I have to be honest, I have wrestled with the notion that I am transgender. It started from a young age, but culminated strongly during the period of 2012 – 2014 after leaving the Marine Corps. The pressure is still on me today, and I am seriously considering going to a psychologist to undergo cross-gender hormone treatment and subsequently, gender reassignment surgery. What exactly is going on with me, is more complicated than one may assume.
I believe this is a spiritual matter that science cannot explain. Although genes or biological features may not exist to diagnose gender dysphoria, one cannot explain the existence of the soul even though one may believe in it. Here, I document what strikes me as ‘real’ concerning gender dysphoria, the urge to transition, and the stigmatization as well as the preachy rhetoric that exists today in the transgender movement.
What is ‘autogynophilia?’
Autogynophilia is defined as a male having the experience of sexual arousal from imagining himself as a female. The word was invented by Ray Blanchard and used throughout the 1980s and 90s in this exposition of transexual typography. Much of his work was built on his predecessor, Kurt Freund. Though one may suggest this to be merely a fetish or some kind of mental illness, think again.
What are they claiming though; that is, people reluctant to respect transgender or LGBTQ rights? Concerning autogynophilia, they claim it is merely a male’s propensity to get sexually aroused by imagining himself as female. This view asserts that autogynophilia is a sexual fetish alone devoid of including lifestyle or other nonsexual factors accorging to the way the individual might identify.
For psychologists or psychiatrists to claim that sexual arousal is the only mechanism leading one to become transgender is shallow to say the least. Why then would a trans woman want to change her birth certificate, legal name, and her entire lifestyle to include the minute details of dress and social pronouns? It is hard to become the opposite sex to the world around you after you initially feel the urge that it’s the real you inside.
We cannot explain the soul scientifically. So why do Evangelicals and fundamentalists harp on claiming that transgenderism is a sin or some sort of mental disease? It’s because they have also been brainwashed by their narrow-minded belief structure built on ancient passages in scripture written by men. Why do they claim “authority” in the Word of God, pointing back to verses and chapters in arguments as if simply highlighting such things settles the argument? They honestly believe these passages were inspired by their god, and that honest, intellectual criticism is somehow a lack of faith. What stupidity!
If you believe in the ‘conscience’ then why not respect other people’s subjective views. If someone is sincerely compelled by conscience that he or she is stuck in the wrong body, who are you to say that they are demon possessed or mentally ill? What about your religious beliefs. We all don’t believe the same way. It’s all subjective reasoning.
Furthermore, from an objective stance, we don’t have a genetic test or medical screening that biologically shows one to be transgender. We are currently limited to the intersex phenomenon, in which about 1.7% (same number as redheads in the population) are actually somewhere in between male and female—with ambiguous genitalia from birth, or exhibiting binary secondary sex characteristics only with gonads of the opposite sex inside the body. A few examples include individuals who have been documented to have the following traits:
(1) An XY biological male genotype with undescended testes that convert testosterone into estrogen. This person will appear outwardly as a woman (female voice, breast development, female genitalia, etc.), but have no period cycle due to having no uterus or whom, and can therefore not conceive a child;
(2) An abnormal variation of XY or XX (i.e. XXY, XXXY, XXXXY, and XYY);
(3) A person with one ovary and one testicle, or a combinational structure of “ovatestes”;
I once saw a television presentation of a man who had a family with a wife and kids. After a medical exam due to injury doctors discovered a hidden uterus and other female parts. He then disclosed his long-hidden tendencies of feeling female and started transitioning as a transgender woman. His family remained together by the end of the story.
We live in a weird world. There are phenomenons in nature that make it hard for any reasonable person of philosophical purview to recon. Science shows inconsistencies within a spectrum of variance. Though there is mathematical order and certainty in the universe, there is also randomness and chaos that no religious theology can justify.
My own subjective experience with gender
I personally identify as ‘bigender’ because I feel predominantly masculine or predominantly feminine depending on the circumstance. Though I externally may present as biological male, even then there are questions about my features. Many have remarked that I have a wide hips. Once during a naked photo shoot for a modeling gig I was told by the photographer that I am “wide.” I took it as a complement, and I think his motive was the same.
