So I saw the movie on HBO…‘Normal’. Its about a married man who suffers from gender identity…he feels he has to become a woman. He feels it so strongly, that it becomes a life and death situation for him.
I don’t have a problem with people changing their genders, I think that people do what they have to do in order to get through the day, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.
I don’t understand it though. If someone told me, “actually, you’re a man, so you need to dress like a man and tell everyone else you’re a man”, even though I know for a fact that I’m a woman, I could do it. I’d be bugged by it, and think that everyone was stupid, but I certainly wouldn’t want to commit suicide over it.
I don’t understand the intense need to change one’s gender. Can anyone help me out?
Many people cannot empathize with transsexuals because their “gender identies” are so strong that they cannot imagine what it’s like to feel “male” in a female body or “female” in a male body.
My own situation is the opposite of this: I find it difficult to comprehend why people feel that their minds are of a particular gender. To me, my biological gender is just another fact about me, like hair or eye color. Granted it’s not as easily changed, but if it were someday possible to change bodies as easily as we change hair color, I would have little difficulty doing so.
And many transsexuals don’t commit suicide over it either. I don’t know what the rate of suicide is among transsexuals, but they obviously don’t all turn to suicide. All kinds of people commit suicide for all kinds of reasons, and you are looking at things in a very distorted way if you define transsexuals as people who consider their gender identity more important than life itself.
ouisy, I don’t think you can understand it unless you experience it first hand.
I, for example, don’t understand severe depression. I can’t wrap my mind around being so depressed that I can no longer function in society. I don’t understand being so depressed that I no longer support my family. That’s not to say I don’t think it’s real, I just can’t relate.
I don’t understand what one goes through when one is suffering from a gender identity crisis because I’m not suffering from it. Again, that’s not the same as saying I don’t believe a person can (and does) suffer from it, I just don’t understand it.
Imagine for a moment that you’ve been turning into that toothless old man down the street. Or the really obese woman that smells bad. Or anyone else who you wouldn’t want to be.
And imagine that every day you wake up, and realize that you are stuck in this body and that will never ever change. The only methods offered to you are imperfect and expensive. You don’t want to be seen as a freak. But you don’t want to be this wierd old man, either. You realize that you’ll never get treated the way you want to be treated. What you do, where you go, who you love, what you wear will always be dictated by this body that you hate.
Your gender identity doesn’t just affect how you act. It affects nearly everything. It especially affects how people treat you. It affects how they talk to you. It affects how they see you as sexy. Have you ever realized that someone (perhaps someone you were reading about) was a different gender then you had assumed, and then suddenly felt some kind of shift in the way you think about them? Have you ever realized how hard it is to think about or interact with people of ambigous gender? Thats because gender is so fundamental to how we treat people that it’s hard to know what to do without it.
And imagine that people hate you. Transgendered people get killed- for being transgendered- all to often. When you go out on the streets as yourself, people stare threatening at you. They actually feel revulsion. You don’t even want to think about how your family- or god forbid anyone you know from high school or work- would think if they saw you.
For some reason that I don’t understand, gender invokes very very very strong feelings for almost everyone when it is questioned. Just the other day I was watching TV with a bunch of liberal sensitive friends of mine. When they skipped past a channel that had a man with heavy make up on, they all said “ewwwww”. Normal non-hateful people react with the kind of repulsion and disgust that used to be reserved for homosexuals and loose women.
So transgendered people have a lot to have to get over on their way to a long and happy life.
I’m a female to male transsexual, it’s not with being obliged to wear certain items of clothing (which am not anyway, since female people have more leeway in wearing boy’s clothes than male people have in wearing girl’s) or with people referring to me with female pronouns that I have the most problem with (even if the pronoun thing gets on my nerves), it’s with being stuck with breasts, few body hairs, very few facial hairs and a vagina.
About the suicide thing, I know I thought about it when I was sixteen (I’m 21) because I was seeing being transsexual as something to be very ashamed of, and because lots of people think you’re crazy if you say you’re trans and generally, people "don’t get it’.
On top of that, seeing your body changing in ways you never ever wanted to, knowing there is nothing you can do to stop that before being of a certain age, is not something that brings peace of mind.
Then I thought again about suicide at 18 because the law in my country requires at least two years of sessions with a psychiatrist before being prescribed hormones (then another year for surgery), so the thought of being stuck two more years with that body was crushing.
It’s important to understand that a ts doesn’t think of it as changing their gender. A mtf may have a penis and be called he. But, they think of themselves as female. Surgery is not seen as a means of changing gender. It is a tool to make their body match the way they feel.
This is rather off-topic, but I didn’t feel this warranted another thread.
I would just like to say that sympathy does not require understanding of what a person goes through. Empathy does. Although I cannot empathize with a transgendered person, since I myself have a very weak gender identity either way (rather androgynous), I can at least take them at their word that their situation is drastic enough to sometimes require surgery. Who else would know for sure?
