Lately, the trans community has taken on a new issue. In what seems to be an attempt to confuse as many cis (non trans) people as possible, MTFs (Male to Female Trans people) and FTMs (Female to Male Trans people) have been proclaiming they were born that way.
For example, if someone were to mention that I was born a boy, the latest craze would be for me to say, “No I wasn’t. I was always female.”
Now, there are some good reasons for this recent trend and I will get to them soon. First though, let me confess, I understand the common perspective. I understand why someone would insist I was born male. Technically, I was biologically born male, not intersexed not hermaphroditic, 100% male. My brain thought otherwise.
For as long as I can remember knowing the difference between male and female, I have mentally identified as female and wished my body matched the brain. I never really wished my brain matched my body, even though that too would have been a solution. Perhaps that is because a body is visible and the brain, if all goes according to plan, is not. The body is tangible, consciousness is more spiritual. Besides, if I could change how I looked, it would change how other people thought of and treated me.
In a nutshell, the above paragraph describes gender. I have written about gender in other blog posts but it is important to review these things from time to time for new readers. “Sex” and “Gender” are not synonymous. That said, they are usually analogous. Most people are born male or female and identify with their physical sex. Sex is physical, gender is conceptual. I am a physical male and I am of the female gender, at least in MY mind. Others may disagree. This is where things get deep. I can be gendered female in my own mind, and gendered male by all of society. Until very recently, this was entirely the case. The crazy part? We were ALL right! That is how gender works.
It is not enough for me to go through life as a mental female. I want society to see me as female, to treat me as female. I want to be female. Within the concept of gender, this has absolutely nothing to do with my genitals.
This goal is not easily attainable. It requires inner strength, the ability to forgive, empathize and move on, crazy hormone treatments and physical changes, countless mistakes, a sense of humor, curiosity enough to kill a cat, the desire to seek adventure… and lots of other stuff. But the goal IS within reach.
So, was I born a boy or a girl? Depends on who you ask and what you mean.
Trans folk often insist they were born into their gender rather than their sex, and over the next several years, this way of thinking may gain quite a bit of traction.
I am transitionING. I am moving from one point to another. Perhaps, some day I will have transitionED… at that point, why would I want to insist I was born a boy? That could open a can of worms in social and workplace situations that I would prefer to avoid, and if I insisted I was born a girl, I would be telling the truth, at least in terms of gender.
Welcome to my world.