I was surfing the web, reading up on gender issues. Nothing new there. Until I came across a page on Madeline Wyndzen’s site All Mixed Up.
I’d seen the questions before, formulated differently, and asked them myself about a thousand times, but as I don’t think I ever wrote about them here yet I figured I might do that. Answer those questions here, on the blog.
Before you read on, I want to make clear that these are just my answers and – like Madeline says – there are no right or wrong anwers. These answers just happen to be mine and in writing them out I might just give myself a better understanding of where I’ve come from, where I’m standing right now, and where I want/need to go to.
“Imagine you could start life over, right from the moment you were born. Knowing everything you know now, you get to choose which sex you are born. What choice would you make? Why did you make that choice? What might be better about your life as the sex you chose? What might be worse about your life as the sex you chose?”
This is a hard one for me to anwer, seeing that I feel (and I realise full well that I might be wrong here) like my parents really did not want to have a son, so to me it feels like choosing between being born a welcome girl or an unwanted boy. Still, I think I’d have chosen to be a boy.
What would have been worse?
Obviously, the having to deal with Mum’s apparent hatred for boys and Dad’s… I don’t know… indifference, perhaps? Then again, things might have gone different, had I been born a boy. My parents might have been shocked at first, but would have come to love me because I’d still have been their child. Their flesh and blood. Surely, that should count for something, no?
Other than that, I can’t really think of anything having been worse. Better?
Plenty of things! I’d have been able to just be me without the burden of that constant guilt. I would never have had to try and be a real girl, because I’d have been a boy for all to see. No knitting and needlework for me, but wood- and metalwork instead. No dresses but trousers. Short hair instead of that horrible, waist-length ponytail. Cars to play with.
Then, as I got older, I’d never have had to worry about silly things like make-up. No teasing for gender non conforming behaviour. I’d have had no reason to be ashamed for loving a girl, and would never have had to pretend that I loved I boy. No feelings of inadequacy because obviously I was coming up short as a girl.
Worse as I got older: I wouldn’t have had my children. That is, not the ones I have now, but then again I might very well have married a nice girl and we might have had some wonderful children of our own. That would have been better than what I have now, seeing that I got married to a man I love as a friend, but never as a romantic partner. My marriage to him has always been a compromise, and we both knew this long before we got married. For years, he secretly hoped that would change. I knew it wouldn’t. We do have our wonderful children though, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
Better: I most likely wouldn’t have been as emotionally messed up, seeing that a lot of my emotional distress (though not all) stemmed from being born a girl but never quite feeling like one. The shame and feelings of inadequacy for not being able to live up to expectations were at times almost too hard to bear.
Assuming I’d have been born with my DNA exactly the same as it is now (save for that extra X-chromosome) I’d still have inherited the “depression-gen”, and I’d still have inherited the defective gen that caused my Ehlers-Danlos, but just not having had to deal with the gender issue would have made life easier on me.
“Now try a slight twist on your hypothetical: Imagine you could start life over, right from the moment you were born. Knowing everything you know now, you get to choose to change one and only one of two things. (1) you can change the sex you’re born as or (2) you can change your feelings so you never have any gender identity issues. That is, if you might be a Female-to-Male transsexual you can choose to be been boy or be born as a girl without ever feeling you are or should be a boy.”
Nice twist. Not only did I ask myself these questions, but others did as well. My first reaction was to choose the second option. Changing my feelings rather than my gender. That was until I realised – and this realisation came within seconds – that changing my feelings meant giving up everything I love. Giving up everything I am and basically become a completely different person. I couldn’t do that. Ever.
I don’t want to be a girl. I don’t want to spend my life sitting on the couch, sipping tea and working on my fucking embroidery. I don’t want to paint my face with lipstick, eyeshadow and heaven-knows-what. I don’t want to wear another dress in my entire life! I cannot be who I am not.
So that only leaves me option 1: being born a boy. And please, born with the same DNA I was born with now, except for that one chromosome. Y, not X, thank you very much. I like the person I am. I just don’t like the female body it came in and would change that in hearbeat, if only it were that easy!
There’s many more questions on Madeline’s website, and I’d love to answer them all here and now, but that would be too much in one go, so I’m going to spread it out over several posts.
To be continued.