach out to you. Obviously don't do this in a way that puts you or others in danger, but if you have access to community centers/groups/online spaces where it's safe, you can make an announcement or flyer or post outlining the kind of connections you want (perhaps including some topics or activities of interest to you, so there's a basis for the connection) and inviting people to get in touch.
Talk to whoever is organizing other trans-specific gatherings, or who might be able to help you put something together, and see if you can create one centered on what you're looking for. People may feel more comfortable going to a known community space than responding to an individual stranger, and established groups may have email lists or other ways to promote the event. As with the first suggestion, you may want to center some sort of activity or discussion topic that isn't gender identity (e.g. game night, watching a concert/movie/sporting event, cooking/eating together).
If you find anyone at a support group or other event who seems to be in a similar place to you, ask if they'd like to connect outside of that space. There may be people there who feel like you do, but you don't know because the conversations focus on transition.
Do the same if you meet people outside of organized support spaces. To some extent, this is just like anything where you're an adult looking to make friends who you relate to. That's super difficult for a lot of us! But the alternative is to...not, so you do need to be willing to take the first step. There are probably a lot of people who feel similar to you who would be delighted to make the connection. If it's work or school or a similar environment, you'll already have common ground to talk about and perhaps built-in space to get lunch or coffee with people.