"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 - -

Tuesday 19 February 2013

If You Can Ask the Question, ...

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.


  1. Clearly the New York Times have employed an idiot!

    After three generations since transsexualism has been known to be a fact and was first front page news across the continent a major newspaper can still employ someone so ignorant to expound his uneducated views and draw out proof amongst the 140 odd comments just how ignorant and bigoted much of society still is! That ignorance causes fear and blind hatred against people with a proven medical condition.

    Because parents have to proclaim the colour preference of their child to everyone they meet the fallacious quick glance test is still used though it is about as useful as kicking the tyres of a car you are thinking of buying to judge if it is a good buy!

    Only when we get out in great numbers and society has no option but to admit we exist and do not fit with the scary ideas perpetuated by the media will we finally be freed to follow our true path form an early age. One day folk will look back on this barbarous and ignorant age and wonder how we could have been so stupid, ignorant and cruel.

    In my teens I was told that I would get no help in this lifetime and foolishly believed the medics who told me! So much for "do no harm"! I chose to never bring children into such a hateful world but have grown surrounded but children of family and friends all of whom fully accepted my change best characterised by "we never had an uncle"! statements. All my fears about harming others if I was honest about myself proved to be unfounded but the took me to the edge of madness before I had no option but to risk the hatred of society or cause my own demise. Thankfully the media has not poisoned everyone's minds...

    1. Caroline, thank you for giving voice to elements of my inner turmoil. These past three days since reading the 'ethicist' article have been harder for me than any in the three months previous.
      "Getting out in numbers" weighs on me heavily in my stealth; only too aware that if we could accomplish this shift in society, a younger version of ourselves being born might grow up in a different world, one that might actually celebrate her duality and help her find her way in love.

      Ignorance is love and understanding's vicious enemy.

  2. Maybe a happy parent/spouse is better for the family than a miserable one.

    1. Better in the long run for the family and for society in general to be happy.
      Feeling authentic and in charge of your life is a good start toward happy, if your blog posts are any indication Meg.