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Trans By Choice [Dec. 11th, 2009|03:21 pm]
The Queer by Choice Community


Hi everyone. I'm the same person who made the last post.

I think I am trans by choice, but I feel guilt around my decision. My guilt comes from the fact that by being trans I am forcing those around me to change the way they treat me and talk about me. This is often difficult and challenging for them. They do it under the assumption that I don't have a choice in being trans. Also, my family is not happy about the fact that I am trans, which causes me to feel guilty if about choosing to be trans.

Then there are some barriers and challenges that I as a trans person. It feels very stupid to be facing these if I could choose not to, although the truth is I don't mind and I even enjoy the struggle and challenge, because it makes me a stronger person.

I think because I'm white, and live in a city, and am privileged in other ways, there is much less barriers than there is for others, and I've received much more support than if I had been situated differently. So I feel guilty that I am in the position to choose this while others are not.

Lastly, I will never know for sure if I am trans-by-choice unless I try to go back and live as my assigned-at-birth-gender. Until I do this I will never really know the true nature of my gender identity (and how much choice I have in the matter). I am intensely curious about whether I could do it, but also have little desire to try it because I'm enjoying how I live now.

PS - everyone should go to my last entry and answer the question: do you feel you chose your gender? Did you ever question or experiment with it?

[User Picture]From: songquake
2009-12-11 11:53 pm (UTC)
hi -- i really want to respond to this (and to your other posts), but i'm running out the door. feel free to bug me if you don't get a response in the next day or so.
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[User Picture]From: sapphorlando
2009-12-12 06:39 am (UTC)
It sounds to me like you may be referring to a notion I've heard called autogynephilia, which is essentially some kind of arousal (psychological, emotional, or sexual) at identifying oneself as female. In that light, I suppose it could be characterised in some circles as a kind of fetish, but it's also my understanding that this is not considered improper or unlikely for clinically transgendered people.

If the goal of clinical therapy is to bring greater peace and happiness to the individual, then the exact reasons for your situation may not be as relevant as you seem to fear.

My gut advice is to seek counselling, but make sure it's from a competent professional with knowledge in this area.
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[User Picture]From: quackington
2009-12-12 01:16 pm (UTC)
I will also note that autoandrophilia exists, but is far less researched/known about. Similarly to autogynephilia, autoandrophilia is characterized by arousal by/from identifying as male.
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[User Picture]From: buttonsnaps
2009-12-13 12:40 am (UTC)
It sounds like I'm looking for advice, but really I'm just interested in discussing the ideas around being trans-by-choice. Is it a legitimate choice? Can it be chosen? In what ways is it similar or different from choosing one's sexual preference?

Also, I haven't defined here what I mean by "trans": it's an umbrella term to mean many different identities. In my case I identify as transgender but not transsexual. I have only socially transitioned, not physically. Choice affects us differently if we are changing our bodies or not.
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[User Picture]From: legolastn
2009-12-13 07:40 am (UTC)
Who or what is the arbiter of legitimacy?

What criteria is to be used to decide whether it can be chosen?
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From: seana23
2009-12-19 02:51 pm (UTC)
can one be Trans as a choice??! I'm not sure if this free choosing is possible. I think one either feels something or they choose to feel it... This is not the same thing, i can choose to have red hair or Purple hair but i cannot choose to be a Hat!!! does this make sense?? i hope so.
I've been aware ov my TG'ness since being very small, i CHOOSE to ignore it for 10 years but this was not a thing i could choose to recognice or ignore... it just was; and when ignored, it came back to bite me in the bum!!!NO choice, it just was. This is just my experience and i'm sure that others will have a different outcome but i still feel that TG'ness TS'ness, Homosexuality and whether your a Socialist or a Tory are not choices they are intrinsic to our sense ov self...
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[User Picture]From: legolastn
2009-12-13 07:34 am (UTC)
There are any number of things one can do that would cause others to change the way the treat you, talk to you, be unhappy about, etc. There are any number of things that one can do that cause barriers and challenges in one's life. There are any number of ways (say, white) privilege works.

Not to mention that it isn't unusual to feel guilt around these things even for trans folk who don't feel they chose to be trans.

I'm also not sure trying to go back and live as your assigned-at-birth-gender will actually tell you anything other than what you are capable of after transitioning.
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[User Picture]From: nodesignation
2009-12-13 10:51 pm (UTC)
I think I'd say I chose to be trans. At this point in my life, living as my birth assigned gender would not really be feasible to me on several levels. But at the time I transitioned I had several options for how I could comfortably express my gender and I could see a few of them that involved living as my birth gender. Yes, I did experiment with a few of those different options. Being recognized as a dyke while still identifying as a cis guy was a fairly good experience, although still awkward and limited in my community acceptance.

I've often heard the narrative that transition is the only alternative to suicide. One friend came out to his mom, who asked him if he was suicidal. When he said no, she said she didn't even understand why he was bringing it up. In her mind, if he was not suicidal, then there was no reason to transition. I've heard the same kind of thing from a lot of trans people too. I've even been told that I shouldn't transition if I don't feel it's an absolute necessity.

I was recently talking with a friend about this, and the thing is I never saw any downside to transition. I mean, aside from external discrimination. Others might be jerks to you for being trans, but my sense of justice would never allow me to make such an important decision based on that. Without any reason not to, my approach was more like, "Why not? This might work." It seemed like a way to live that I'd be happier, and that turned out to be true. And that's what ultimately matters most to me.
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[User Picture]From: buttonsnaps
2009-12-14 09:56 pm (UTC)
Hey, thanks for sharing. It feels good to hear other stories of choosing to be trans. I guess it's not a narrative that I hear often or ever, and I wonder whether it would be considered acceptable by most people I know.
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[User Picture]From: nodesignation
2009-12-14 10:25 pm (UTC)
A lot of it to me is what you boil down the concept of "choice" to mean. Many folks equate an obvious choice with no choice at all. Others try to separate feeling or identify as a gender from concrete options, such as the choice to transition. But I like to point out that very few people really apply the same standards of choice to other aspects of our lives.

My mom is a writer and so am I, but no one ever wonders if that was my choice, genetic influencing, social construction, or otherwise an inherent attribute. Rarely do people break down the decision to not eat meat from the feelings or identification that make up being a vegetarian, and when they do it's an idle curiosity with no substantive impact.

The inconsistency of what people mean when they say "choice" makes it really hard to have these discussions. Most often I don't talk about my trans identity in a framework of choice because it's easiest to conform to other people's communication framework when I already understand it. But places like here I don't have to worry about that.
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