When Will You Learn? Being Transgender Is Not a Choice

U.A. Nigro

My wife has been out for several years. Most of her family has been affirming and very supportive. Even those family members that don't quite understand any of it still try and are willing to learn. Studies show that a person who comes out somewhere under the transgender umbrella with the support from their family has a much better overall experience transitioning. A positive outcome is always ideal, however for some people, transphobia is too ingrained into them. They don't want to learn because they are full of hate, and they become a lost cause.


My older brother falls into this category. Unfortunately, my little sister outed my wife to him when this was all very new. Something like three or four months new. I was given all this new knowledge about my partner, and I just needed someone to talk to about it so I can sort out how I was feeling. Bad idea, sometimes I wish I had just kept it to myself. So right away my brother gets insulted that we didn't invite him over immediately for an official sit down after having this revelation. I can picture this whole scene resembling something out of a mob movie. Like he was disrespected and should have been on the top of the list of people that my wife needed to come out to. It is quite comical if you ask me.

Any semi-normal person would have called their sister on the phone and at least to confirm the news first. No, not my sibling, he started sending me nasty transphobic emails followed up by horrible text messages. He threatened to call my wife's family and tell them all what was "going on." He said extremely offensive things that honestly turned my stomach. I was dumbfounded. After all, we were raised in the same house, with the same Catholic faith. What happened to love thy neighbor?


There is nothing more aggravating to me than a person who is content to live with anger and ignorance. I knew nothing about the transgender community when my wife first came out to me. Because I love her and she means the world to me, I did some research. Read everything that I could get my hands on and learned how to be a supportive force in her life. It was not difficult, and it cost me nothing. But, instead my brother decided to throw gasoline on the fire. Every person that he runs into on the street, at the mall, in a supermarket, till this day he spews hatred about my wife and I. So he has been cut from my life and the lives of my children. We banned him on social media and blocked him from all of our cell phones. Toxic people have no place in my life.

Imagine having to fight in order to live life as your authentic self. Discrimination being thrown your way in every aspect of life. At your job, the doctor's office, from your neighbors or landlord, and even your family. Through my wife's transition, I have seen this happen over and over. Not only to her, but also to the friends that we have in the community. Every time it breaks my heart. Transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming folks have to function with so much extra stress in their lives. So how could anyone think that this is a choice anyone would make for themselves?

Comments (3)
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In December I was writing on a lesbian platform about relationships, love and outing.
Some lesbians are not very fond of transgender women to say the least. I decided to not out myself as a transgender woman any longer, but to out myself as a lesbian woman.
When a lady started to write to me and wanted to get to know me, I was so exited, since I haven't had a relationship in a very long time, and never as a woman. She was very persistent, while I got a bit scarred and I was trying to find excuses why we shouldn't see each other. But my children, I am a single parent, suggested we should meet. I decided to let my heart make the decisions, and to turn my worries off. When she drove up in her car, asking me if that was the right address, I walked up to her saying yes, and we kissed. She was still buckled up, the motor running; I am halfway in the car. Then she parked, and she got out and walked towards me, I noticed she was very tomboy. We hugged and kissed each other again, like I never did before. We spent New Years evening together, when she suddenly took my hand and asked me to go in my room with her, and we made love as I never ever experienced. It was heaven; I was waiting for a comment. But there was none, at least nothing painful.

The next evening one of my children came home, mentioning his other mother. I realized that now I need to be open and straight about myself. So I told her that I was born a different gender, but that I have been living as a woman for some time. That is when she got very upset, backed away from me, as she had told me before she could never be with a man at all. I felt so miserable, I had just fallen in love with this wonderful person, and now it should be all over so quickly. She didn't want to talk to me anymore, she felt betrayed and stayed away from me. I felt so bad, and I asked her if we can still be together, she just replied I do not want to talk to you anymore, but I will show you. At the end of the day we made love again, and then she said she was really shocked, but she loves me, because I was honest in the end, and because she did not notice anything at all. You were just like any other woman I have been with, and I have the deepest respect for you, since you had the courage at last to tell me the truth.

We have started a most loving relationship, when she told me she always felt like a boy. And she was always looking for a real woman, a woman just like me. She is the most loving gentleman I could have ever fallen in love with, and I am finally as happy as I never have been before.

Erin Polkinghorne
Erin Polkinghorne

Really good points. When I was coming out to my family, my Aunt helped explain it to them as, "Why would [she] choose this? She's going from the ultimate seat of privaledge in the US (cis-het, white, middle class, male) to one which will subject her to constant ridicule."

This is part of the reason why I'm excited for the science behind gender is expanding so much. Personally, I don't care why I'm the way I am. However, to be able to say "this is why" from a peer reviewed journal would help our community so much imho.


Yes! Thank you!

I’ve come to realize that I was asking/expecting too much of some people for them to understand what it means for me to be transgender. I’ve changed my outlook, and what I’m asking for: I now ask that people simply believe that what I’m telling them is my truth, that I believe it wholeheartedly, and that there is nothing anyone else can do which will convince me otherwise. After that, if someone remains unable to be kind to me (not even asking for supportive, just don’t be unkind), they don’t have a place in my life.

I’m not asking others to believe the things I’ve come to know about being transgender - for some people, they just don’t have whatever experience, empathy, compassion, or whatever, to wrap their heads around what it might be like to be transgender. And in the end, they don’t really need to. They just need to understand that to be a part of my life, they just need to respect that what I’m doing is what I feel I need to do, and that it doesn’t hurt anyone else for me to do it.

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