Transgenderism is also referred to as "gender identity disorder" or "gender identity dysphoria." This is the situation where a person is born one gender but believes they should have been born a member of the other gender.
M2F refers to people born males who want to be female, and F2M refers to people born female who want to be male.
This is not the same as crossdressing. People who crossdress like to wear clothing of the opposite sex (at times), but are content with people the gender they were born. Crossdressing is basically a choice; people like to do that but can do without it if necessary.
Transgenderism is NOT a choice an individual makes. In American society, with its incredibly strong homophobic element, transgendered individuals are subject to the same types of prejudice that gays and lesbians are but , in most cases, are not given the same legal protections (in the places that legal protections actually exist). So a person can easily be fired, for example, if an employer learns that the person is actually transgendered.
Why this hatred? It again ties in with the homophobic thinking of many people. Being gay or lesbian is assumed by them to be immoral, usually because it is prohibited by the Bible. Interestingly enough, two women having sex is quite acceptable to most men (actually, a rather major turn-on for many), but the same men would be violently opposed to watching two males having sex (and, to a degree, the reverse, women disliking watching women have sex but like watching two men have sex).
There is also an assumption made about the sexual orientation of the transgendered person. If the person is a M2F, for example, then the assumption is made that because the person wants to be female then that person is interested in men, sexually. In some cases that is true; in some cases the person is really bi-sexual and in some cases the person is attracted sexually only to women. (In one Ranma-chan fiction piece she refers to herself as a "heterosexual lesbian", meaning in her male form she was attracted to females and in her female form she is still attracted to females.)
In addition to lack of legal protection, people who are transgendered are basically shunned; they become (in many cases) outcasts. Their own parents might disown them. If a person finally realizes that they are really transgendered and they are in a marriage, in many, many cases that marriage ends up being doomed.
Transgendered people often encounter hostility from their own children. Unless a person can "pass" as the opposite gender then that person also takes a major risk dressing in the clothes of the gender they feel they are and then going out in public. These people are subject to stares, name-calling and at times actual physical attack.
Why am I stressing this point? To show that transgenderism is NOT a choice a person makes. Who would be willing to chose something which will cause them intense personal and financial hardship and perhaps even physical attack. People do not wake up one day and decide "well, today I'm going to become gay" or "today I'm going to become lesbian" or "today I'm going to become transgendered." It is NOT a choice of lifestyle.
On top of all of this there are other things which make a transgendered person's life at times a continual living hell. If you are a heterosexual person, say a male, and suddenly you found yourself trapped in a female body and knowing you could never return to your male body how would you feel? No doubt very, very angry. You would want to be changed back somehow, but any means you could find. You would probably want to seek revenge on the person who trapped you in the "wrong" body.
This is how a transgendered person feels all of the time. They are trapped in the "wrong" body. Even with sexual reassignment surgery (an incredibly expensive option that many cannot afford) the person will have the outward appearance of their "real" gender but not the actual inward biology. The person will not have grown up being their "real" gender. What should have been their "real" life has been stolen from them by fate (or whatever) and they will never, ever been a full, genetic version of what they feel themselves to be.
Let's also deal with the word "feel" here. The word "feel" is actually inadequate. The term "know" is better; a M2F, for example, "knows" that he is really a she. But what do I mean by "know?"
Again, for someone reading this piece (if anyone actually ever does), try this approach. First, ask yourself what gender were you born. (A no-brainer to start out with.) Then ask yourself this: how do you know you are that gender?
Your answer will probably be along these lines. You have the physical appearance of a man (for example, I'm not ignoring F2M people). You have the biological structure of a male internally which has certain outward manifestations during sexual arousal. When you speak you voice is deeper pitched than that of a typical female. If you touch your body again you will be able to identify it as being male. There might even be a "male scent" that you can detect. So, of the five senses you've used four to identify yourself: sight, hearing, touching and smelling.
So the information from this senses verifies that you are a person born male.
Now imagine this scenario. You are placed into a sensory deprivation tank. You are strapped into the tank so you cannot move. You are gagged so you cannot make any sound. A non-human smell, such of that of oranges, is piped into the tank. Once it is closed you can no longer see yourself. You can't move and feel certain body parts moving in expected ways. You cannot verify your gender by sound because you are gagged, and you cannot detect any scent from your body because the strong smell of oranges is pervasive in the tank.
Now, what gender are you? In the above situation you have no physical way of verifying your gender. None. You might say, "well, I know I'm male because I remember that I'm a male."So let's go one step further. You are administered a drug while in the tank which gives you temporary amnesia. Thus, you cannot even remember being any specific gender.
Again, now what gender are you? You would still probably say you are male (or female) because you "know" you are. How do you know? Not by the world of the standard senses. You don't know on the physical level; you know on the level of your soul (or your core being in case you don't believe that people have souls). You are absolutely certain that you are male (or female) even though you have no way of physically verifying that.
This is the case for transgendered people. On the level of the soul (or core being), the person absolutely knows that they are really a member of the gender opposite to that which they were born. It's not a matter of choice; it's not a simple matter of physicality; it's a spiritual knowing that you really are the other gender no matter what your actual physical appearance is.
The transgendered person also lives with the knowledge that they have been cheated out of the life they should have had growing up. For example, a M2F will never know slumber parties; will never know the joys of talking with other girls about "girl things." They will never have their parents treating them as the gender they should have been growing up. They are, instead, forced into a role that is totally opposite to everything that they feel.
Even something as basic as clothes can be a source of psychological pain. Try being a "genetic male" ( a person born male) and go to a shopping mall in female clothes, carrying a purse and wearing lipstick and make-up. You will be asking for a world of trouble if you do so yet this person knows that they really should wear women's clothes and use women's cosmetics. Again, not by choice but by that internal "knowing."
So not only do many transgendered people feel they have been cheated out of the life they should have had growing up, but they know that it is not safe to be their "real" gender in public (although women in men's clothes is considered somewhat acceptable while the opposite is definitely not considered "normal.")
How Some TG People View Themselves
"Stupid," railed the voice inside her head. "Stupid, stupid, stupid."
"Loser!" the voice inside her head screamed. "Loser, loser, loser!"
The day dream died quickly. Katie knew in her heart that she was never going to have a boyfriend-or a best friend. She couldn't risk letting anyone get close enough to know her secrets.
"Way to go, stupid, she raged at herself silently.
And besides, you'd rather be dead then get involved with me, Katie thought.
"That'll teach you," the voice insider her head sneered at her. "As soon as people know about you, they run. And that's the way it's always going to be."
"I hate myself," Lukas says unequivocally. "It's almost an insult for people to refer to it as a self-esteem problem. I'm talking active, passionate hatred."
"You have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside because you want help." -Princess Diana
I lived my life in shadow
never the sun on my face
it didn't seem so sad though
I figured that was my place
There had been hopeless despair in Ranma's eyes when she leaped into the night-the look of someone who had nothing to keep on living for. Even Ryouga at his worst never had looked quite like that. This had scared Akane.
She hadn't ever seen Ranma cry before. Oh, a few tears had been squeezed out of his eyes by sheer pain once or twice when he had really been hurt during a fight, but that wasn't crying. This was the weeping of a soul beyond hope.
My heart is hurting beyond words;
the pain is tearing up my soul.
These days have seen my spirit die,
my life propelled out of control.
My wounds like naked to the world.
My depth of suffering exposed.
This damaged past will never heal
until this nightmare book is closed.
I have divided the rest of the material into books and stories related to transgenderism (and some other topics), and links to transgender-related sites.
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