Identity Theft: The “Trans” Con
Beth Orens

I applaud your courage in saying this. Listening to what one trans-man said about his transition (while pregnant) was a bit disconcerting, especially when he said, ‘I never felt like I NEEDED to change my body.’ While I never entirely hated my body, I knew, much like you, there was something going on in my brain. I didn’t figure it out until last year because I was never taught that gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, and biological sex are different and distinct. My gender is definitely a more masculine female, and as I transition and my true self emerges I am seeing that confidence that I never had while my brain was running on testosterone. My gender expression was cemented as a kid: I loved jeans, tee-shirts, and overalls, and with very few exceptions, I wear the same outfit each day: red shirt, blue jeans, sneakers. Hair: a messy mop that barely covers the ears, with bangs. My sexual orientation has always been toward females, but sexual intercourse has always been a bit uncomfortable for me, and I never understood why. Biologically, I was born intersex, with parts of both (which is a different conversation for another article). I have met lots of people who are transitioning over the past year or so. Some are clearly depressed about being unpopular or unliked, and some have admitted they transitioned to change that. Others have said, ‘I’ve always wanted to live as a woman.’ I am certainly not ever going to say that these people aren’t valid, they are, but I had to scratch my head about the lack of dysphoria for these people. For me, it was less about being male or female. It was about being okay. The relief, mentally, I got from blockers, the lack of ‘mental fuzziness’ that had persisted and gotten louder over the years, was a complete relief.

The confusion issue stems not just from identifying as masculine or feminine (I was always somewhat feminine, but not overly so. Just enough for people to notice. As a woman, I am often seen as butch or, in extreme cases, as a trans man because of my gender expression) but from a desire to be included. I find it no surprise that many of the trans teens who have transitioned watch plenty of Japanese anime, and there is an article on or somewhere on the web that discusses this issue with how anime has impacted teens who desire to be carefree and themselves in a world of rigid gender roles. I didn’t fit into a gender role as a guy, and I really don’t fit into one as a chick, either. The goal of my transition, as I discussed above, was to be okay, to stay alive. I had reached that point where depression was so deep that I had to deal with this. At the time, I didn’t know what was ‘wrong’ with me, and I contemplated suicide many times. I am certainly not saying that people who are trans should automatically be miserable. At the same time there seems to be a push for people to transition if they are exploring their gender and finding out who they are, and it isn’t right.