Saturday, 15 October 2011

Help needed: how do you explain it?

I’ve come out to a fair few people over the last year and am really happy about it.  I have a script that I use now that allows me to test the water and to reveal my secret bit-by-bit.  I start with the ‘easier’ parts of my story and finish up with the doozy that I’m transgendered.

But, having explained it and my situation, many of the people who I tell frustrate me by saying, “So it’s a bit like being an alcoholic then?”  Their meaning behind that is that it’s an addiction that I can’t give up.  To them, this would explain why I would be willing to sacrifice my family, home and life to still be able to be a girl.  I have to say, I blanche every time.  This analogy they use is one that I find almost upsetting.  It implies that this is something that:

a. I’ve chosen to do
b. I could stop if I had enough willpower
c. is deliberately debilitating to my life and health
d. is a negative bad thing that is horrible for the people around me

You get the picture I’m sure and like me I suspect you will find the analogy quite insulting really.  Nothing against people who suffer with alcoholism, but transgender-ness is very different surely.   So, I always disagree with them when they say it, but I’ve never managed to come up with an appropriate alternative.   I toyed with likening it to a terminal disease: it’s something you didn’t chose, won’t change and actually have little control over.  But the issue with that view of it is that you presumably don’t enjoy (in any way at all) having a terminal disease.  Whereas I love being able to be Rhiannon.

So to be honest, I’m stumped.  I was wondering whether anyone else had an analogy they use that I could borrow for when I’m trying to help people understand what is going on with me?  Any help would be gratefully received.


  1. The best parallel I've seen is diabetes. It has unavoidable effects on your life but you can live with it and manage it.

  2. That's a tough question. Ummm... I dunno, I guess it feels as natural as breathing, although that may not be the analogy you're after. :-)

    It's not exactly the same, but I suppose you could angle it towards looking at the opposite sex (no, bear with me).

    What I mean is, your average gent's eye roves from time to time. What if they couldn't do that as it was taboo? Instead, they'd have to guard their thoughts and second guess all conversation to ensure nothing would be misconstrued - else, shock horror! - they'd be spotted and ridiculed.

  3. Not having done this yet, but perhaps going to in a short while I have been thinking about your post this weekend. I suppose I hadn't really given any really serious thought as to what I might say up to this point.

    To me, this desire to be seen as female is as innate to me as breathing and yes I would feel as insulted as you do. The only thing that has ever stuck in my mind was a blog post about a similar conversation. A girl asked the other person why they considered they were male/female - the response would invariably be along the lines of 'because I am' - the girl would then reply that they never had that certainty.

    Sounds pretty rubbish when I read it through but I suppose what struck me was asking something of the other party upon which they were 'certain' and then relaing it back to my own situation and why I was so certain that I had been born the wrong gender.

    Still - I have never tried this so I have no idea how rubbish it might sound !


  4. Thank you so much for your consideration! It really is a tough one, but I like all of your suggestions. Useful to have more in the armoury.

    The thing that's still missing in all of these and where any analogy I can think of falls down is in the enjoyment part. Even the diabetes idea which is fantastic by the way, conveys it being a negative medical issue instead of being something that a) doesn't harm me and b) that I love doing...