Thursday, July 2, 2009

Switching Gender

I'm sure that most transsexuals are really transsexuals, but have there ever been cases where someone who was not transsexual wanted a sex change for some other reason? Is Cher's daughter -- or son -- the former Chastity, a true transsexual or a lesbian who for some reason decided she'd prefer to be a man? Confused Connie.

Transsexualism is very different from homosexuality and I won't pretend to be an expert on the subject, although a little googling will bring you to web sites where you can find more information on it. Based on conversations I have had with Trans People I would say that most people who identify as transsexual and undergo realignment surgery are truly transsexual, because -- while the process may be "easier" than it once was -- it's still not exactly a walk in the park. On the other hand, people contemplating a sex-change are advised to speak to professionals who can not only help determine if they really are transsexual, but if realigning physically to another gender will still be the right choice for them. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.

There have been cases of people who have been advised for one reason or another not to undergo realignment, and they go through the procedures anyway, going underground to get the needed drugs and hormones. I don't have to say what a bad idea that is.

I have no doubt that there have been a few cases where people who were not genuinely transsexual may have wanted to change their sex. Not knowing Chastity or Chazz, I can't say for certain what's the deal in this case. S/he would not be the first person who identified as lesbian and then realized she was or at least identified as (more or less) a straight male in a female body. It works in reverse for men who identity as homosexual until they come to realize they are heterosexual females stuck in a male body. Have there been cases where a guy is so horrified at the thought of being homosexual that he'd rather transform into a hetero female? Sadly, I have no doubt that this has happened, particularly years ago, but I believe it's very, very rare. Internalized homophobia carried to the nth degree.

There are drag queens whose lives dressed up as women seem much more real to them than the time they spend in "regular" male clothing. Are these gay transvestites unacknowledged transsexuals? Perhaps. Yet some get angry at the suggestion that they are not, deep down, guys after all. Others may have such a strong suggestion or fantasy that they are women at heart -- although not in the same way that a transsexual does -- that they might desire a sex-change to become fully female. An interesting question is -- if it's all a state of mind anyway -- are they transsexuals regardless of how they view themselves?

Most people make changes to improve their lives and become happier. If this works for Cher's daughter, all the better. if she is fooling herself, however, about who or what she really is, then it may not be a wise decision for her to make the switch.

There have always been people who have said "I wish I were a man" or "I wish I were a woman" but they shouldn't be confused with true transsexuals. Still, with the increasing acceptance and frequency of sex-change operations -- and the politically correct need some people have not to question anyone as to their orientation -- it is not entirely unlikely that some of these people will slip through the cracks. But they are definitely in a very small minority.

A final note: Most lesbians are perfectly happy being female, as most gay men are perfectly happy just being guys.

No comments: