To use an over-cited line from The Matrix,
“What is real? If real is what you can feel, smell, taste, and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
For those of you who haven’t watched The Matrix, do yourself a favor and do it. There’s a reason people still talk about it 18 years later.
A basic conflict in the movie is the dichotomy between “authentic” reality, and “false” or “synthetic” reality. At times, they’re indistinguishable. At times, they’re utterly opposed.
What is it to be a “real” man? To be a “real” woman? To be neither? To be both?
Societal “norms” and customs give us a few answers, depending on which side of the aisle you’re on. Is there one answer for everyone? Of course not–there rarely is. All I can do is detail, as best I can, where I fall personally, and the psychological toll that takes on me.
I was born male. Those who really want to be PC might say that I was born female, but physically male. Those directly opposed to trans rights would say I was born male, am male, and will always be male, no matter what I “decide” to be or do.
Whatever. I would say that I was born male, at least externally, but something in me caused me to develop psychologically as a female. In my eyes, then, I can never “be” authentically male, and I can never “be” authentically female. This issue is one that lies at the core of my depression.
Say I don’t act on my feelings. I never seek help. I never transition. I won’t stop being internally female. Therefore, I can never be a “real” man.
Say I do. I seek help. I do what I need to do. My outward self aligns with my inward self: female through and through. Hell, let’s even say that I am so successful in this, that people can’t even distinguish me from a cis woman: they only know if they knew me before transition, or I tell them.
Will I be a “real” woman? My self-loathing, my depression, the way my friends and loved ones would look at me afterwards…they all dictate that the answer would be “no.” And I hate, hate, hate myself for that.
Hormonally, I’m something in-between, or I’m nothing at all. Every day, I feel more and more irreparably broken, and if I tell anyone, I will only bring them down with me.