I recently came across this post by journeytojames on the question, “If you could take a pill to get rid of dysphoria and make your mind align with your body, would you?” James shares that he would not:
I truly believe I was put on this earth to hold a masculine role, no matter how that role manifests itself and even if it means spending most of my life in transition, I want to get there. I want to be the father that my children will need, the husband to my wife, and just a good Black man in society.
I really appreciate his answer–this is much how I feel. I’ve thought about this question a number of times over the years, and always felt strongly that I would not want to turn myself into a cis woman. Actually, the idea is ridiculous. I’m a guy. This is who I am. I would not want to remove my dysphoria at the cost of being someone else.
Thinking over this question, I remembered another one, similar yet opposite: If you could flip a switch and be a cisgender person of your gender, would you? In other words, if you’re a trans man and could choose to have been born a cis man instead, would you make that choice?
For a long time, I thought I would flip the switch. It would be so much easier to be a cis guy. I could have avoided pain and inconvenience. My childhood and adolescence would have been immeasurably simpler, and my life would probably be easier going forward, too.
But you know what? I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. At bottom, both questions come down to the same thing: Would you rather be someone else? I think we all wonder that from time to time.
I have no way of knowing if another life would be any better. If I can’t be at peace with this life–my actual life–why should I be at peace with any other?
As difficult as it is, being trans has shaped who I am, and I like who I am. There are plenty of good things about being trans. More importantly, being trans presented me with a challenge, and I have risen to it. Being transgender gave me the chance to take a huge risk, tell a frightening truth, make a life-changing decision and take a transformative journey–all at a very young age. That experience is irreplaceable.
I have been given an amazing window on the human experience that most will never glimpse. I have learned the power of my own resolve and intuition. I have developed compassion and confidence. I have known pain and peace. I have lived.
So it’s not so much what makes the transgender experience unique that is at issue here. It’s what makes it universal. It’s a struggle, and struggle defines the human experience. At the end of the day, the content of our struggles is less important than what we make of them. Being transgender is a lot like being anything else. As a wise man once said, how strange it is to be anything at all.