How Many?
Katelyn Burns

Hello Katelyn

This was a powerful essay.

The Ostrich philosophy of the treatment of gender dysphoria still seems to predominate. The sufferer is told that nothing is wrong. “It’s all in your head.” Funny, that that is what they say, when in fact the MTF brain has female brain structures, but they are not speaking at that level of insight. Instead the person gets voodoo treatment that verges on quackery — confine a kid to one room in the house where she can play with her dolls and put on a dress. One room? I should have been so lucky! Or, encourage the “boy” to do sports. So she grows up to be a female jock — helps when dating lesbians, but she would gladly have traded that for a chance to socialize girl to girl with her cis brethren.

And MTF girls are, as one therapist suggested to me, “raised to be lesbians.” Butch ones, and I know that annoys many a TERFs, but it is the result of the social experiment many parents have bought into — raise them as boys and they’ll become boys. Sigh! Didn’t the disaster with Money’s twins show exactly the opposite? I guess it’s one of those half full half empty deals which leads to opposite conclusions from the same data.

The kid gets programmed early on that feminine behavior will be punished. Is it any wonder there are websites where men are punished and made to wear women’s clothing and so forth? Is the sleeve being turned inside out? Masculinity is learned through forced masculinization so in the privacy of their bedrooms do some look to be forced into femininity? Yet, that might be one of the outcomes of ignoring that the dysphoria.

I was not going to find my truth in that closet, but easier said than done. Parents and family are good at maneuvering a child and young adult into paths they would not otherwise have chosen. One therapist suggested to me that so many people get divorced in their 30s and change careers in their 30s is because in their 20s they grew up to be who the authority figures in their lives wanted them to be, and in their 30s become the people who they really are. Plus, I am sure (I never had children) they love their children and have relationships with a spouse that is hard to give up. And of course there is guilt, too.

Yes, I wish I had had blockers when I was young, but the reality is that NO ONE had them. Be glad some children never have to go through the horror of the wrong puberty. As survivors we need to speak out so that some families that are hesitating in getting their gender variant child medical help not let fear govern their decision. If a child had a growth that prevented them from interacting socially — like a terrible facial disfigurement — no one would say, “she’ll likely grow out of it.” That is magical thinking.

Time is not on our side, even if Jagger sings otherwise. Every day we delay is a day lost. As a middle school kid I realized that life can’t be put into a “savings account” and draw x-percent interest compounded daily.

But it is frightening to do it, make no mistake. Remember the film “A River Runs Through It” and the part where the two Maclean brothers and some buddies, all drunk, decide they are going to go over the falls in a “borrowed” boat. They are all confident and jolly until they approach and the roar of the falls is deafening. “Whoa!” Everyone suddenly sobers up. “What were we thinking!”

It takes courage to put that dress (or whatever) on and walk out into broad daylight, speaking with a different voice, and seeing how people react. There are setbacks. There are days of clocking and wrong pronouns. There is derision. there is a loss of family and so-called friends. The roar is deafening.

And you’ve never in all your life been so alone.

And yet waiting for the waters to become a trickle isn’t going to happen. Step by step we walk toward our awaiting graves. We draw our last breaths. Where are all those people now who we lived for so they would not be inconvenienced by our true gender? The most horrible death I can imagine — to die without ever truly having lived as who we are.

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