"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Monday 15 November 2010


“A big question the trans world struggles to address with the non-trans world is about why we do what we do.” is the way Diana at Salad Bingo got the ball rolling. S at Our Transitioning Family picked it up. The Two Aunties did too. Today it is my turn, I guess.

So many ‘whys’… There is ‘why has my brain always hated my body and it’s label MALE?’ There is ‘why did I work so hard to pretend to be a real man for so long?’ How about, ‘why did you just find out about this gender conflict when in your fifties?’ (that is a good one), which could be followed up by ‘why do you write this blog?’ and of course, the ever popular ‘why don’t you just get the surgery done, fix the conflict and get on with your life?’.

My friend Anne asked me, in response to ‘Exploring the Labyrinth’, “Having fought the “good fight” for so long, and so well, why give it up now? I gotta tell you, being a woman ain’t all that special. It just is…”
What a great and important question this is, so, since I have addressed all those other ‘whys’ around here in earlier posts (and you will just have to wander around if you care, LOL), this is the ‘why’ I am going to try to tackle because the answer is one I need to hear too.

I was like an old-fashioned appliance, you know the ones we used to buy that lasted forty years and eventually got thrown out because you couldn’t find parts? For most of my life (as far as anyone looking on was concerned) a solid, reliable and hard working man, pulling my weight and never complaining. Hated myself too, but internalized the mess that was my fear and self-loathing. For fifty-five years it mostly worked. I had multiple coping techniques to make it keep running. So why can’t I just pull out all the old tricks and keep it going for another who-knows-how-many years?

When I examine this thing logically, from the man’s point of view, this idea of me being a woman (pardon my French) is a load of high priced merde.

Being a man might not be anything special, but being a woman is so much trouble! Friendships are so much more complicated for women. They spend time sharing what they feel about everything, as though any of that is really important. Everyone knows it is your expertise on a subject and how much you get paid that is really important. What and how well you think is what gets a person through this world. And when they talk, instead of cutting to the chase, they notice and describe every little feature in minute detail.
Make-up and jewelry has to be purchased and nails and hair to be grown out and maintained. Skin to soften and care for, just to name a few items. And the clothing costs soar as options go from casual and bland to colours to choose and different textures and weights of material to be selected from. Shoes that no longer cover and protect your feet, but pinch and lift you and change your balance points. I could go on and on. Why anyone would want to be bothered with it all absolutely baffles that logical side of my brain.

If this was a logical choice, no woman would do these things either. Some will say a woman is forced to deal with all of this, and they hate it. Although it is partially true, I am not buying that one. I know lots of women who are no longer competing for employment and could wear no make-up, casual monotone clothing and flat, sensible shoes every single day with no repercussions or change of lifestyle. They don’t. They won’t. Why not? Ask them, not me, I am a man, remember?

Nobody in their right mind would want to go through all of the fuss that women go through except for a woman. That is my story, and I am sticking to it.

Now, what was that question again? Oh right, let me rephrase it a bit; why not just keep being a man? After all, I’ve done it this long, and being a woman isn’t very special at all.

Against all logic, I want that troublesome female life. If I could ‘not want that life’ I would not be here, writing and commenting, and empathizing about something so incredibly illogical as this is. I would be reading a book, or doing a puzzle, or some other retired guy stuff, and wondering what is for lunch.

Of course, nobody understands a man considering transitioning to become a woman, unless they have gone through the insanity of GID, or maybe have heard a good explanation, or they have a great imagination and loads of empathy. I would wonder too!

Hugs All Around Ladies,



  1. Again, a very well-written post Halle. I like that sentence, 'Against all logic, I want that troublesome female life.' To that, I would have to add for myself, but the reality is I am a male too. Hence that two-spirit 'dilemma or blessing'.

    Hugs, Elly

  2. Halle, you express yourself so well. And you have pinpointed exactly why I proceeded after so many years of successful coping: it was my heart's desire. Logic doesn't really figure into one's heart's desire. And yes, if you want something, it seems to be impossible to make yourself not want it.


  3. So your friend Anne does not find being a woman all that special, now that is merde.

    Does not sound like someone who has lived long in the wrong identity and felt how unspecial that feels.

    Caroline xxx

  4. Dear Halle,

    when you write “against all logic” you might be overlooking the phenomena of feminine intuition.

    I don’t think you come up with a universal answer to the “why” (who can anyway?) but show a good sense of personal insight.

    Wanting or desiring things without an explainable reason, isn’t that a typical female trait?

    Just wondering ..... or am I stereotyping and stepping on sensible toes here?


  5. Elly, you know there is more to being a man than just logic, and of course, so do I. Still two-spirited...

    "Heart's desire" is a phrase you have used before Ariel and I do love it; so evocative!

    Caroline, I think Anne sees both being a good man and being a good woman as equally special, and therefore nothing special about the latter (if I read it right, correct me Anne if I am wrong). She may not remember much of having a wrong identity since she transitioned early in her life.

    Corinna, I challenge everyone who reads this to offer up their own answer to 'why?'. As for qualities such as intuition, and desiring things for no good reason, I would love to claim them both... but you know, I am 'just' a ...

  6. I was tempted to say "..because it's there! a la Mallory. Whilst that sounds very glib, it's actually a reflection of 40 years of not knowing the answer, but yet living with the desire. Why indeed?

  7. "...unless they have gone through the insanity of GID"
    That just about sums it up perfectly Halle. We transition to take away the pain and the insanity. We'd likely be mad not to :-)

  8. I think Karen said it best, "...unless they have gone through the insanity of GID"..."We transition to take away the pain and the insanity" -Karen

    HOWEVER!!! IF you have a choice and that is a HUGE if...CHOOSE WISELY!!! USE your brain. I did. Weigh the pros/cons. Consider the consquences as well as the rewards.

    They are HUGE as well. Like Teri, of Common Teri, refects. Why go to the trouble to build the pool if no is going to swim in it.

    @ Caroline.... enough said.

  9. Really beautiful piece, Halle. You are outdoing yourself of late.

  10. "why not just keep being a man? After all, I’ve done it this long, and being a woman isn’t very special at all. "

    This is really the issue. This is the most difficult question for those around us to answer. I believe that the premise of the question is wrong. It assumes that you are a man, and that is the wrong assumption. I was a female long before I started to alter my physical being. Having spent years experiencing and acting in the world as a woman, always in-congruent with how I presented the physical change is more like an afterthought.

    If we can enlighten our contemporaries about this phenomenon maybe it isn't all that hard to understand.

  11. Kathryn, you have actually brought something to my attention about the way my 'rephrasing' of the question in fact made it quite a bit harsher in tone than Anne's original question had been. She correctly pointed out that I had 'fought the good fight', implying that this was not optional, and who we are is not something we can truly change, but just wear or not wear. I know only too well that in truth, I have never really been a man. I lived in a façade. One I hated.

  12. Great blog, Halle.

    That said, I look forward to the day when all we need answer to "Why?" is "Because I am," no other explanation or justification necessary. Which, at the end of the day, is the root of all this.