I just, this morning, replied to a post on a Facebook page devoted to Marriage Equality. The author of the post asked about the ever popular conflict between whether being LGBTQ was a choice, a lifestyle or not. I’m sure we have all heard the question or the assumptions before. I felt, after all that has happened for me and around me, these past few weeks, that I needed to honestly address the question. Not just for the sake of others, but for myself as well. I hope that my answer goes some way towards helping someone understand the question and the subject more clearly than before. I know for me, the introspection, looking into myself and evaluating things has always been of great benefit. Never more so than once I started being true and honest with myself about who I am.
Yes, I was born a transsexual lesbian female
I have finally come to the point where I am not only comfortable making that statement, but I am PROUD to announce it to the world. To paraphrase what Popeye used to say, I am what I am and I am trans/lesbian/female/human. Okay, a little less melodic than he said it, but a whole lot more meaningful (to me).
I would love for any of the few of you who come here to read what I post (both of you), I would love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the questions below? For those who know me personally – especially the me that has emerged from my forty-some-year slumber in the cocoon that I built around myself to protect me from the world and moreso to protect the world from me – you know that I am passionate about learning about people. I truly love learning about you all and how you live your lives, how you think, what you think about different topics. I have very rarely gotten any comments on this blog, which makes me feel all alone, though I know you read it. So, please hit the comment button and post your thoughts, your feelings, your insights. I don’t care if you contradict everything I wrote, I just hope you do so respectfully. I enjoy learning. I love you all.
Was I born gay (LGBTQ)?
I was born in 1961 as the third and final child to heterosexual, conservative Christian parents (First Reformed Presbyterian Church of Cambridge, MA). The moment I was brought into the world, the doctor declared me to be a BOY!
As I grew up I was expected to be and do as a boy. If I had ever done anything that was representative of being a girl I was corrected. I grew up with all of the classic signs of having Aspergers Syndrome, at least from what I have been told and from what little fragments of memory I have been able to piece together of my life. I was always very shy and withdrawn. I was always very analytical. I always felt out of place with everyone. I could never identify as/with boys. They always seemed like a foreign species to me (they still do). What they did, how they acted, how they spoke, and how they played did not fit into my instinctual demeanor. I did, however, easily understand every aspect of how I perceived girls to feel, think, act, and play. Only, I had been told by the all-knowing adults that I was not a girl, I was a boy. I had little choice but to believe them. The evidence was always there. Girls tended (in the 60’s) to have longer hair than boys. I had short hair. Girls tended to wear pretty dresses and other clothes, jewelry, accessories – they were far more stylish. I wore boring, ugly, uncomfortable, utilitarian boy clothes. Girls tended to be more animated in their interactions, telling stories, and their general demeanor. I was usually level headed, unemotional, sad, melancholy, confused, silent, and uncoordinated. The evidence was seemingly overwhelming. Regardless of how much I envied the girls. Regardless of how deeply I longed to be able to play with the girls that I so identified with. Regardless of how badly I wanted to dress in nice pretty clothes like the girls. I was a “boy”. Growing up in a very conservative household where love was either non existent or just never expressed and shared (I don’t know if it was because it was evil?) I have no memory of any real relationship with my parents or my siblings (brother and sister). Being secretly transgender (which I would only discover 47 years into my life) and exhibiting all of the classic signs of Aspergers – which many trans-women seem to exhibit and which some in the mental health world believe may be more the result of the conflicts that take place within ourselves and manifest in many of the same socially awkward ways as AS – I grew up feeling mind numbingly isolated from the world and the people around me. For most of my life I was incapable of knowing how to socialize, I was incapable of feeling or expressing any emotions other than self-hatred, misery, depression and anger.
So, the question, was I born transgender, was I born a transsexual female? I can not see any way that I was not. I was certainly not taught that I could be a girl if I wanted to be. So, yes, there is not a speck of doubt in my mind that I was most absolutely born a girl in a boys body.
As for being a lesbian? For as long as I have had any manner of attraction to people in my life, that attraction has always been reserved for girls/women/females. I have had to think about whether I could be attracted to men as a way to “test” who I was. Through my life being overwhelmed with the need, desire, and comfort to wear women’s clothing and trying to find some source of information that defined that need, all I could find from early psychological definitions was that I was a gay male that dressed as a girl in order to satisfy my sexual urges (referred to as autogynephilia). Was I secretly a gay man? No matter how hard I tried to contort that idea, I failed miserably. The only way in which I could ever possibly see myself with a man was in a few fantasies/dreams where I was a woman, with all of the appropriate physical characteristics and being penetrated by a man. That image has only ever appeared twice in my memory. The scenario, in both cases, rapidly devolved into the man actually being a woman. The notion of a man has never had the least bit of an attraction to me. Since I have already established that I have always been female, and have only ever had attractions for females, that would indicate to me that I was born a lesbian. Although by definition of many Christian conservatives and even many in the LGB community, I am still seen as being male, so that makes me heterosexual. While I may still have an abnormal growth between my legs, I am in every other way female. I see myself in every way – save one – as a lesbian trans-woman. The key definitive flaw to the lesbian argument is that in 50 years I have never had a relationship with anyone. I did date a girl (who asked me out) for less than a month when I was 42. She broke up with me because she believed me to be gay. So, there you go, further proof that I am born a lesbian.
As for the question of choice?
Do I have a choice to be gay or trans? We all have choices. We all are faced with thousands of choices every day. Do I want to eat breakfast? What do I want? We need food to survive, so eating is a necessity. I can choose to skip breakfast because I am busy posting on Facebook. I am denying a need. Ghandi practiced hunger strikes in his quest for peace. We can deny things that are inherently part of who we are. However, denying those things have repercussions. Going without food long enough results in starvation. Starving oneself of the need for love, denying who you are for too long has many psychological ramifications. For me, I repressed my need to live as a woman for 47 years. The ramifications I suffered were misery, loneliness, isolation, self hared, depression. I battled continually with the urge to end my life for more than 36 years. I was consumed with thoughts, as frequently as a dozen or more times a day, every single day, of how I could kill myself, how badly I wanted to be dead so that I would no longer have the feelings that I had. Yes, I could and did choose to not act on the need to be a transsexual lesbian woman. Have I paid a price for that choice? My God yes! Do heterosexual, non-trans people, have a choice to practice the “lifestyle” of being gay or trans? Of course. Do some people try it? I’m sure they do. I have heard stories of people who had either convinced themselves, or been convinced by others, that they were trans and they had undergone the process of transition, choosing to fight through the feelings of uncertainty, physical and emotional conflict under the assumption that it would just “take time to adjust to the hormonal changes”. Those choices are often at least as severe, if not more tragic, than the “choice” of someone who is definitively trans not transitioning. That to me is further proof that being trans and working to correct the physical and hormonal conflict is a very clear indicator that I am most absolutely trans.
A person can deny to act on being who they are, but you cannot thrive as a human by doing so.
I sincerely hope that this will help someone understand what the differences are between choice and being true to oneself. Being a Christian is a choice and a lifestyle. Being a Democrat is a choice and a lifestyle. Being an autobody mechanic is a choice and a lifestyle. Being straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, or androgyne is an aspect of who you are as a human and as a person, it is in no way a lifestyle. How you choose to present yourself and your personality to the world is part of the amazingly complex and beautiful thing known as life.
Be who you are and most of all be happy that you are different than every other human on this little blue/green marble. Peace and Love to everyone.
Thank you for reading and for commenting,