So today I got into a heated argument over the concept of gender dysphoria among transsexuals and gender queers. I came off as elitist, yet my position is far from it. Regardless, the matter involves the controversial subject of those who are “legitimately trans” and those who are otherwise “just confused.” I expect to receive a lot of criticism about the matter and the consequence of being called an elitist. I’m not, but needless to say, you’re probably going to say I am.
If I could speak candidly for a moment, I’ve typed up a scenario that I have seen many times before among the lives of fellow transwomen. I am writing this with the presumption that we all agree that society has an unnecessary bias towards masculinity, and the consequence of that is the tendency for male-to-female transsexuals (who would otherwise live happily in the non-conformative gender queer lifestyle) to conform to a feminine extreme in order to validate their gender expression.
So, dealing strictly with a binary system
I don’t believe that any transwoman is 100% female. For that matter, I don’t think any ciswoman is either. Rather I’m more inclined to believe that everyone (both trans and cis) possesses their own, unique gender continuum — possessing qualities from both groups, in a majority-minorty ratio. For example, some transwomen are 70F/30M, while others could fall on a more or less extreme along the continuum. Personally, I’m 60F/40M, yet I’m not comfortable with the idea of living forty-percent of my time as a male.
However, if I were gender queer, I probably wouldn’t want to conform to any particular side, but I also wouldn’t necessarily be comfortable with permanently modifying my body, either. And if I were, oh say….40F/60M, and enjoyed sex as a male, and then had GRS, that would probably complicate my sex life — especially if possessing a phallus was an important part of my gender expression.
And the fact is, I shouldn’t have to go to such extremes to validate my gender expression, yet if I were confused, and unaware of the freedom of living a gender queer lifestyle, and started exploring gender non-conformity, there is always the chance that I could wander into the realm of the transsexual; attracted by the beauty and success and freedoms that so many of us have shared with our peers.
So let’s play out a scenario:
My name is Daniel, but I secretly explore a persona called Daniella. I have a wife and two kids (both are under 12), and a family who is bible-thumping Christian conservative and anti- LGBTQIGQC….etc. My wife doesn’t know, and to be honest, I’m not really sure how she’d feel about it anyway. I desperately want to get out of this masculine shell, and explore all avenues of gender expression, so I talk to a therapist about it. She suggests, after hearing my sentiments, that I could be gender dysphoric.
And here’s where the problem begins:
The fact is, the tests and studies that validate GID do not necessarily differentiate those who are transgender (bearing strong transsexual potential) from cross dressers and gender queers and everybody inbetween.
So I take a battery of tests that conclude possible gender dysphoria and my therapist suggests a route that would help me to explore my gender identity. Unfortunately, the only resources in my area do not deal with gender queer issues but transgenderism — most particularly facilitating transsexuals. I also do some digging online, and I have no clue about what I don’t know, so I completely omit any searches dealing with gender queerism.
So, I talk to my therapist and play devils advocate and play out a scenario of life as Daniella, and my heart melts. The thing is, that world right now just seems so damned attractive, and I really have never gotten to explore it, so I flirt with this concept for months.
After three months, I’ve decided that I’m tired of all of this teasing and that I’m just gonna go ahead and take the plunge.
I lose my wife…
And even my closest friends in the process.
But at least I’m getting to explore that my part of my gender identity, and the change is refreshing. I’m also holding onto that feeling for as long as I can because, if I lose it, the overwhelming reality of the trade-offs will settle in, and I’ll start getting suicidally depressed.
Meanwhile, I look for reassurance, validation, and advice from everyone about tips and tricks, and assessments of where I am, and where to go from here. So I start attending regular groups, and spend hours a day on online forums — both of which are filled with older peers who are elitist and impart their conformitive beliefs onto me. I want to feel validated, so I adhere to their elitist standards.
All this while, I didn’t want to feel like a pervert
I always enjoyed certain elements of my life as a male — namely, sex as a male. I love penetrating almost as much as being penetrated. And the idea of being a woman with a penis is really sexy. I’m not an autogynephile, because those freaks are perverts! My mentors have always been really clear about that, and I don’t want to be an outcast, so I guess I’ll have to do without.
Later I get the all the surgeries, but I’m unhappy. I lost everybody important to me, and now can’t even enjoy the shallow pleasures of sex. Well, not normally, anyhow. And it’s so hard to orgasm — it’s just frustrating. It’s not so bad living as a woman, it’s just it’s not what I really wanted. I start asking myself, “was it really worth it all? Did I really need to go through all of this effort, spend all of this money to the point of impoverishment, and for what? So that I could earn the privilege of wearing women’s clothes and doing women’s things?”
Hopefully you see what I’m getting by now
Yeah, it’s their choice, but is it worth all of the pain? Should they really have to go through all that trouble?
Because, the fact is, many of us, through the process of encouraging them, also try to guide them along a path similar to our own. And sometimes, we don’t even realise when we’re being biased; when we’re secretly alienating their gender identity, and influencing the direction they will take.
It’s for this reason that I am disinclined to encourage anyone who I am not at least 75% sure will be happy in that gender role. Even then, I’m often cautious as to how much to offer them. I know that sounds cruel, but I’m not comfortable with the possibility that my actions could play a role in bringing about the misery — and possible ruin — of a good person. Especially if any of that pain is entirely unnecessary and avoidable.