Of course, we transition because we are transgender and/or transsexual. We have a subconscious sex or gender expression that contradicts the sex/gender we were assigned. By transitioning–which can take a great variety of forms, social, medical, and otherwise–we bring our bodies and social roles into alignment with ourselves, alleviating the pain of gender dysphoria. But that doesn’t completely explain it, does it?
Not transitioning is certainly an option. We could simply live with dysphoria and spend our lives laboring under the burden of its heavy, aching fog. We could find ways to dull or reduce the agony, perhaps with medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and private expressions of the inner self.
A lot of people go this route–some for better, some for worse. In certain cases, transition is so dangerous that this option is clearly preferable. For some, transition isn’t a possibility at all. In other situations, dysphoria may be mild enough that it simply isn’t worth the risks and costs associated with transition. These include very real possibilities of violence, loss of relationships, medical complications, financial burdens, sterility, discrimination, marginalization, and more. There are good ways and bad ways for a trans person to choose not to transition; it certainly isn’t for everybody.
Denial is another alternative. Countless–indeed, uncountable–people take this path.
It is terrifying to realize that you are transgender. It comes with a certain disbelief at first. Me? one thinks. But I’m so normal! Of course, trans people are normal. But nobody tells you that.
Oh my God. I am one of those people I’ve heard about.
I don’t blame anyone who isn’t able to face these realities. It is a lonely road, and though maps exist, most of us feel lost regardless. This is true of most people, actually. Accepting that you’re trans just forces you to acknowledge it. When you can’t or won’t acknowledge it, drugs and alcohol are often used to kill these thoughts. Sometimes they kill the thinker, too.
Suicide is another alternative, one that most of us probably at least consider. This is the tragedy, the one that breaks my heart. It is a horrible loss for the person, who may have had the chance to feel better, to experience something worthwhile in life. It is, of course, a devastation for all those who knew and loved them. And it’s a loss for the whole world, which will never know what this special person might have had to offer. I think we were made this way for a reason, and I doubt it is for our own sake.
Why transition? Ultimately, at the very bottom, to fully experience life–our life, the only one we were given. To walk the strange and incredible path before us. To make the journey, take the risk, ask the question, encounter the mystery.To be exactly who we are.
We transition because life is short.