There is a spotlight on trans issues lately, but there is something about it that concerns me. Now, I believe in transgenderism as “a thing,” unlike some people. In other words, I believe it does exist and that there really are people who feel their body is incorrect. I believe in their pain. I cannot imagine going through life feeling that way. I really can’t. That’s not the problem I have.
The problem I have is if we simply accept without question everyone who claims to be transgender, we are going to end up doing a disservice to some people. Because while I believe that there definitely are transgendered folks out there, I also know for a fact that there is a subset of folks in the transgender category who are simply unhappy with who they are and want to change that. In other words, they’re not truly transgender in the sense that they believe that they were born the wrong gender. They may think they are transgender (or trans-something) but in actuality, they’re simply unhappy with who they are and want to be someone else – anyone else. This is not the same thing as being truly transgender and I really think a distinction needs to made here but too often, it isn’t.
This is very important, because helping people in that category to become someone else rather than try to accept who they are and like the person they are could end up being extremely damaging. What happens if they actually transition and find out that – surprise! – they’re still themselves, just with a different body? They’re still going to be unhappy, and this time it will be worse because the thing that they thought was going to fix them didn’t: “I’m a different gender now, but I am still a loser/unpopular/depressed/suicidal/don’t fit in/etc.” Now what? This could push people over the edge, and I’m sure in some tragic cases, that has happened.
I am aware that there are very strict medical protocols to determine whether someone is a good candidate for sex reassignment surgery and that these protocols are designed to try to weed out exactly the kind of people I am talking about. I’m speaking more on societal level; how we as a society react. When we offer blanket acceptance, we are effectively validating everybody, and for people who are having an identity crisis or serious self-image issues but are not truly transgender, this could be very, very damaging. People seeking change who are not truly transgender need help to accept who they are and to find things to like about themselves, not validation that being someone else is the answer to their problems, because it isn’t. It’s just adding another serious problem to an already-existing serious problem.
For example: if someone wants to become a woman because they think they would achieve more acceptance, self-confidence, etc. as a woman, then they need to figure out why they don’t feel they can achieve that as a man. They don’t need to become a woman. (And this does happen; I know someone with this exact problem.) Encouraging the change in this situation only further reinforces this person’s idea that who they actually are is not good enough. That is so damaging to someone’s self-image and identity. They need help discovering who they really are and liking it. They don’t need to be told that how they are feeling is normal or OK, because to dislike yourself so much that you literally want to transform into someone else is not OK.
It’s also not transgender.
The spotlight on trans issues of all kinds has brought to light the other very serious issues that people have with accepting themselves and who they are. People who are not truly trans are gravitating toward trans identification because they are desperately unhappy with who they are. It’s time to stop ignoring them.