Transgender And Self-Concept
I've been asked to share some ideas which might help people who are going through identity gender crises on a cyclic basis. The concepts here are my own and not those of a qualified psychological practitioner, so don't take them as gospel - what I hope you'll take away from this article is a different way of looking at the issues of gender identity which might help you to break out of the cyclic pattern of acceptance and denial of gender-variant self-concept.
For those who are unfamiliar with transgender theory and psychology, or are pedantic about the use of terminology I'm going to define what I mean when I use a few key terms.
What I'm going to work through is a few thoughts on how self-
You can surf the web forever looking at the stories of transfolk who have been actively aware of their gender dysphoria (or cross-
My theory is that there's another way of looking at transgender behaviours and ideation which applies to both "primary transsexuals", "secondary transexuals", "cross-
When you apply Erikson's model in the context of gender alignment it's possible to see people reaching out for a sense of "completion" of their overall identity and grasping onto transgendered self-
If that self-
Administering hormones, opting for body/facial modifications, chipping away at the GRS gatekeepers and dealing with the social impacts of the transgendered condition are all very permanent and very serious issues. If a transperson has jumped for the wrong life-
Another identity trap that transgenderism can unleash on the unsuspecting is the sense of belonging one gets when joining a support group. Admittedly some T-
For the record, I believe sincerely that there are people for whom transition and GRS is the right choice. Who knows -
The first point of denial was the realisation that I'd fallen into the first trap. When I did that I swore to myself that if I fell prey to gender-
Of course -
So here I am now... starting to feel that perhaps I made a mistake in setting it aside. Being a creative person with a vivid imagination it's easy for me to see myself living as a woman -
Unlike a lot of transpeople I didn't grow up convinced that my gender was wrong from an early age. Either the gender patterning of my conservative rural upbringing was so strong that the concept didn't even occur to me, or I'm not what some literature calls a "primary" transexual. That being said, cross-
I hit puberty fairly early -
During late high school I tried on some of mum's clothes and was busted with a bra of hers which I had been stuffing with socks in one of my drawers. I was too ashamed to explain but as of that moment (I think I was around 14) I clamped down hard and tried to put any gender variant thoughts out of my mind. I made more of an effort to be "blokey" -
When I got to uni, that sense of social adjustment was enhanced -
Eventually I dropped out of Engineering to pursue a career in computing. After a year or two doing computer retail and technical help-
About a year into the new job I came across links on a website regarding "transsexuals". Having lived a pretty sheltered existence I hadn't really been exposed to the expression and alta-
The release was cathartic... I felt good about myself for the first time in ages. Unfortunately with that self-
Three years on from that point, I'm unemployed back in my home state, and going through a major bout of depression related to a lack of career-
Thankfully I'm a little older and wiser now and having been through gender identity uncertainties before I'm kind of aware of the steps in the cycle. I've been able to step back from the gender question and see that in these situations there's a broader question of self-
As for what happens next for me? Deep therapy methinks, with the goal being the attainment of a satisfactory answer to the question of "Who Am I?" Once I know that with certainty my actions with respect to gender identity will flow more smoothly and with greater certainty.
The biggest conundrum I face is that without a strong sense of personal identity I probably COULD convince myself of just about anything. Without clarifying (or creating) what my complete identity should be it's very difficult for me to state definitively that I'm transgendered or not. Likewise I'd suggest to any transperson that they make a genuine effort to complete the picture of their core identity before messing with stuff like gender transition. The cost of getting it wrong is too high.
It's my belief that young transsexuals in particular should be very wary of the issues I've outlined here. As young people their identities are inevitably not going to be fully formed and while I understand full well that the effects of HRT started after the completion of puberty are going to be blunted somewhat -
One day there'll be a diagnostic test which should be able to measure something physical in the brain (like BSTc neuron counts) on live patients and the decision making process will be much easier as a result. Until then, whatever else happens, please -
Paper on Brain Chemistry in transsexuals.
Erikson's Model Of Identity Development