Yesterday there were a few people online linking to this story on the Guardian:
Most of the time I generally read, go through the comments and see whether it’s reasonable discussion, twaddle or hateful ranting’s. And leave it at that. This time there were a few things that made me want to comment in return. One of them contained this statement:
Having a gender change, doesn't magically make everything OK, neither does retail therapy
There were others there as well, along the lines of why don’t we just get these psychological help or you can’t be a woman if you were born a man, or asking why fix the body when the brain is the abnormality. Usual stuff, but I for some reason yesterday I decided that I was going to make a response (I even made an account on the Guardian site for that purpose).
And it turned out rather long J So… I thought that I would duplicate it here too, and add a little extra to it (and clean it up a little ;p). I think that it gives a fairly good indication of my thoughts about my condition.
Nope it doesn't make everything magically OK.
But, what it does do is remove the hell that is Gender Identity Disorder from life and allow you to deal with the rest. You still have the same life issues that you did before, but not the extra on top from the gender issues. And trust me, that helps!
The problem with using psychology to deal with this is that the brain for men and women is not the same, there are physical differences, and there are differences in the way that it works.
Studies, in the past using transsexuals who have died, and more recently by using MRI scanners to see how the brain works whilst performing a variety of tasks, have shown that the problem is in the physical makeup of the brain, and how the parts of the brain interact. How you think in other words. And more importantly - who you are.
So you see, I am not man who thinks that he is a woman. I have a female brain in a male body - yes I was asked to go into the MRI for one of the medical studies.(And whilst it may not be an answer to the how it happened question, it does answer the why I am the way I am question – which I was something)
And yes, I agree, the brain is the abnormality, after all I am XY and therefore it should be physically male. But, you can't change the physical properties of the brain (safely) and even if you could that would destroy my personality.
Having therapy to learn how to think as the opposite gender is not going to help. This is not a problem that I have where I need help to overcome something ‘wrong’ in my head.
Having therapy to figure out just what you need to do to deal with the problem on the other hand does.
Now, this has nothing to do with being a stereotypical woman. I'm me, nothing more and nothing less. I dress how I like to dress - not how I think other people think a woman should dress. I behave how I behave, not how others think I should.
Doing so would be no better than continuing to live as a man, living a role rather than living my life – and I imagine would be just as terrible; having to constantly try to work out what others think you should be wearing, or how you should be behaving. It would be exhausting. And never letting your own personality come out.
As to the “cosmetic” surgery. On the one hand, yes I suppose it is. On the other hand whilst you can’t change the brain without changing the person, you can change the body without changing the person. Will it be perfect, of course not! But then… Who is?
Not quite what I posted, but close.
For the part about the clothes… I’m going to admit now that I love skirts and I have lots of them. I love the way that they fit my body, the flattering lines that they give and how comfortable (most) of mine are. I do not wear them because I feel that women should wear skirts – that’s obviously bull. But there is nothing to say that just because I am transsexual I can’t. I do wear jeggings too, a bit less than half the time. But I find it harder to find a pair of flattering trousers than flattering skirts. I wear heels as well, not insane skyscrapers, but between 4 and 8cm. Again, not because I think that you should have to, but because I like them. I also have a pair of vans for in the summer, and trainers for when you need something that you can just wear the whole day doing ‘stuff’.
For the part about how I behave… I’m a geek. Unashamedly a geek! I have quite the HiFi in the living room because I like a) gadgets and b) really nice sounding music. I built a server for the attic before the summer as I was getting fed up all the USB hard drives lying around and wanted just a file server where I could save things too. I have an Xbox 360 – though I will admit I have not played on it that much recently. Again, not because I don’t think that women should – some of the female programmers I have worked with would kick the crap out of me in an online game! But because I have lost interest a little, and at the moment just don’t have the spare time to play.
Put me in something with an engine and I can totally be a girl racer. I pick fast but comfortable cars; I have a super sports motorbike.
Both of the above were commented on when people found out I was transitioning.
I am not competitive. Most of the time J Meet me on a squash court and, if you are about the same level player as me, I will not be impressed with myself if I don’t win. I’ll yell at myself for missing stupid shots or making mistakes. I will be aggressive in the way that I play and I will take pride if I manage to win. The same goes for go-karting. I love it, and hate losing when I do!
I will watch both “Bond” and “Pride and Prejudice” and am a *huge* Star Wars fan. For the record, its official, the best films were “Empire Strikes Back”, “A New Hope” and “Revenge of the Sith”. In that order J Any other opinion there is obviously influenced by drugs ;p
I also adore baking, though get guilty at the thought of eating all of those calories when I am done!
I suppose the easiest way to say it is this.
I am me. I am not what someone wants me to be. I am not what I think someone wants me to be.
Oh, and whilst retail therapy may not help long term – it can help in the short term (whether it’s clothes, shoes or gadgets)