I should know by now that even when it is a long time between posts and inspiration seems dried up, an idea or in this case an issue will come along and work on me, to the point where I will be forced to write to move it along in my mind.
There are a few people in my 'real life' who know I am transsexual. My long-suffering but getting-more-patient-every-day spouse, a couple of medical people, and one very special couple, who are burdened with this knowledge and somehow (as far as I know) manage to not share with anyone else.
The wife in this couple and I have heart-to-heart chats now and then. She has a very quick mind and is very caring and empathic. This past week she shared an article with me from the February 3rd New York Times magazine titled Transition Point - Should I Become a Woman and Risk Causing Pain To My Wife and Children?
It's likely our friend gave me the article because "The Ethicist" Chuck Klosterman takes a position that supports the path I myself have managed to take, to not transition, saving everyone the need to deal with this truth.
Klosterman's response focuses mostly on this individual's "search for happiness" (a term the questioner uses) pitted against the happiness of spouse and children. As most who read here will know, transsexualism is impossible to sum up in a few words and characterizing transition as a search for happiness trivializes it to say the very least.
Let me say that in spite of Mr. Klosterman's lack of knowledge of what it means to be transgender, his answer shows some sensitivity in my opinion.
My feeling on the question is if you are taking the time to write to the New York Times to ask "Is what I propose to do ethical?" then you likely should not transition. More to the point, if you honestly believe you are transitioning, with all that entails, in order to find happiness, you need a reality check. Leave the lives of your family unaffected while you get as much help as possible to allow you to continue life as a male. If in fact, that is impossible, then stop torturing yourself, do your best to prepare your family and keep alive by following a path to realign your body with your mind. Do not for a moment believe that happiness will automatically arrive. All of the usual factors that create or get in the way of happiness will apply.
Since the article came to me on a slip of paper (an analog article of all things), I went online to find a digital version and while doing so came across this response to it written by Ami B. Kaplan on the site Transgender Mental Health. Kaplan is critical of Klosterman's response and suggests he needs to inform himself before offering suggestions to people.
Kaplan's response is more notable to me though for the suggestion she makes that the stigma of having a transgender individual in the family needs to be removed, comparing it with the stigma of having a gay teacher or a mixed race couple in the family in years past.
Time to stop here and let others read and comment perhaps. C has warned me that I have a tendency 'like many woman' to over-think things. Ami Kaplan's response is definitely working on me though.