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Dear Christine, Trans in Trenton

  • Posted on September 3, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Dear Christine,
How can I be happy when I’m never gonna be a cisgendered male, And the surgery is still not good enough?  I might as well end it, I can’t ever be happy with no support, or with the surgery results, No I haven’t started HRT just yet.  And on top of that I always get jealous of cismales.
Trans in Trenton
Dear Trans,
Thanks for writing Trans, and for my readers, I’ll start by explaining what your question means.  Cisgender male  or abbreviated to cis, is a word that’s been around since 1994, referring to someone who self-perception of their gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth and their personal identity.  (Cisgender has it’s origin in the Latin-derived cis-, meaning “on the side of) which is an antonym for trans-, meaning “across from” or “on the other side of”.)
I hear your pain and despair about your body and your identity not matching and the dread that it never will be in coherence adequately with hormones and/or surgery.  It’s a really tough place to be.  You have the option to end your life, but that is a permanent solution a problem that may not be so all pervasive once you start taking some steps to help your body look as you feel on the inside.  I’m just not sure that happiness is all wrapped up in a perfect body.
This is an extreme example, but Stephen Hawking is a man who has lived with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) for 50 years, far longer than most people with that disease.
It usually kills a person in just a few years, progressively paralyzing the muscles, until your lungs cannot breathe anymore.  Stephen Hawking got a terrible case of pneumonia in 1985, and his doctors asked his wife if it was time to pull the plug and let him die.  He was so very sick, and had ALS on top of it.  His wife said no.  She had him treated and eventually he came out of that very serious infection.   After that, he had no use of his voice, and has had to use a computer to generate a voice to read the words he types.  He is now a quadriplegic and on a ventilator.  And yet, he said that the bout of pneumonia in 1985 that almost killed him made him realize how brief life can be.  So, he set about his work in Physics.  He has lived longer than most people with ALS, and he has achieved more than most people in general.  He is internationally known for his work in black holes in astrophysics, and at 70 is awaiting data to confirm his M-theory, a complete theory of  the universe, which would launch him toward a Nobel Prize.  He has regrets, however, and one is that my disability “has prevented me from playing with my (3) children and my (3) grandchildren as fully as I want.”

So, I offer Mr. Hawkings as inspiration that happiness can be deeper and more lasting than the physical package which clothes our soul.  You have a spirit and you have a purpose.  Your job in this life is to figure out that purpose and live out your life being fully who you are!  I hope you can find a way to make peace with your limited and imperfect body, and perhaps hormones and surgery will get it looking closer to what you know of who you are on the inside.  No, you can’t be a cismale, and if that is all you focus your life on, you will always be miserable.  You can be a transman and you can make a difference in this world by living out loud, being you, trans and all.  Hormones do amazing things to resculpt bodies and there are new advances in transgender surgeries that get better all the time.  You are who your soul is, not your body.  It definitely helps to have your body look and function well, but who you are is a lot deeper than that.  Talk to a professional who can help you sort out your body image issues with being trans and not cis.  Explore options of going on hormones and start taking steps to make peace with the body you have, which will never be the body you want.  Even if you were to somehow magically become a cisman, aging happens to us all.  If you look at your parents and grandparents, you will see that their once young, handsome, strong bodies have become disfigured, sagging and arthritic, and their once gorgeous blonde or brown hair is now gray, or even bald.  No one is perfect and I highly doubt that anyone is 100% happy with their body, trans or cis.  Doing what you can with hormones, clothes, and possibly surgery will open the door to contentment with the wrapper your soul comes in.  It’s all a process.  Give yourself the space and time to explore this with people who can help you.  Keep in touch. Christine C. Cantrell, PhD

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067

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