Letter to GenderTrender from a Gay Man
August 24, 2015
Left as a comment on this post:
Reading this makes me glad that I grew up in a time and place where such resources weren’t present. If I may tell a bit of my story to highlight why I agree with this doctor. Born male, I can only speak to my experience regarding the homosexual mtt side, so I don’t discuss the ftt side because it isn’t my place to do so.
I was a young gay kid, constantly attacked for being ‘feminine’, in a violently homophobic environment which militantly guarded classical gender roles. Eventually I learned how to play the right role and stopped getting harassed, but this was very taxing, depressing, and repulsive to me. It wore me down to such an extent that it became easier to fall for the transgender tropes than it was to accept that my situation was hopeless.
Homelessness as a young teenager was a distinct possibility if I didn’t learn to conform–a stated policy in my house in fact. I see now that my situation rhymes in some ways with the situation many gays and lesbians face in Iran, where the state and society attempt to erase their homosexuality via surgery in order to preserve the social regime. To my shame, though there was no state forcing me down this path, I stumbled down it on my own because, absurdly enough, it was easier for me (in my mind) to try to erase my homosexuality and natural deviation from gender norms, than to stand up for myself and face the consequences. By thinking I was trans, I was suddenly (in my mind) no longer a hated and self-loathing effeminate gay boy but somebody with a fixable medical condition who would, after fixing it, end up leading a perfectly normal life. It was a false hope that made the years of conforming more bearable when I really should have been looking towards the hope of change, the hope of resisting, the hope of breaking the chains of homophobia and patriarchy. The trans propaganda can be enticing for some vulnerable young gay minds since it offers a sort of out to the seeming contradiction of being biologically male (or female) yet not behaving or loving like males (or females) are supposed to behave or love. But it is a hope that affirms rather than resists classic patriarchy.
Last year (I’m in my early 30s now), I nearly started down a path of trans medical intervention that would have bankrupted me and damaged my body. Just before an appointment, a friend had a personal tragedy and needed the money I had saved up more than I did. This delayed my entry into the medical path and gave me time to think more carefully and do more research. This website above all others helped me see through the confusion, helped me realize that I could only find happiness by living my life as a proud gay man, that I could only honor women by respecting them, listening to them, and resisting patriarchy where I could.
What if I had gone down the medical path as I almost did last year as an adult, or worse yet, what if I had these resources available as a teenager when I was at my most vulnerable? I think I would have created a miserable life for myself. As of now, I’m finding happiness honoring my biology, honoring my sexuality, honoring my difference. I am grateful that I was never “blessed” so early by access to a medical establishment that is alarmingly eager to let people damage their bodies. I am learning to unwind the masks I created to protect myself as a teen as I build the courage to be who I am openly and proudly.
If you are under 16, you can’t vote, you can’t drive, you can’t smoke or drink alcohol, you can’t gamble, you can’t enter into a contract, you can’t live on your own, but in our brave new world you can elect to make radical hormonal and physical changes to your body. The justice system recognizes that the teenage brain is not fully formed and doesn’t hold juveniles to the same level of accountability as it does adults; yet the trans movement says that they should be virtually handed pills and a scalpel. Thank you for continuing to point out the absurdity of this.
I think most people on either side of this issue want the same thing: a better world for the next generation. I strongly suspect that this better world can be found through social change rather than surgical intervention. The former is a lot harder than the latter, but it’s also the only path that will improve the world for everyone, not just the few.