On Choice, pt. 1

When I was a kid, it seemed like homosexuals were almost unilaterally despised, because they had been given a choice, and they made the wrong one. This was (and is) a belief less based in science and more based in the fact that it doesn’t conflict so strongly with preconceived worldviews. And it is one which is exclusively held by those who have never had to struggle, every second of every day, to reconcile an integral aspect of one’s self with a society that has deemed it a wicked abomination.

If you’ve never had to experience that degree of self-loathing, I truly hope you never have to. That said, it would be an excellent lesson in empathy.

I mention this because transgender people largely face the same challenge. There are many, many people who believe that such an identity is a choice, perhaps one that is due to “bad parenting,” or an “evil society.” Being transgender, thus, is purely a case of (terrible) nurturing.

Nonetheless, the science, backed by decades of research and studies, tends to state just the opposite. According to the research, transgender people’s brains show structures and functions which are more closely aligned with their “inner” gender, than the one they were born into.

Note: I say tends, because more scientists and researchers support that transgender brains are “wired” like opposite the biological sex. Outliers exist, and always will.

So is there any accepted research which supports the nurture theory? If you want the answer to that question, I recommend looking up the (horribly tragic) story of David Reimer. I’m not going to get into it here, because I’ve already meandered enough in this post without getting to my point, but generally speaking, it is cited as the case study that absolutely refutes the narrative that being transgender is a choice.

But that does not mean that there is no choice to be made. You, for example, have the choice to believe the considerable research most accepted by the scientific and medical communities, or to believe what is easier to believe. But if you lean toward the latter, maybe try to put yourself in my shoes, and ask if this is a life I would choose for myself.

I also have a choice. A choice to continue to simply live the lie I have lived my whole life. A choice to hate myself, every single moment I look at myself. A choice to hate myself, every time I am barred from doing something a girl would do. A choice to resign myself to a life of depression, one which sometimes precludes me from feeling anything at all. One which quietly-but-endlessly whispers that this is not a life worth living.

Or I have the choice to forgo that. To make a change, and be what I want to be, what I feel I am. A choice to hurt, or even destroy, all those closest to me, all those I love the most. To drive my family away. To drive my friends away. To end the relationship with the love of my life. I have a choice to put myself on a pedestal, til the end of my days, emblazoned with the following epithets: Hideous. Disgusting. Crazy. Freak.

If you’ve never had to walk this road, you may have already made your decision before I even put them on the table.

If you have, I’m sorry. I don’t have the answer. Does either really offer less pain and hatred?

Maybe try playing some Portal: it’s a masterpiece.

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