A lot of people wonder why on earth anyone would want to change their gender. What goes through the crazy mind of a transgender person? Right? After all, being transgender IS considered a mental condition.
This blog post is about my personal experience of being transgender and also about how other people might relate to someone who has gender dysphoria like myself.
Relating to Gender Dysphoria
Here in Saskatchewan, Canada, there are more trucks than people so let’s work with that. Imagine you absolutely love trucks. You’ve wanted a truck since you were a kid and you’ve dreamed of owning one since your earliest memory. It seems like everyone you hang out with talk about trucks and owns them…but when it comes time to start driving, you’re forced to get a golf cart. Remember that all the rest of your friends drive trucks…but you have a friggin’ golf cart – and it’s yours…FOR LIFE! No trade ins!
When you voice your distaste for your mode of transportation, everyone (who own trucks of course) simply say, “What’s wrong with you? It has 4 wheels; it gets you from point A to point B. Why can’t you just be happy?”
Another way to look at it, if you’re a guy, is to imagine your mother dressing you in a pink tutu and a bow in your hair every day. Think about the humiliation and lack of confidence you would experience, if every time you looked in the mirror, you saw yourself in that frilly outfit and no matter how much you tried to convince people that you can’t stand being dressed like that, they just looked at you like you were from another planet.
My Explanation of Transgender
I’ve always been taught that we are spirits having a “human experience”. If this is really true, then gender dysphoria is more of a mismatch between the body and the spirit than a mental condition between the brain and the body. I’m very logical and I’m very sane. My mind is fine – my heart is what aches.
I’ve also heard that “God makes no mistakes” and if this is really true, then God’s track record sucks. God must make a lot of mistakes if for every 100 humans, 2 come out transgender (and not just now, but for decades and possibly centuries). Perhaps it is true that God makes no mistakes, but our human understanding is so limited that we can’t comprehend the true love and meaning in God’s creations.
Being a transgender woman has been about living a life full of lies. From my earliest memories, my survival instinct has been the same: Act like this – get praise; Act like that – get put in your place. Because we are fit into gender roles so early in life, acting a certain way either kept me safe and part of the “group” or outcast and possibly beat-up. Eventually, I learned to become numb. I stopped looking at myself in the mirror. I stopped wanting to go out to formal events and I came to terms with just settling for a mediocre life. I took the damn golf cart and drove it day after day for decades now.
It’s Just a Phase
I’m living proof at 48 that being transgender is not a phase. As long as I remember I’ve always felt this way and it has never changed. I’ve been an overachiever in every area of my life. I’ve been in several ministries in multiple churches, a dad to 2 wonderful kids. Buried a wife to cancer in my 30’s and remarried again to another beautifully wonderful woman…and how I’ve felt has never changed. All it has taught me to do is to lie about my feelings, hate public holidays and formal events. It has taught me to check my tongue in every conversation so that I don’t “accidentally sound too feminine”. It has taught me how to be a better actor than most of the Hollywood greats and it has taught me to believe that my feelings hold no value. Happiness is making lemonade out of lemons – day in – day out.
Having Support in Transitioning
Having a spouse and kids who support and love me – no matter what body I am in has made all the difference in my life. I began transitioning from a male body to a female body close to a year ago now and on hormones for about half that time. It has been a beautiful journey filled with much awkwardness but balanced with grace. My male body has retired – my muscles, my testosterone, my body hair – all gone. In its place, estrogen, soft skin, beautiful emotions, and a place I call “home”.
For the first time in my life, I actually like looking at myself in a mirror. For the first time in my life, I don’t check my hand gestures or the words that I use. I’m free to be expressive and my normal day usually involves some form of dancing and singing. I feel like, after a long trip, I’m finally home and just plain comfortable with who I am.
I hope this glimpse into my own journey can help those who don’t understand why someone can’t be happy with their born biology. Oh, but wait, now that I’ve had the unbelievable privilege of living as both genders and fitting so comfortably into who I’m supposed to be, I now comprehend why others can’t understand. When you are this comfortable with your own gender – wanting to be anything else – just doesn’t make sense.