Why Transition?

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.



  1. cakeleevannila

    Reblogged this on cakelee vannila and commented:
    an extremely open and honest look at the issues facing transgender ppls.
    i think the aspect i appreciate the most from this, is the acknowledgement that there are reasons, completely valid reasons, that some ppl are not able to transition. to take that step, even to immerse one’s self into the concept of gender variation is an extremely difficult pill for the most open minded and accepting human beings to swallow. the idea of gender assignment-what it means and the absolute of the concept-is so incredibly ingrained in our psyches that for some the thought is pushed away before it completely forms.
    to transition is brave, and scary, and confusing. most of society is unable to understand, even less able to accept, and very few are able to embrace. we lose so many beautiful ppl, wonderful ppl, to the daggers hurled at them from the ppl filled with hate and misery. it can consume the thoughts and ego of anyone, the constant barrage of incoming psychic warfare.
    i am proud of my friends and family who have decided to take this war on head first, and refuse to compromise on who they are. those who are able to look in the mirror and say “i love you. you are worth fighting for.” i am proud of so many of my friends who not only protect themselves but offer their hand of experience to ppl still swimming in the fear of being “one of them”.

      • cakeleevannila

        thank you for the very well written examination of transitioning. i have done alot of lgbtqa advocacy, and it is usually pretty simple explaining lgb! ppl begin to break down at t. they are so used to looking at transppl in the light of the iconic drag queens or transvestites and the media coverage of that, painting them either as jokes or prostitutes hell bent on stealing a john’s money. that brainwashing is very dangerous. that is usually the pictures that flow through the minds of most cisgender ppls.
        for most of my life i equated gender w sex, which is not unusual. i mean they ask what sex are you on job application, allowing for only 2 answers. and until i dated a transman i was under the impression that transmen were just really butch lesbians, and it would be easier to live as a man, leaving transwomen being incredibly flamboyant men disguised again to avoid detection. i think my mindset was not so far off from the rest of ppl who are cis. so the problem lies in reforming the information, reeducating and separating sexual orientation from gender identity.
        the fact that we still have legitimate reasons to hide essential aspects of our person-gender, sexual orientation, economic class, political views-whatever, is a huge flashing sign that we have not gotten as far in acceptance of “others”as we as a society would like to believe. i have seen the most transphobia and cruelty coming from the gay community. it mortifies me to the core! there are valid reasons some ppl are unable to live openly and freely, which in many cases leads to a denial of self and many mental and personality issues, but those are easier dealt with than bashings and rejections, the loss of family, jobs, friends, the issues transppl face in finding a partner willing or able to understand gender issues. these are all valid reasons and i appreciate you taking the time to say it’s noone else’s business determining when and if a person comes out.

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