buyer's remorse?

I like Clare Flourish’s blog. She writes extremely well and each post makes you reflect a little. But when I read her recent entry in which she seemed to express some regret over her transition it surprised me. She states:

"If you are considering transition, I would not go as far as to say Don’t- but ask yourself, “Am I a beta male? Can I enjoy that, and not transition?”

In the post she makes reference to the idea of not trying to be an alpha male and instead settle for a beta male. The notion is simple: being who you are and not having to live up to someone else’s idea of what a man is supposed to be.

There is a lot to be said for that and sometimes we transgender people can get caught up in embarking on a full transition as the thing to do when it might not necessarily be the right thing for some of us.

It took me some time to arrive at a firm position for myself because it’s just not a such simple thing to decide. To reconcile with being less than the exemplary male that you were taught to be is not easy and sometimes feels like you are failing. But then who exactly made up the rules.

I sincerely hope that Clare can resolve her current melancholy and come to terms with where she is now and if I am misreading the intention behind her post I apologize in advance.

Her post is titled "Beta male" and can be found here.


  1. Yeah.

    Trans women often, according to my former counsellor who specialised in these things, have an unduly narrow view of what is acceptable male or female behaviour. The range is much wider. So we transition rather than living as effeminate men. I felt a desperate need to be macho and a constant failure. I don't know. It might be possible to live as a feminine male. And, yes, my current melancholy arises from unrequited love which I have just decided to give up on, because I could not have had what I wanted; and I feel bruised from that. Thank you for your good wishes. I am recovering. There is no need to apologise.

  2. Clare this is the same type of question I have asked myself. To what degree do we live as our type of male versus transitioning. It is a very difficult question to answer and I think every case is unique. I also have felt challenged in how to be myself and try to be in a relationship with someone who ideally would just as soon have this disappear. I am as of recently on my own again now but I can relate to how you are feeling on that particular front. Be well...

  3. Joanna, your posts often give me so much to think about and this one is no exception. Thanks too for introducing me to Clare's blog, which I read and am sure will now be a regular follower of.

    It occurred to me that the label "male" (or female) is just as much of an umbrella term as is transgender; there are more than alpha males and beta males. I know (and I'm sure you do too) plenty of alphas and wannabe alphas. And then there are those in the middle of the road. Perhaps I'm then a gamma male, although my Greek is failing me. :-)

    I am confident that we'd all agree that females are allowed a much broader range. Last night my wife and I were watching Marcella (a new Netflix series, have you seen it?) and there on the screen were at least four or five different classifications. I wish males would be socially accepted to have more.

    I'm hopeful too that Clare gets to be feeling better about herself. (I hope, Clare, that you don't mind my referring to you in the third person on Joanna's blog!) Despite how much I envy and wish I was female I have this inner sense that - even without losing the love of my life which I'm sure I would - transitioning wouldn't solve enough. Bravo to those for whom transitioning is what they need, of course.

    It's certainly no cakewalk to be transgender no matter where one is on the continuum of whatever gender label(s) we use.

  4. Emma you are absolutely correct in that females are afforded a wider range and that is paid through the discrimination they face and the fact that desiring to be more male is highly valued while being more female almost a flaw. Its a strange world we live in and trying to be different as a male is sometimes akin to treason. After all why in heaven's name would you even give up that privilege some would say. The answer is of course to be true to yourself.

  5. This post really speaks to me. All my life I felt like I was not "man enough." Other than being tall and strong I don't have any macho qualities and I always felt like I was faking it. There is no question that I am a *beta* and felt more comfortable on the female side of things. I don't feel like transition is for me, but I want to be comfortable in my own skin and being able to present feminine as I choose really helps with that. Society having these rigid standards really makes it tough on people like us.


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