In 1993, at the old age of 13, I logged on to the Internet for the first time and immediately started seeking out answers for myself. The question was – why in the world do I feel like a girl when I was born a boy? Furthermore, what could I do about it and were there others that felt the same way? It didn’t take long for me to find my answer – I was a transsexual (yes, that’s what we called it back then), I could transition, and there was a whole community of people out there just like me.
Back in the “old” days, the community was much smaller, geographically dispersed, and supportive of each other. Though we mostly connected online through the early Internet, on occasion you would get lucky enough to meet up in person. But we were, for all intents and purposes, an underground community. We were hard to find and we simply wanted to blend in to society and live our lives like everyone else.
There was no trans pride. It was not something to be proud of. While it’s nothing to be ashamed of either, it was mostly looked at as a birth defect that needed correction. We didn’t want to segregate ourselves from the rest of society. We just wanted to fix our bodies and live happily among “the normals”. Everyone had their own path to get there and we respected that, though we did compare notes often.
Sometime in the last 25 years or so, the trans community has changed. For starters, it’s become a very fragmented community. Individuality has been lost for the sake of advancing the “cause”. Some trans people police other trans people’s language, clothing, medical treatment, identity, political views, and even employment.
More and more, trans people are forced to accept drag queens, cross-dressers, and non-transitioning people as part of the community. And race has started to play a factor in the “Oppression Olympics”. Recently, some have even come out against gender dysphoria as a medical condition and want to eliminate treatment, stating that the rest of society should just accept us the way we are.
I don’t know about them, but my personal gender identity isn’t some political statement or statement against gender stereotypes. I could honestly careless about any of that. I’m transsexual because I have extreme psychological dysfunction due to my physical sex organs. I have always wanted to live as a female and I honestly cannot explain why – it’s just embedded in my head. I’ve tried fighting it, but it only comes right back, sometimes with a vengeance. It affects me so much that I have seriously considered performing self-surgery on my genitals or following through with suicide.
If you don’t experience dysphoria to that degree, that’s wonderful. If you don’t want to have surgery, okay. If you just want to play with gender, stereotypes, and your outward appearance, then have at. But don’t compare yourself to what I have had to live with my entire life. My pain is real and valid. I have transitioned and taken all these steps in an attempt to find inner peace with myself.
Similarly, if you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, or whoever you’re attracted to – great, fine. Personally, I’m attracted to women. But coming out as LGB is not even in the same ballpark as being trans. Not even close. That’s one step. We go through hundreds of steps, which are usually expensive, time-consuming, and we may never reach the end.
To come out as and live as a trans person is to put everything on the line. Your friends, family, job, property, housing, money, health, and life are literally at risk every single minute of your life. Any of those can be ripped away from you and there are zero legal protections in most states. If you’re murdered in cold blood, there’s a high chance that your death will be reported using your birth name and sex, no matter how you lived.
I don’t want to be trans. I want to be myself, a woman. I’m not proud to be trans, just as someone with a cleft palate isn’t proud. I just want it fixed. And I’ll fight my way through life to get there. That might mean fighting for a good job and going through multiple doctors until I find one that will work with me.
It’s hard and it needs to be taken seriously, not as a “fun” subculture to be part of. Look, I don’t care what you do. But don’t downplay my pain or use it to score political points. If you aren’t fighting for a solution, then step aside and let those of us who need it do the work, because we’re highly motivated to do so.