I also have extreme respect for those transgendered folk and the amount of courage it can sometimes take to be the way you feel you ought. I met two MtF transgendered women who had the guts to stand up before a group which was largely hostile or ignorant, doing so in the clothes they felt comfortable in, and speak of what they face and desire in this world. I’m not certain I would have the bravery to do something like that, and I’m damned certain 80% of those who pointed or mocked them couldn’tve mustered anywhere near the same amount.
So this is just a loud “Bravo” from a gay guy to his transgendered compatriots.
I have to say that I am also one who is ‘fully’ into his gender identity. I have generally been supportive of the causes of the gay community, both personally and politically, but have struggled over the TS issue.
I believe that so long as your not harming anyone, you should be free to pursue whatever endeavors make you happy, even if i can not personally relate to that desire or unfulfilled need.
So I can empathize with transexuals on that level, even though i don’t ‘get’ exactly what they are struggling through.
however, I have to admit that i have been puzzled by what is expected by the trans-gendered community of society- as a matter of policy and law.
I would imagine that transgendered folks who are post-op want to be considered fully what they are both physically and mentally- how do we approach pre-op transsexuals in law, public accomodations, and the like?
this question is sort of inspired by the trainwreck we had a few weeks ago over the young person who was brutally murdered over being a pre-op TS and engaging in relations with hetero males who then went insane over the discovery that their ‘conquest’ was physically a man.
if this is too much of a hijack, i apologize, and can start a new thread over it. but i was just curious as to what can and should be done.
On the OP: I don’t know what percentage of people would be able to transition from one gender to the other if required to. I imagine it’s not very large; people tend to be pretty strongly attached to their gender identity. This is part of why neither psychotherapy nor drugs have proven effective for the treatment of gender dysphoria.
Lamia, the suicide rate for male to female transsexuals who are unable to obtain reassignment surgery is estimated to be about 25 percent. Transsexuals are also twelve times as likely to be murdered as nontranssexuals of the same race. I’ve come close to killing myself on a number of occasions, although I’ve never actually attempted suicide.
Logical Phallacy, there is no evidence that transsexuals have any higher rate of psychological disorder other than those directly associated with the stress of being transsexual. Mainly, this amounts to problems with depression (which can be severe) and sometimes substance abuse. Yes, there are psychotic transsexuals, but the Standards of Care prohibit anyone with an untreated comorbid condition from receiving reassignment surgery.
Stonebow, what do we expect? I think what we expect is that medical care not be arbitrarily denied from transsexuals on the grounds that they are transsexual, that transsexuals not be discriminated against on that basis, and that transsexuals – whether pre-op or post-op – be given the dignity of being accepted in law and society as a member of their true gender.
KellyM said, "I think what we expect is that medical care not be arbitrarily denied from transsexuals on the grounds that they are transsexual, "
If any of you get to see an HBO production titled, “Southern Comfort”, it will highlight some of the unbelieveably cruel treatment transsexuals must endure. The subject of this program was an F-to-M transsexual who developed ovarian cancer and was refused treatment for it.
The program goes into other aspects of the TS life, but to me, this lack of basic recognition and compassion hit me like a ton of bricks.
Prompted by another website today I did a web search for Caroline Cossey - aka Tula - the transexual Bond girl.
I was basically left thinking, how fucking awful it must be to be transexual. It’s not like you choose to become transexual through some deviant perversion. We may not understand the biological reasons why the wrong brain gets in the wrong body, but it obviously does - even if the chromosomes say one gender, the brain might be another.
I don’t understand the intense need - I can’t even imagine what it must begin to be like. I have no problem with sympathy, just with empathy, because being (lucky) to be born female bodied and female brained, I have no desire or comprehension of what it must be like to be mail.
What I can empathise with is loathing something beyond your own control. I think it must be like being born disabled, or partially sighted - there is nothing morally wrong with it, but it is an awful handicap that you have to struggle your entire life to overcome, that really you cannot with current technology properly overcome (can’t make ovaries for a man, can’t make testes for a woman yet, just crappy fake penii out of skin and rib etc) but most of all, something that society still has huge prejudices towards.
Caroline Cossey/Tula really does appear to be a brave and quite tragic individual. I am glad that she has found happiness in her life. She is lucky to have been born a physically beautiful human, making a convincing and attractive woman. Far worse having to make a transition for those whose physical features really strongly resemble their birth gender, not their brain gender.
I have a question - and please forgive my ignorance.
Why is it that many MtF transexuals seem to have bought into the media/fashion industry idea of what it is to be female? It always seems to be dresses, high heels and big earings, as if that is the “female uniform.” This seems to ignore that there are many women that dress in pants and little or no make-up, and are no less “womanly” for it.