that middle ground

For a long time now, I have self-identified as a Benjamin scale type 4 transsexual based on existing in that conflicted space between wanting to transition and not. Harry Benjamin described this type thusly:

"Transsexual (non-surgical) – conversion operation attractive but not requested or attraction not admitted"

This put me in a bit of a pickle because I didn’t have the high intensity urgency of types 5 and 6 however my dysphoria was stronger than types 1 through 3 who were essentially variants on what we used to call crossdressers or transvestites.

The intricate nature of belonging to this typology made me want to reject the conventional wisdom of some in the trans community which was to push in favor of transitioning. In my mind a transition should to be based on absolute need and so I have sought ways to work through my dysphoria using alternate methods. This does not mean some form of transition is off the table, but that doing so must make my life considerably better.

Residing in this middle ground is why I have tended to overthink and take a lot of care with each step. As I said recently, my scientific analysis is taking a back step to more feeling and I use the experiences of my part time life as a barometer on how I want to proceed going forward.

I have never been as far on my journey as I am today and could not have imagined arriving here. What this tells me is that maybe there is more change to come, however, instead of treating that possibility with fear I now welcome the exploration. It is not easy to remake a life this completely after so many decades of indoctrination and thus I tread softly and with reservation to make sure each step is right.

If I remain happy at each juncture is how I will know I am not erring.

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  1. Reading between the lines (never an exact science) and marrying to this post your posting of 22 August it would seem that a likely next step is starting HRT. Assuming my guesswork has some validity I wish you well as you contemplate that path. It is a logical but somewhat fateful pathway, quite unlike presenting. No one I know via the net is better placed to make an informed decision about hormone therapy.

    1. there are no guarantees about what I will do Kati. All I am doing is staying open versus saying absolutely no as I would have in the past.

  2. I believe we understand each other so well because we're similar in this respect. When you describe yourself, I keep saying yes, that applies to me, too.

    While I hope science (to the extent it grasps us now) helps you and others, I can't separate its view from the social environment we live in. If society was more accepting, our choices (on transition and life in general) would be much easier. The choice to transition includes the prospect of facing hostility if one does not sufficiently conform to traditional gender expectations in appearance and behavior. That skews one's "choice."

    1. the hostility we face becomes less important with age I find and the desire to deal with the dysphoria becomes increasingly important. We get tired of conforming to someone else's idea of who we should be. I have been finding my part time life to be quite satisfactory which skews my thinking towards the idea of transition even if only a social one.

  3. Joanna, I cannot think of anyone better informed on this subject. If you can't do this well, then none of us can.

    The comment above has reminded me that you and I are very lucky to live in a country that is as accepting as any. There are parts of the world where this discussion would be as difficult to have now as it would have been here in 1960.

    Great post, as always!


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