Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wrong

Don't get me wrong, but sometimes the wrong word used in the wrong context can give the wrong connotation and be interpreted in a completely wrong manor.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  Not necessarily anyway, but often when there is miscommunication someone can feel wronged.  Please don't take that the wrong way.

Last night I made a rare appearance at a transgender support group meeting.  In fact, it was only the fourth time I've attended such a meeting in person and the second time I've attended this particular group.  I'm really at a point in my life and transition where I don't particularly need to go to such meetings but I will continue to go when I can to offer support and see my friends.  In the past, when I was more in need of support for issues such as coming out, it was logistically tough for me to attend these meetings.  That's still the case today as I am usually busy with my boyfriend or other things when the group meets that one Saturday a month, but I will make the effort to attend whenever possible.

During the meeting, one of the members made a reference to having been made to feel wrong for exhibiting signs of being transgender.  In their case these feelings were bestowed on my friend by certain religious people who feel they are righteous and everyone who doesn't follow their strict doctrine is wrong.  Oh, don't we all know that type.  They are particularly prominent in the south where religion is as strong as a shot of brandy on a Sunday morning.

Another person in the group noted that there is a movement to get away from referring to ourselves and our activities as wrong.  The new, politically correct way to express our experience is to say that we are different or variant.  The idea being that if we say we were made to feel wrong it can perpetuate the idea that somehow being trans is wrong.  Just like the term and diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder has fallen by the wayside as yesterday's thinking, the idea that we are wrong or have engaged in wrong behavior should be left by the wayside.

While this is actually a noble effort, all of this is sort of tit for tat to me and the whole conversation seems much ado about nothing.  The fact that disagreement over terminology, or the interpretation of terminology, ruffled some feathers in the groups seems to me, well, wrong.  One group member was made to feel wrong for using the word wrong to describe how she was made to feel by others earlier in her life.  As another friend said, it is unfortunate that someone can leave a support group meeting feeling worse than when they came in.  Something is inherently wrong with that.

*****

My take on the matter is that the use of the word wrong to describe the transgender condition is not wrong at all.  At least not in my experience or interpretation.  While I do not feel it is wrong to be the way I am and have been, I know that for most of my life being trans has made me feel very, very wrong.

Personally, I didn't have many instances of being made to feel wrong.  Like almost all of us, I dabbled in expressing myself by trying on clothes and makeup of female family members as a young child.  I don't recall being caught while doing that clandestinely but I do remember one instance of dressing in my grandmother's clothes and wig then walking out of the room to show her and my aunt's. 

I didn't feel wrong for dressing in her clothes like that, and for a few minutes the women seemed to get a kick out of it when I walked out of the bedroom to show them, but then my grandfather came home and definitely let me know it was wrong.  That's how they looked at it then anyway.  I realize many others had much worse experiences with family members than I did, but after that I totally went in the closet with it.  It would be later in my adult life before I made a serious attempt to put an entire look together and go out, and I know that repression was due to the fact that I felt like my coming out and expressing my true self was wrong, or at least it would be interpreted as being wrong.

Much deeper than any feelings that any of my actions would be seen as wrong, were the strong feelings inside of being wrong.  These feelings didn't start until I was about 12 years old, as I recall, but they played a huge role in shaping my life from that time forward.

I've described that feeling as a dark cloud that came over me and it did begin about the time of puberty.  The feeling of being wrong was organic, internal and extremely powerful at times.  Oh My God, something is Wrong!  I feel I had a chemical imbalance in my brain and I believe it was caused by the sudden surge of the dreaded hormone testosterone. 

From that point on my inner being was ruled by this tragic feeling, this dark stranger.  From the age of 16 I tried to quell these feelings with alcohol, drugs, or any form of escape.  It was only when I knocked down the testosterone and began taking female hormones that this feeling went away and I finally began to feel normal, to feel right.

I'd had feelings of being female inside, never fit in or felt right being male and had symptoms of gender dsyphoria (including genital dsysphoria) most or all my life.  I'd found out the term and figured out I was transgender several years before beginning transition but I'd never put two and two together to figure out the chemical nature of my dark psychological cloud.  I was producing the wrong hormones and it created a clash of the titans in my brain.  The light that came on within me very soon after I began taking testosterone blockers, then the female hormone estrogen, made this crystal clear.

So for me, the word wrong is the right term to describe my inner feelings before beginning my medical transition.  None of my behaviors have been wrong and no one can make me feel wrong about the changes I've made to make myself right. 

Those that believe that what we do or how we feel is wrong, are wrong themselves in an extreme way.  We as transgender people are different, as all people are unique and different, and not all trans people have the same feelings I experienced.  We are a varied group and have varied experiences.  I just know that I survived a very dark period that lasted a very long time.  Now I feel right inside and outside,  There is nothing wrong with that.