The Need for the Science of Being Transgender
Recently, another scientific study was released about the transgender community. It was the study of DNA that could be responsible for gender identity. Dr. John Theisen, a professor of Reproductive Endocrinology, Infertility and Genetics at Augusta University, led the team. I saw an article on his findings on several different websites and social media sites for partners of transgender folks. As a result, there was a plethora of partners who were excited to comment on the study or shared it with others. It definitely struck a strange nerve in my brain, and the imagery that followed was slightly disturbing. I pictured a hungry pack of lions tearing at a fresh kill. How strange is that?
"WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR PARTNERS, AND FAMILY MEMBERS OF TRANSGENDER FOLKS TO HAVE A MEDICAL EXPLANATION FOR TRANSITION?"
Why is it so important for partners, and family members of transgender folks to have a medical explanation for transition? Why do they become scientific archaeologists trying to dig up the origins of trans? Over morning coffee with my 23 year old, I shared with her my strange reaction to the latest scientific transgender news. Since she is studying human services and physiology in college, I love to get her input on my crazy brain. So I asked her what she thought of my strange reaction to all of this. Why is it that so many people need to have a reason and that I personally, could care less? My thought process is, "my wife is transgender, end of story." I don't need an explanation as to why, she just is.
Her thoughts were this, most people believe in cause and effect. If this "thing" has happened, then there must be a reason why. As humans we have an enormous need for explanation. If we can explain to others why our partner is transgender, then we don't seem so unhinged. So if I have a piece of paper from a medical professional stating that my wife is transgender because... it makes it palatable to others. So because, these facts and information have come from an educated professional it is an easier pill to swallow. This is why I enjoy conversation. It always shines a different light on the things that bounce around in my brain, and my daughter is always a great sounding board.
"SHE TOLD ME THAT IF SHE HAD A PIECE OF PAPER FROM A DOCTOR EXPLAINING WHY SHE WAS TRANS, THAT HER FAMILY WOULD BE MORE OPEN TO ACCEPTING HER."
This brought me back to a transgender woman who I was talking with online last year. She came from a family of religious conservatives and in her heart she knew that they would not accept her being transgender. She told me about how she prayed everyday that she was intersex. Confused, I asked her why. She told me that if she had a piece of paper from a doctor explaining why she was trans, that her family would be more open to accepting her. I tried to give her the courage to just live as her authentic self no matter what anyone thinks about it. That her being healthy and happy should be her first priority. A year later, she is still not out to her family and is currently trying to convince herself that she does not need to transition.
If only the world were a kinder place to people who are different. Perhaps the need for medical validation for the transgender population would not be necessary. For myself, the latest and greatest articles on the scientific nature of being transgender will not change a single thought in my head. I am unapologetically in love with a woman who happens to be transgender. However, I now understand better why others might have the need for such things to exist.