When I was a new Marine at age 23, my platoon sergeant told me to walk in front of the Marines so they could see my gate: he said “You walk like a chick!” I was not trying to swing my hips or move in any way unnatural to me.
At massage school in Boston in 2014, my gay instructor said I walk like I’m on a “catwalk.” Again, I was NOT exaggerating anything. The way I walk is totally instinctive and natural to me.
My strong feminine tendencies during puberty
When I turned 14, I discovered some strong feminine drives concerning the way I felt sexually. I remember at age 16, looking at myself walking naked in a mirror and recognizing myself as more feminine, both in sight and in feeling.
When I was 20 I decided to experiment with shaving my legs. I couldn’t stand body hair, especially on my legs. I never was too hairy elsewhere, with the exception of my chest which I also started to shave. To this day, I shave in the same ways as women: legs, pubic grooming, forearms and armpits. I feel better this way. Thankfully I don’t accumulate back hair, otherwise I was shave that too. Concerning my face, I could never tolerate a beard. I don’t like facial hair, and shave every morning.
Transgender options I have considered
In winter of 2013 I was convinced that I was transgender and wanted to undergo cross-sex hormones and gender reassignment surgery. However, about a year later the urge subsided. Though I still strongly identified as a woman I did not want my testicles removed, which is part of the sex-reassignment surgery procedure. During vaginoplasty the testicles are cut off, the inner penile tissue is removed and the penis is inverted to create a neo-vagina. Though it appears normal looking on the outside the procedure is only cosmetic.
As of now, medical science has not figured out how to change one’s sex; i.e. change one’s chromosomes and give a naturally born male a uterus, ovaries, etc.—or a naturally born female the XY chromosomes, a prostate, testicles, and functional sperm. Therefore, as it stands it is impossible to change one’s biological sex.
This isn’t to say, however, that intersex conditions exist. As mentioned above, some individuals are born with ambiguous genitalia and an abnormal pair of chromosomes. Some cannot conceive or produce children whether male or female, because on the inside they have a different gonadal setup.
After researching all this, and coming even more familiar with myself and how I feel inside, my truest authentic expression is to identify as bigender. I have yet to get a chromosome test to determine if I am in fact intersex.
This journey of gender discovery has been the most difficult I have experienced in my life because it challenges the way I present myself to the outside world, and how others should, or should not, perceive me. It has been very freeing though. Once I decided to let go and be myself, regardless of what others think, a heavy spiritual burden came off my back. I am an individual with unique traits and characteristics unlike any human that has ever lived.
This phenomenon resonates strongly with my views on the founding of the United States from the Age of Reason. The Founders and philosophers who instigated the American War for Independence believed strongly in the Natural Law and idea of natural rights from both the Bible and other historic texts. The notion that each person is an individual with “certain unalienable rights” is predicated on the principles of personal sovereignty, individuality, self-government, and personal stewardship. One is responsible for one’s self entirely, and no one has natural power over him or her.
The only power that you lose is the liberty that you forfeit by violated another’s liberty. Committing a crime against another warrants the state to step in because you went beyond your personal jurisdiction by infringing on the natural rights of another. This concept rings true to any application from respecting transgender rights to free speech or religious rights. Virtually anything a person does that does not coerce or violate the liberties of anther is a “right” that should not face prosecution by the state or abridgment by another individual.
The spiritual and philosophical reasoning for gender identity and expression
Though staunch conservatives will rant that “there are only two genders,” are they not hypocrites if they make similar claims about their religious faith? If one claims that science has not found the existence of a “homosexual” or “transgender gene” then cannot an Atheist claim the same about one’s professed faith in God and protected rights to religious expression?
What is this notion of “expression” anyway? From a legal perspective it is a First Amendment protection: the idea that you have certain rights of free expression in the forms of speech (verbal, art, music, etc.), sexual orientation, gender identity, as well as religious liberty. Hence, the First Amendment does not grant you this right but simply legally protects your rights of free expression that already exist in nature.