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Friday, September 1, 2017

Guest Post - It's Not a Lifestyle Choice!

Laura-Ann, is a friend I met via our very large TG group in Northern California (River City Gems).  She has offered up another guest post for T-Central.  This girl really need to start up her own blog.  She writes so well!

It's Not a Lifestyle Choice!

For a while now, I have occasionally come across posts on social media referring to people in the LGBTQ community as having made a "lifestyle choice". Please don't refer to my gender transition as a "lifestyle choice". For many transwomen and transmen, it was a "life or death" choice. A lifestyle choice is like, "do I want to buy a sedan, an SUV, or a minivan for my next car?". A gender transition, and the dysphoria that precedes it, is a little more serious than deciding what kind of car you want to drive, or whether to redo the flooring in your house with carpet or hardwood. I can't speak for any other transgender person, but I will tell you what it was like for me. For 2 years, following the death of my wife of 29 years, I struggled with my gender dysphoria, becoming ever more disoriented, and almost losing sight of who I was. On June 4th, 2016, I was dressing in a man's suit - I had only just purchased it - to go to a formal dinner, and it just felt so horrible, so flat-out wrong, that I wanted to tear that suit off, burn it, crawl under the bed, and die. I had been presenting as a woman 80% of the time for five months at that point, but I had not yet come to a clear understanding of what was happening to me, and I had not yet realized that I was in fact a transgender woman.
At the moment of my most extreme gender dysphoria and distress that night, while I was trying to knot my tie, the thought passed through my mind that I didn't have to do this any more. That I could, and should, accept myself as being transgender. That I could ask my therapist for permission to transition, quit fighting it, and move forward. What that train of thought felt like, was that some huge weight that had been crushing me had been lifted off, and I was free. Gender dysphoria is an emotional disconnect that can manifest itself in depression so severe that the victim may eventually attempt suicide if the issue is not addressed and resolved. I made it through my own penultimate gender identity crisis, and thanks to the support I have received from family and friends, I am in transition myself, and much, much happier than I had been at any time in the last 4 years.

I know that I am a transwoman, and that I have always been so. It just took 58 years for the walls that society forced me to build around my female gender identity to finally crumble under the pressure. I am not transitioning because it's fun, or because I'm bored and wanted to try a new lifestyle, or because I was dissatisfied with being a guy. I did it because the pain of continuing to pretend to be a man in my own mind was beyond my limit of toleration; it was transition or die. I do not expect any cisgender person, whether religious or not, to understand gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria on an emotional level. You can no more understand what people like me feel, in terms of our gender identity, than you would understand what a beautiful sunset would "look like", if you were blind from birth. But that's okay, as long as you can understand that, in every other way except for our gender issues, we are just people, like everyone else. We are doctors, lawyers, teachers, chefs, artists, musicians, scientists, engineers, cops, soldiers and sailors, and accountants...every job or profession that exists probably has trans people working in it somewhere, and doing just as well at it as their cisgender co-workers. We're just people, who love our kids and our spouses, same as cisgender people do, and all we ask from life is to be valued by our fellow citizens the same as everyone else. And to not have to live in fear of being fired from our jobs, or murdered by people being consumed by hatred, just because we are not now living in our assigned-at-birth gender.



  1. Indeed it is not a lifestyle choice and yet this is what the religious right and radical feminism peddles to suit their own twisted agendas. No one in their right mind would deliberately wish to go through all this grief for the fun of it but that is what this moronic and insulting term implies.

  2. Well said indeed! As Calie suggests, you should blog and post regularly.

    When I read "the thought passed through my mind that I didn't have to do this any more. That I could, and should, accept myself as being transgender. That I could ask my therapist for permission to transition, quit fighting it, and move forward. " it brought to mind that same time for me, two years ago. My marital situation was complex and unresolved then, and when I accepted myself, I also had to ask myself for permission and forgiveness for what I had to do.

    The hard work of being yourself never ends Laura-Ann. But it is living for the first time in so many ways, and no, it is far from a "life-style" or a "choice".

    All the very best and thank you for letting Calie post this here.


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