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making an informed decision

After much deliberation, I have decided not to medically transition but not because it is not a desirable thing.

My decision is based more on a combination of having found happiness in my life and the realization that I can live with a certain degree of gender dysphoria. There are always tradeoffs to every reality and I have pondered my situation at great length. It is true that my ability to present and pass as a woman has played a significant hand in my decision.

No one knows what causes dysphoria and each of us must grapple with what to do about it. If you are young and understand yourself well enough, transition could be a wonderful option which will set your life on a new path and permit you to respect your personal sense of identity.

Not all people who transition resolve their gender issues entirely because what they might have imagined in their mind’s eye may not be attained. You may expect to pass perfectly or resolve your body dysphoria only to realize that, even with a series of judicious medical procedures, what you wished for becomes unattainable.

Here is where I think reality must dose us with its freezing-cold water. Before embarking on any changes there must be a keen sense of self and a confidence borne out of self-love; not in the narcissistic way but in a way that respects your uniqueness and welcomes it unconditionally. You must resolve to run your life using your personal compass and disregard what one is supposed to do. This is independent of what your body looks like.

Sex and gender are deeply complex subjects that have been simplified by a society hell bent on fashioning convenient static binary models. It was a way to control the uncomfortable reality that these behave much more like spectrums and we all know that once you impose something, the human tendency to conform to peer pressure becomes irresistible.

That pressure must be removed, and a personal reality created that allows you to fit into it with comfort and grace. Then and only then, can you make an informed decision.

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Comments

  1. Good for you, Joanna, for considering your options, and reaching the best decision for yourself! That is no small feat. You should be very proud!

    --"Not all people who transition resolve their gender issues entirely because what they might
    --have imagined in their mind’s eye may not be attained. You may expect to pass perfectly or
    --resolve your body dysphoria only to realize that, even with a series of judicious medical
    --procedures, what you wished for becomes unattainable. "

    Very well said! Transition, socially and/or physically, must be approached with eyes wide open.

    There are limits to the extent to which the human body can be altered. Barring a miraculous medical breakthrough, no trans person alive on the planet in 2018 will be able to become a functionally reproductive member of the gender/sex with which they identify. This is not to our shame, nor does it undermine the legitimacy of our true selves; it is just a matter of fact.

    Upon transitioning physically, one might just find herself (or himself or theirself, but I'm speaking somewhat autobiographically here) so assimilated into society at large that it becomes impossible *not* to be mistaken for cisgender. This result, probably so desirable to so many trans people, also comes with a host of its own issues, as you will never not be trans. For instance, at what point is it a lie of omission in any relationship (not just sexual relationships, but friendships and other interpersonal relationships) not to disclose? A life of non-disclosure might be "safest," but is it healthy? It can, indeed, lead to a kind of psychological isolation and loneliness.

    Oh, I love my life, but I also wish we were a little further along in history, and experiencing a little less backlash in my country (USA) from the crazed-right wing, such that disclosing my trans status was on par with disclosing my religious beliefs or ethnic heritage (though the crazed-right is even making that more difficult for the moment).

    In any case, you are absolutely correct, Joanna. And transition must be approached with that old prayer/adage in mind about changing what one cannot accept, accepting what one cannot change, and being wise enough to to know the difference.

    :)

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    1. You have no idea how much I appreciate this feedback coming from you Caryn. Thank you! :)

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