Sunday, 14 June 2015

More from Diane on being transgendered

Transgender - Born in the wrong body or born the wrong sex


What's it all about? An explanation.
An all too familiar statement made in relation to people who identify as transgender, one that is seen more and more every day. But who says it is wrong? I have thought a great deal on this as a transwoman, I was born a baby assigned as male.
As a child I never knew my body was wrong, for me, I was just me. A boy, or that is what my parents and everyone else said I was. Knowing no different I believed I was just that and did what boys do, or more to the point what I observed boys did.
While girls looked different, spoke different and behaved different, the concept of a wrong body never came into question. Life in post-war England was vastly different to life today, boys with short hair and shorts; girls, long hair and dresses. Never any concept of fashion; clothes were meant to keep you warm and to create a look of decency. Clothing was boring, mediocre to say the least, brought about by a lack of variety in fabrics and money.
Mums usually made kids clothes which as a result were very basic; mums dictated how we should appear in public. So there was no choice I never thought about the body, not once did anyone around me say “hey you should be a girl”. I guess I would never have expected them to, the great Societal Machine had decided I was a boy and that was it.
Society makes its decision of who we are by the way we look, and express ourselves at least when we are young, it is the way our parents see us, after all they should know! Like the saying goes “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, then it must be a duck” simple, you don’t need to be an Einstein to work that out, right!
I have no idea of what made me feel something was wrong, but as I became older I realised who I was, was not who I thought I should be. Whether it is as simple as day by day the mind pieces together every particle of our existence, every thought, every image or what, at some point the mind lets you know what it has decided.
With the mind’s ability to make comparisons it was not to long before I realised what my mind saw as a boy was not the same of how it saw a girl.
No doubt about it I was confused, not specifically about the body but about what my mind told me it should be! And mine was sure different to a girls, becoming even more so after puberty. I sure as hell did not have the body of a woman. And that revelation still haunts me to this day!
This was an almost incomprehensible revelation, how could this be, who can give me an answer who will even understand? In an attempt to come to terms with this issue, like many others I started the blame game, first it was my mother’s after all she gave me birth, did she do something wrong, and what about my dad, what part did he play in this process. Was my dad’s sperm slightly defective in some way in which case it was his fault? Actually all the study seems to indicate that it is something that goes wrong with the hormones that decide which sex we will be in those few weeks after conception.
Knowing nothing of such detail, above all I remain confused, yet I am still developing, no thanks to puberty into a young man, more able to use the testosterone that is surging through my being. I turn confusion to anger as I cannot understand who I am, my mind thinking female my body showing me male, I was scared and never told anyone.
As I became older and had a more worldly understanding of being human, anger gives me strength, I think who else can I blame?, how about God! After all he is supposed to be the creator; is who I am today, his mistake? But I have learned from the religious folk who tell me “God does not make mistakes” so that can’t be it!
Or is God the big joker in the sky?
Anyway; science, (clever sods) tell us that we all start life, as female then some of us change to male shortly after; creating both male and female. So can’t blame science anyway, as that’s after the fact.
Running out of suspects now, wrong body - wrong mind, right mind – wrong body actually mind boggling whichever way you look at it.
So here I am, on my own trying to figure it out, one thing that does not stop is time and neither does society who ideally would tie everything up in neat packages of boy and girl, female and male. Note: I reversed that order, ever wondered why we say boy first then girl or male then female; odd that, if we think we all start out as female first.
Getting off track here, back to me and my wrong body; only there was never ever anything wrong with it, worked perfectly, but only in a male context even when I fell in love, married and had kids.
However behind every thought of every day was this niggling aspect that my life was not as it should be. Was it simply a biological function that went wrong that left my mind with the expectation I would have a female body, which seems logical. Yet because of a malfunction a male body was the result, which would seem to confirm the statement "Born in the wrong body"
Consider instead the way we are born as more to do with our biological sex than the body. Making for a more correct statement "Born the wrong sex".
Naturally I have started to analyse every moment of my being, often, all too often I think about ending it all, just to get out of this place, but something stops me, as if an answer is about to be revealed, but of course it is not. Sadly because of my age, this thought still runs through my mind when I read of the discrimination that goes on in retirement homes.
Reading transgender people's stories must be one of the most challenging situations our cisgender brothers and sisters are asked to understand, hey we even have a new word to describe them – “cisgender” meaning those whose gender; their biological sex matches who their mind believes they are.
But then you already knew mine did not match, as for my body that is still a work in progress, not too hard to understand if you really think about it, and in a way I guess that’s all we ask.
Think, but do not judge, because being transgender is nothing scary, you can’t catch it, it's not a disease, we eat, breathe, think, make mistakes and do all the same things you do. So why then discriminate against us is the obvious question? This the reality of our existence and it hurts!
Actually if society can accept people with different coloured skin different coloured eyes, height, hair, weight then why not gender differences other than female and male? And guess what? We have been around forever, mentioned in the bible not with the names we use today but still mentioned, so being transgender is nothing new!
So really what’s really the problem?
Was the body ever wrong? No, it worked perfectly as a male! Did my mind see it differently? Yes, it expected it to be female!
Today almost 75 years later same body, although modified to how my mind expects it to be, the sex of a female, I remain convinced it was not my body but my sex that was wrong! It was however my body that prevented me from expressing my sex as the female I was in my mind. Consequently the person I presented on the outside was never, the real me, the female on the inside was.
When it comes to gender, it is important we understand that on its own it is nothing, the truth of our being is in how we express who we are – our gender expression.
Lastly remember another old saying "never judge a book by its cover".
- Diane Sparkes

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