Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Inevitable Transgender Rant

I hate to start this Blog out with a whiny rant. However, one of the reasons I'm putting this up, is so I can have a place to get things off my chest. So I guess I'll go ahead and post my transgender rant, and get it out of the way.

I have the psychological condition known as Gender Dysphoria, or Gender Identity Disorder. Which is just another way of saying "woman trapped in a man's body", though generally I don't like that term. I am not gay, but I strongly identify with the opposite sex, and I strongly wish I was a woman. I have known this on some level all of my life, but I suppressed these feelings because I didn't know what they meant. I had always assumed that the desire to be female was part of being gay, and I knew I wasn't attracted to men. It was only recently that I found out that a large percentage transexuals are straight (at least before the operation), and with that discovery came a floodgate of realizations about myself.

Growing up, I never felt right doing boy things, and as a result, I was often an outcast. While I enjoyed playing war games like GI Joe well enough, I would often play female characters, and give the stories deeper plots, rather than just shooting each other. Often my play sessions would include elements of romance, and sometimes there would be no fighting at all. I always identified with girls more than boys, and even fantasized about being a girl. But I always shoved those thoughts out of my head, because I thought they were wrong. They were especially confusing because I knew I was attracted to girls, even before the other boys were.

It was confusing because I thought that transexualism was simply a later stage of homosexuality. That all gay men really wished they were women, and only a lucky few ever managed to get the money together or convince their psychologist so that they could get the operation. Now I realize that, for the most part, gay men are exactly who they want to be - men who are attracted to other men. Myself, I have never found men to be sexually attractive. I'm not offended by the idea, but it just doesn't do anything for me.

So what does this do to my marriage? We're not sure yet. I love KJ very much, and she loves me too, and neither of us ever want to be apart. And yet, KJ doesn't want to be married to a woman, or even a man who perceives himself to be a woman. And while I can't bear the thought of losing her, I also can't go through life pretending to be something I'm not.

I can see myself as female, and I can see myself as gender-neutral "Matthew". But I really can't see myself as male, nor do I want to, and I never have. I used to be happy with just being free-spirited "Matthew", and I managed to make it pretty far through life just being myself, avoiding macho guys and conversations about cars. But this gender-neutral attitude has always made me feel like I have no identity at all, which gives me low self-esteem, and makes me uncomfortable around other people.

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