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When you don't accept yourself you think you suffer from compulsion. The mismatch between your birth sex and gender identity and your attempts to bridge the gap are exceedingly confusing when you're growing up.

I was working hard to ignore the problem and my occasional giving in to temptation was met with guilt and shame rather than embracing; this was particularly true after puberty. We were too young to understand what was happening and, to make things worse, we had no information to go on. I don't think I could have tried harder and every succumbing to temptation was ultimately attributed to another failure of my character.

It is not until we understand our transgender nature that we learn to attribute our behaviour to our normal state rather than a weakness to be corrected. We were fooled by the ability of others to lead lives where sex and gender aligned. If they could be that way why couldn't we?

Today I understand deep within my bones that I am transsexual and it is no longer a badge of shame but merely a fact of biology. It is not a compulsion to align oneself to a reality that was chosen for me before I was even born. How I grapple with that knowledge is up to me and no solution I choose will be perfect because real life isn't.

The most important aspect in all this is the relief that comes from knowing that we don't suffer from a lack of character and, if anything, should be commended for gracefully dealing with the challenges we face everyday in a world that struggles to comprehend us even as we sometimes struggle to comprehend ourselves.


  1. Throughout my life I enjoyed wearing whatever female clothing I could get my hands on, some that I crudely sewed myself in grade school, some that I found on the sides of the road, some that I bought in stores, utterly scared. Even as a child I worried that I had some sort of shameful compulsion, that if I continued to fantasize and wish for things I'd be responsible for permanently damaging myself. I was unable to stop, of course.

    This morning as I got out of bed in my cotton nightgown I recalled how much I used to wonder with my therapist "how it feels" to wear various articles of women's clothing. He asked what I thought I wanted to know about it and all I could say was that I imagined it would feel good, right.

    These days when I get dressed — unless it's a special occasion — they are just clothes, although I enjoy pairing a top and bottom, combining shoes, a jacket, and maybe a necklace and earrings. Add lipstick, eyebrow color, and some under eye concealer. A last inspection in the mirror before stepping out into the world.

    It just feels right.


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