Susan Larson came out to friends and family years ago but only recently announced her transsexuality to the world. After helping thousands for decades with sage advice on the iconic website “Susan’s Place” Larson has made it official.
Susan Larson is fully out of the closet!
It seems a little unbelievable that the person who’s helped so many people transition wasn’t herself fully out, but then again why should it? We all know how hard it is to live authentically especially for those living in the bible belt as she does.
Susan Larson first came out in 1994 but limited her announcement to friends, her employer, and family. In 1995 brought Susan’s place online, a truly visionary act. Susan’s Place was popular during the 1990’s partly because it was one of the only resources on the brand new internet, but primarily because of the forums.
To those of us who were dealing with and denying our authentic gender before the internet the very idea of being transgender was horrifying, a death sentence. But to do so alone made it nearly unbearable and undoable.
Susan Larson made this slightly more bearable giving transgender people a place to find out yes, there are other’s like me, I’m not alone.
In her coming out note on facebook this spring Susan wrote “In late 1995 when I was 24 years old, I started up “Susan’s Place Transgender Resources,” a peer support website for transgender individuals. It is intended as a safe space where transgender people can provide assistance to one another, it has the additional mission of educating the public. I have run it ever since.
“It is now the world’s largest transgender website. Around 250,000 people a month visit it accounting for 7 million pageviews a month. To give you some idea of the sheer size I have a staff of 80 volunteers who make it possible to run it, and in 2015 2.7 million people visited the Susan’s Place website, accounting for just shy of 100 million page views.”
“It has saved the lives of thousands of people around the world over the last 20 years. I have received messages of gratitude from several hundred people directly. And for every thank you that is received, there are hundreds more whom you have helped who do not send one. I would estimate that 90% of the world’s transgender community has passed through my website at one time or another.”
But what was it like helping the world transition while only out to a select few? Susan recounted that experience during a phone conversation “It was frustrating seeing people transition on my website and not being able to do so myself. Not being able to have hormones was just so difficult”.
Susan was a pioneer beginning a medically supervised regimen of HRT in the 90’s but due to financial difficulties, she was forced to discontinue hormones. Susan works full time at Susan’s Place living on a small stipend from donations.
Having begun transitioning in 2007 I looked online for resources, especially on the topic of HRT self-medication. In all honesty, I was put off by the site’s strict stance against self-medicating. The route to a ‘carry letter’ at that time meant passing through a ‘gatekeepers’ porta, AKA a therapist. Mine had led me on for years eventually telling me flat out that I didn’t fit her idea of what a woman should be. Fortunately, I had the time and money for medically supervised hormones regimen but if I hadn’t I would have gone the self-medicating route. I wrote an article HRT Self Medicating Resources in 2007. It remains one of Planet Trans most popular even though most of the links have been abandoned by the former owners. Most of the United States online pharmacies which didn’t require prescriptions were first forced off -shore then out of business by the onslaught by big Pharma, (added by the government) intent solely on profit.
I asked Susan if it was tempting to look into self-medicating. Susan’s responded that she couldn’t have gone that route mainly out of principle having been so against it for so long. So she waited until she could find another doctor and was able to afford it.
Susan waited until 3 months ago to restart HRT. Susan confided that some friends had recommended that she self-medicate but she couldn’t. That is one principled woman!
She’s rightfully delighted in living authentically, but being Susan this doesn’t come without a smidgen of controversy.
Larson’s comments on the Reddit A/Transgender were downvoted out of existence. Susan shouldn’t be disheartened by that. I was down-voted like a rabid dog and subsequently banned from those subreddits years ago. Adios Reddit.
The Advocate ran a story earlier this month about this unique individual’s life which was a sort of coming out story and well worth the read.
Welcome to the world Susan Larson and our new found freedoms you so unselfishly helped create.
I can’t think of anyone more deserving.