You have heard it enough times from transgender people: “I was born in the wrong body.” I would certainly qualify as one who could make this statement.
I want to know why no one says, “I was born with the wrong brain.” Why do we assume that it is our body that is wrong and our brain that is right? The answer might be so obvious that you already have it.
Our brain manages us. It is the boss of the body, directing the body’s actions. It detects pain. It is where the good feelings are produced that come from vigorous exercise, a tasty meal, marvelous sex.
The brain is the king and the body is its subject.
This relationship does not have to mean that one is right and one is wrong. For me, my condition is not a question of which one is wrong, or that one is wrong and the other is right. I have come so far that it no longer matters whether I am a male who is plagued with a female brain, or a female who was burdened with a male’s body. (Since I have male DNA, I know the answer.)
I have said to Julie, many times over these angst-filled two-and-a-half years, that I don’t care which person I live as the rest of my life—male or female—just let me live as only one person.
That’s the real problem: I have never been only one person, and trying to be content while being two people is a terrible thing in which to achieve peace.
It would be so much easier to fix the brain to match the body because I am known to the world as a man. My wife has a husband. My kids have a dad. My grandkids have a papa. My church would have kept me as its pastor.
I would not face the scary possibility of being rejected by family and friends—experiences through which I have already waded—of losing the good name that I have worked hard to build, of having people stare at me in stores, of being mistreated by those who are bigoted, of being denounced as nothing more than a sinner by many Christians.
It would be so much easier to remain the outward male that I have been for fifty-eight years. I would upset no one’s life, including my own. It would be a dream come true.
But, it’s only a dream because, at this time, there is no obvious, effective therapy to correct one’s gender dysphoric brain for the sake of the body. Even more, the medical world—physical and psychological—has nearly ditched the thought, having declared that transgenderism is not an illness.
Those who believe the brain can be trained to accept the “wrong” body are seen as the too-rigid religious right, who accept no deviations from the norms of male and female. My own church body wants me to live with this offending body, struggle with it, confess and repent of it, rely on the strength of the Lord to abide with it.
I have tried to obey. I have longed to obey.
I am not surviving.
Of those accounts I have read where a person de-transitioned, I have not seen where they made a conscious decision to live according to their birth body, but that other things have been the driver: a change in their mind which they had not earlier encountered, or they had previously been mis-diagnosed (notably, Walt Heyer, who writes and speaks against transitioning). Neither have been on my horizon.
In 2013, I said to Julie, “I feel like this is happening TO me.” I continue to feel that way. From the accounts I have read of those who have de-transitioned, I hear them say something happened TO them to revert to their birth sex, not that they finally put their foot down, insisting, “I am a man!” and, presto, their identity disorder was cured.
I have tried that plenty of times. It is as effective as trying to kill an elephant with a fly swatter.
Much of modern medicine thinks anyone is nuts, even harmful, who attempts or believes in the methods that go by the names of conversion therapy and aversion therapy. Therefore, no work is being done—or not enough for my good—to see if the brain can be helped to be able to accept the “wrong” body.
I do not want to be a person who was born in the wrong body. I want to be a person whose brain can be comforted to abide in its offending body. To misquote the old Stealers Wheel song, I am stuck in the middle with me.
I have done all that I could to figure out to do. In 2013, I began therapy with a highly-educated and experienced man, with the intention of coping with myself. In awful detail, I told him of my lifelong struggle. I said that I strongly desired to remain a male, so could he please give me coping skills, could he teach me, could he please help me.
He did his best. I worked at everything he explained, to try to be at peace with myself. Peace would not come. Angst increased. Self-hate grew. Suicidal thoughts were my constant companion.
My current therapist has heard the same from me. My new doctor, a specialist in hormones, has so far offered me no hope to be happy in my male body; no news of cutting-edge research. A number of pastors have given me their best shot. I continue to daily read the Word, pray, and reflect.
I want to live. I wish it were easier on everyone. I wish it were easier on me.
Greg hates Gina. Gina hates Greg.
I can’t live this way.