As I have touched on before many of my inspirations for informative posts come from the communities I am involved with on facebook, I often save comments and replies I make to then form them into posts for here, at the moment I have quite a backlog of them.
This issue was originally raised by a TERF who was putting down a trans* person who did not plan to medically transition, they also likened it to mental illness and compared it to their own battles with anorexia. To me this discussion raised many important points on what others think of trans* people who do not feel a need too or do not want to medically transition, in short take hormones and get gender reassignment surgery. And some of the mental illness stigma about trans* people.
I fit pretty neatly into a stereotype of a “real” trans* person. I have dysphoria and want go get chest reconstructive surgery and possibly go in testosterone HRT. But this does not make me a “real” trans* person, what makes me that is my belief that I am one. Some people assume that people who don’t want to medically transition offend me, because they perceive medical transition to be more risky or an indicator of my legitimacy. But what really offends me is people making that assumption. Pretty much each and every part of it. Firstly the belief that medical transition is more dangerous than social is wrong, to be fair yes, I could die under anesthesia while getting chest reconstructive surgery, or the hormones could increase my risk for diabetes and heart disease two massive killers of people. But do you know what is a bigger killer of trans* people suicide and murder.
Thats not because of medical transition, thats because of social transition, admittedly medical transition is almost impossible without social transition, but the opposite is not the case. If a designated male at birth person, starts wearing dresses to work or school, that depending on the area can be very unsafe, or if a designated female at birth person tells their mother that they are changing their name to a boy’s name, they could be kicked out of home, and die starving on the streets. There are people in my life that will never call me by my legal name because “that’s not who I am to them“. I’m just lucky no-one wants to kill me over it.
And then the mental illness claims come forward, that its a self perception issue and that it’s like anorexia. An anorexic’s self perception is often that they are fat when they are in reality extremely underweight, and they will often idolise people who are in larger clothing sizes as skinnier. Most people who experience gender dysphoria are the reverse we see ourselves clearly, as having beautiful rounded faces, large breasts and an hourglass figure that women would die for, but this perception does’t match with our self image or sense of self, that view when we shut our eyes and see ourselves, of having angled jaws, flat chests and biceps that most men would die for or the inverse.
but I’m most likely just “mansplaining” this, or I’m a deluded woman trying to escape from perceived self inferiority due to being born with a vagina.
So in answer to the original question, no you don’t have to want to medically transition to be trans*, you don’t even have to tell people your trans* to be trans* if you identify as trans* or genderqueer or some other gender identity entirely, you just are. And never let anyone make you doubt that.