I have heard this from my wife when we had a serious discussion about coming out, but I had heard it long before that, when it came from my own mouth when I was deep within my mask, years ago. “How can you [they] choose to be women?” My wife’s was in reference to Trump becoming president-elect and our world felt like it was collapsing in. Mine was long ago when I was in deepest denial and trying my best to be as manly as possible. Either way, there was a simple answer, the same one I gave my wife. “I don’t have a choice, any more than you have the choice of not being human.” The choices are not what our gender is; this is decided for us, regardless of the genitals dealt us. The actual choices are in how we deal with who we are.
I am choosing to come out, of that I have an option. Who I am coming out as, there is no option, I am only me. I chose to be me instead of the mask. There are times still when I choose to don the mask, work or family/friends that still don’t know. There will be a time soon when I choose to leave the mask behind entirely; even the memory of it will fade.
When my wife asked me the question in frustration, I was kind of hurt. I also understood that she didn’t mean why did I choose to be a woman, but why would anyone choose to be a woman now, in this political climate. I knew that intellectually she knew that I didn’t make a choice about being female. But it was still there, that question.
Just in case anyone may need a primer on why being transgender isn’t something anyone would choose.
Here are the great things I gain by “choosing” to be a woman:
1. Violence against anyone who is somehow different, because it is perceived we are easy targets.
2. Violence against women, because it is perceived that we are easy targets.
3. Violence against you is ignored because you were obviously asking for it, being who you are and everything.
4. Not taken seriously on or off the job (see loss of male privilege, but add loss of normal people privilege)
5. Try using a public bathroom
6. The stress of always worrying over passing, or at least not being clocked so you can use the bloody public restroom.
7. Because of the erroneous belief that we “chose” to be another gender, we are somehow an abomination. (Most of us are very religious, we prayed constantly to just wake up the right gender)
8. Try getting a job (getting a job that can actually pay the bills, much less making anywhere to what you were making at the job before you came out)
9. Friends and Family that actively cut you out of their lives (I have been lucky so far, but most aren’t.)
10. Love (Dating and finding someone who loves you no matter, it’s already hard, add the special circumstances)
11. Constantly fight your body. (like shaving your body three times a week, or your face daily? HRT, like worrying over how your organs could fail? Or increased cancer risks?)
12. Costly surgeries ( I could say this is fighting your body and it is, but the cost is astronomical)
13. Try finding women’s shoes in your size. (You know normal women’s shoes, not a fetish heeled monstrosity.)
14. Not trusted around children (suddenly we are pervs?)
15. Gender Dysphoria (Hate how you look? Imagine how you would feel if you had a horn growing from your forehead)
16. Being outed because it’s fun gossip.
17. Increased chances of being killed because someone can’t handle the fact that you are not something they want you to be.