Saturday, September 6, 2008

Open Forum: Transition - Choice or Necessity?

Some people under the transgender umbrella elect to undergo hormones and/or Sexual Re-Assignment Surgery (SRS) in order to transition into the gender that feels more appropriate for themselves.

People often say "sexual orientation is not a choice" while others maintain that it is a "lifestyle choice" and some go onto further explain that sexual feelings are not a choice but the behavior and actions are. Is the same true with sexual re-assignment surgery, are the gender identity feelings not a choice but electing to do something about it is? If we maintain that sexual behavior and gender transition are choices we face the question of whether the individual could go on living their life and it factors into the equation variables such as suicide, depression, etc. If we maintain that it is not a choice how do we deal with the fact that not all transgender people opt for any hormones and/or surgery. The transgender umbrella has pre-operative, non-operative, and post-operative trans people.

The question this week is a complicated one and as such I expect a variety of different responses to the query.

When it comes to transitioning gender, do you think this is a mere choice or a necessity for the person who is transgender?

(Oh, and in case you are wondering the picture is of Theresa Sparks who made history as the first transgender woman elected to head a major metropolitan city's police commission in the United States).


Nicky said...

I think that they live by a choice and what they choose.

Dharma Kelleher said...

I had SRS. Was full transition a choice? Had I not had the surgery, I would have continued to suffer from suicidal depression.

That said, there are others for whom the need for reconstructive surgery isn't as strong. Is it a choice for them? Not for me to say.

In my opinion it's a ridiculous question.

Anonymous said...

I think it simply depends on the level of dysphoria the person suffers from.
Everyone's different.

Lauren said...

If transgendered people state that they were born the wrong sex/gender [I want to be politically correct and I get the two confused], then that's what I will believe. I'm not transgender, so I can't possibly know either way, although, I would accept and support their rights and equalities regardless of choice or no choice.

And as for SRS: it's not for me or ANYONE ELSE to say whether or not it's appropriate. A person absolutely must feel comfortable and at peace with their mind and their body. That peace is achieved in different ways for different people.

The minute the gay community condemns the lifestyle and choices of our transgender brothers and sisters will be the minute we become as hypocritical as the corrupt and misguided politicians we argue against for our own rights and acceptance in society. The term "gay community" is all-inclusive; LGBT does not have a silent "T".

Laurie said...

I think it's necessary. It isn't for anybody
else but that person. So they can have the
feeling of being where they belong.
My heart hurts for these people.


Nicky said...

I think that it's a choice and what they choose is something people and society don't like at all.

Kelli Busey said...

I walked to the store today. MY regiment of hormones and testosterone blockers (HRT)diet and exercise has majorly altered my body and mind. I see things from a different perspective. I am honked at, propositioned, asked out and given tel. numbers. Those who know I am transgender (I wonder how it could be missed) are absolutely positive I am a porn star(WHAT?). I like the attention but all this is so bizarre to me.
Guys minds are between their legs, and their ability to reason.

Sex is Sex. When you are attracted to someone and want to make them feel real good you might want to do it by having sex.
Hopefully whatever you have (between your legs)makes you happy or you can change it.(SRS). Not every transgender is going to do that.
Gender, my friends is what you were born with. It is in your heart and soul. It maybe somewhat confusing because we equate gender with being gay, you know it. It cannot be changed.
I guess what I am trying to say is being trans is a gift from god, like being gay, a true blessing. It's not a choice, it is who you are.

Anonymous said...

It is a personal decision, and up to only the individual. I have known people who have gone fully from one gender to the other, and those who choose to stay as they were born. Each one must make the decision on their own. What one person requires, may seem superfluous to another.

Seth said...

I'm with others here who've said that it may be a choice for some and may not be for others, but that it's only up to the individual to decide. If we assume that it's a choice for everyone and let no one do it, we drive people to self-hatred and suicide. If we assume it's not a choice and try to force all transfolk into the same mold we might cause just as many problems for people who would not have wanted surgical transition. One thing we really need to recognize is that "choice" is a very vague term. It's a choice whether or not you steal food when you're starving, but it's not the same kind of choice as what color of car you buy.

Anonymous said...

This response is really late, I was poking through your archives and I saw this post and HAD to reply...

I have a very dear friend, she is one of the greatest women I have ever met. She's beautiful, sings like an angel, has a heart of pure gold and a mind so sharp she could slice you up. She has the fashion sense of a true diva yet she's as practical as a soccer mom. She's an artist, a talented musician, she has a wonderful lover who could not live without her. She is straight, her lover is straight - the only thing that makes people even think twice is the fact that she has a penis. She also has no desire or intention to change that.

I asked her about it once, just out of curiosity and she said "Baby, I'm not a spring chicken and even if I was, maybe I got born like this for a reason? So why change it if its supposed to be this way? I tried living as a man, it didn't work out. I started living as a woman a long time ago and its been great, why fix what ain't broken?"

Now thats just her opinion, and its different for everyone, but she really is happy and balanced and she has children from her time of living as a straight man and they love her and accept her just the same... and I love her too :)

Lynn said...

I knew I was a girl at the age of 4, at the age of 17 I learned what transgenderism is. I knew I had to transition, as I knew I was a female and had a compelling desire to live in the gender I was born to be. My mind was made up but then my best friend was murdered and her best friend was beaten beyond recognition shortly there after. I could no longer deal with the fear and descrimination. I tried to live my life normally as a male, but this simply didn't work for me. After a failed marriage, a couple failed relationships all due to my transgender issues rearing it's ugly head, I ended up in a serious suicidal depression. I didn't start to come out of it till I finally started hormone replacement therapy. Perhaps I will never come out of it till I finally get my gender reassignment.

It is my experiance and others I have talked to is that transgenderism left untreated leads to serious depression, anxiety disorders cutting of genitals and all too often suicide.


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