As a child, Dayne Bachmann always felt different. “I was a tomboy. People said, ‘She’s going to grow out of it.’ Feeling different brought so many things. I thought something was wrong with me.”
High school years were even more challenging. Perhaps Dayne was a lesbian? From age 18 to 40, Dayne lived as a lesbian, but still unhappy and still confused. It was only four years ago that the transition process began. “When I met my partner, I was able to look at my partner and see why I did what I did. I had the freedom and unconditional love, just to explore who I was.”
Today as a male, Dayne is a gender therapist and author. His practice, Twin Peaks Consulting is in Derby. “My main population I work with is the LGBTQ+ community, and 95 percent of my clientele are transgendered. Listening to my clients talk about how they are misunderstood got me thinking about how important it would be to get my story out there.” Dayne cites Chaz Bono’s book, Transition: Becoming Who I Was Always Meant to Be as influential in his process, and in reading it says it was the first time he didn’t feel alone or crazy because of all he was going through.
Dayne’s book, SHe Me, is out this fall and chronicles his personal journey, and it includes important do’s and don’ts for loved ones who are coming to terms with a family member, friend, or partner’s transition.
That can be a thorny issue, as Dayne explains. “We can’t expect everyone to just jump on board.”
Dayne says that among the do’s for loved ones are to respect people’s pronouns and names. That’s critical, as is trying not to judge. “Try and remember that for the transgender person this is not just a phase. They’ve been dealing with this through their whole lives.” It’s also common for loved ones to think that the process is going too fast, but they forget that that this is something the person in transition has been dealing with in silence for many years. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to take the lead from the person with whom one is interacting.
Among the do’s for those transitioning, Dayne stresses, “do allow your loved one to grieve.” He says that it will take time for them to come to terms with the change. As for his own experience, Dayne says that there was a time when he would respond harshly to perceived slights but adds that the more he came to terms with himself, the more possible it was to develop compassion both for himself and the people around him.
Dayne also draws hope from the more widespread knowledge and acceptance of transgender people, though of course there is a way to go. “Nowadays it’s so open. It wasn’t like that for us growing up.” Younger people who are exploring their genders have a community, and they use language that Dayne freely admits he doesn’t know. As always, there is more to be discovered.
For information on SHe Me and information on ordering copies, go to Dayne’s website: www.daynebachmann.com.