I have read some transgendered people’s evaluation of their gender disphoria as a gift and I can somehow understand why some might want to. Maybe the idea of possessing a gender duality appeals to them somehow. I am perhaps getting closer to that level of appreciation but I am not quite there yet I’m afraid.
People are born with all kinds of conditions and manage to live productive lives. The problem with gender issues is that they tend to gestate for long periods of time and the sufferer does not understand the full ramifications of their condition until well into adulthood. If you’re born blind or without a leg you can adjust to that reality and get on with your life, but conditions of the mind are more fluid and evasive.
If one wants to get closer to a comparison you can look at conditions such as schizophrenia or chronic depression where it becomes a daily struggle with your thought processes. You have good days and bad days and there are times when you think you are able to grapple with your feelings and others when you just want to be dead.
The fact that society has not been geared towards a better understanding of conditions of the mind only exacerbates the problem. It was not that long ago, for example, that people were being lobotomized as part of their psychiatric treatment. This barbaric practice went on until the early 1960’s so it is has not been that long since the world has caught up to the reality of how to treat pre-natal mental conditions like GID.
Even as the establishment understands the reality of gender disphoria, society has only begun to catch up with more sensitivity towards the plight of the transgendered. It has not helped that documents like the DSM manual have virtually considered it a mental illness and people like Ray Blanchard and Anne Lawrence have been spending time categorizing us into sub groups of paraphilics.
It has made self acceptance virtually impossible and for an older sufferer such as myself, who lived during the pre internet dark ages, the harrowing fear of disclosure was more fearful than death itself. It is a small wonder that not more of us are not dead or in mental institutions.
The long road back to a sense of well being begins with an understanding that we are simply people with different brain chemistry but deserve to be appreciated and loved just like anyone else. I tell myself this everyday as I work towards removing all of the trappings of guilt, shame and rejection one layer at a time.