Being trans

I will speak to an audience next month, primarily of gender and sexuality diverse people, and thought of saying, “If you’re considering transition, don’t”. But- if I could say that to myself in 2001, when I had decided to transition, could I persuade myself? Perhaps not even if I could convince my earlier self who my current self was.

It is insulting to say “Think twice”. We think not seven times, but seventy times seven. We analyse every contra-indication. Autogynephilia terrified me, I thought if I were being sucked in to a perverted fantasy I would be terribly damaged before I was spat out. I needed my trans nature to be more soundly based. 2017 could not attempt to fool 2001 about that, and integrity might compel me to reassure myself. No, it is not merely a perversion. We note all the hostility, and I am still more interested in TERFs than their numbers and importance justify.

In the mood I am in now, I might just reassure myself. Transition is a way to live more comfortably and authentically in the World. It is not easy, and I lost some friends when I transitioned, yet I knew it was what I had to do, and it has been my path to self-acceptance.

I would warn myself about two things. Taking synthetic hormones, and doctors altering my hormone doses, has made my emotional lability a severe problem for me. Yet I have kind of known I was sensitive, and my emotional control was doing me no good. And, I regret the loss of my genitals. Yet that might not weigh much with 2001: I was so intensely ashamed of what aroused me that it might seem impossible that I could ever work out how to make arousal remotely pleasureable. It was compulsion and agony.

I don’t know if I could have transitioned without hormones and surgery.

If I decided to force myself down a different path with this imaginary time machine, I might be better to approach myself in 1996. I had had aversion therapy. I had got a pretty bridesmaid’s dress in a charity shop, worn it a few times, then let it hang in my spare room for months. I noticed it when I went into my spare room. I was quite pleased with myself for not wearing it, and after a few months I threw it away, just before I first bought a wig and visited the Northern Concord transvestite club.

I would have to take care with 1996. I could try to avoid transition by reinforcing that icy self-hatred and control, which broke me in the end- I might break myself sooner. It is the therapist’s curse, she knows the obvious truth, but if the client can’t say it himself he won’t be able to hear it either. I would have to offer something better, some self-acceptance, and 1996 might not understand. I am a different person now. He has to make his own mistakes. My guidance might take him down worse paths.

I am this person, myself and no other, and this person is beautiful. And it is difficult to be my whole self in my culture, which homogenises people, praises different gifts than mine, and in which I have failed to thrive. Recognising my beauty and fittingness is a step forward for me, and I am so badly hurt!

8 thoughts on “Being trans

  1. Dealing with gender dysphoria is brutal. You and I both know that. You also know very well deep down that you do not suffer from a perversion. You have thought this through logically as I have and your page on AGP is thoroughly well thought out. You are also a human being irrespective of genitals and that has much value. Whatever you did in 2001 is done and the remaining self acceptance is to get past that hurdle.

    I am not sure what is worse: holding on and risking regret or going ahead and living with it. Both are difficult and unsettling options.

    I know that you will figure the rest out and rather than offer a negative message to your audience I would instead propose that you counsel much thought and reflection because transition does work very well for some.

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  2. “I am this person, myself and no other, and this person is beautiful. And it is difficult to be my whole self in my culture, which homogenises people, praises different gifts than mine, and in which I have failed to thrive. Recognising my beauty and fittingness is a step forward for me, and I am so badly hurt!”

    This made me sob. I wish you all the luck and all the love in the world.

    I am a cis-gender male with gender blindness when it comes to romantic attraction and am head over heels for a trans woman who is transitioning. Her courage and humour in the face of, for me, unimaginable adversity continuously astounds me.

    It would be unthinkable for me to question her path. I love her how she is and I will love her how she will be.

    Would she be who she is if she weren’t on the path that she is on?

    Does this make me selfish? Supporting her choices instead of questioning them?

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    • She has to make her own decisions. You have to let her be herself. You can talk it through with her, but these passions take their course. One transitions, one reverts. We are more or less happy with our choices. Transition can be liberation.

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