Biological Imperatives and Gender Identity

One of my Facebook friends, Diane Anderson, posed a really interesting question the other day. She asked: ‘Is our instinct to procreate stronger than our need to live out our true gender identity? Like many of you, I fell in love with the opposite sex. I truly believed this would “cure” me of wanting to present as female. We Married and raised two children, although the gender dysphoria never completely went away. As the children grew, so did my need to transition to female. Does our innate need for offspring temporarily suppress gender dysphoria? If so, what about F2M trans?’
This was a very interesting and provocative question and it certainly got me (and others) thinking.

It seems to me that there is indeed some similarity in the experiences of some of the transgender people who have accepted themselves for who they are later in life. Most are married, many are parents and almost all are in some way conflicted about their experiences and the choices they have made. Many regret having made decisions that complicated their later desires to transition. Others had no regrets and expressed a great love for their children and spouses and felt that this did not significantly impinge on their gender identity nor on their transition. Others pointed out that they had delayed transition for other reasons and that having a family was never a priority for them. The people commenting on Diane’s post were far from homogenous and their opinions regarding what motivated them and their desire (or otherwise) to transition were far from uniform.

It does however seem that there are broadly two dominant themes among people who have delayed their desire to transition either married as they believed that marrying would cure them of their innate gender dysphoria or because they desperately wanted children and they knew the only way they could have children who were genetically ‘theirs’ was in the context of a heterosexual relationship. It is not clear to me whether they became involved in these relationships knowing that they were transgender people or not.

It seems that some transgender people had a strong urge to have children, whilst others had a more ambivalent attitude towards having children. Many expressed a desire to cure themselves of their need to express their gender. For what it is worth, in my personal situation, I married my spouse at a time when my desires and urges to express a gender identity different to the one that I was assigned at birth had seems to wane and then disappear. I honestly thought at the time that I had been ‘cured’. I knew that I wanted children of my own and my spouse also wanted children, so we were on the same page there. We married and after a good few years of having fun and enjoying each other’s company we had the first of our two children. Unfortunately, whilst initially, marriage seemed to entrench my feelings of having been ‘cured’, the birth of my daughter seemed to coincide with a return of my need to express my true gender. Was this coincidental or a causative factor? I cannot say but there seems to have been some correlation. Having children certainly did not cure me and after the birth of or second child I realised that I needed to come clean to my spouse, which I duly did.

As we mature we seem to become more aware of a the very real need to be true to ourselves and to stop living a lie. Marriage and parenthood may cloud our initial judgement but ultimately the truth will out. However, we are all unique and we all tread our own path. I would love to hear your points of view with respect to parenthood and how being a transgender person impacts and affects you in this regard (and indeed how parenthood impacts you as a transgender person).

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gender, parenting, transgender

6 Comments

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  1. Nice post dear, I personally have stayed single for the simple fact I didn’t think it was right to get someone else involved in my messedup life were I didn’t know what I really was, now that I know I have tried a few dating site’s with no luck, my want and need to transition is out wayed for my want to have children.

    BY FOR NOW

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing… I admire your fortitude. on the other hand remember that we are all ‘messed up’. We all have baggage. No body is perfect. Please do not deny other people the love that you have to share with them… Importantly please do not deny yourself the love that you deserve. Being trans doesn’t invalidate you. It doesn’t mean you do not deserve the love, companionship and security that we all deserve. Please read Jenna’s comment below. She is spot on. The world needs you as much as you need the world. You deserve to live life fully and completely!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I was married, twice, not to procreate, just to have a relationship with a woman I loved and to be loved back. In the heady early days of dating, engagement, and marriage, my gender dysphoria was easier to tame but as time progressed it was so hard to deny. It wouldn’t be put down.

    My last marriage lasted more than 20 years. In the later years I tried to do myself in… twice. There was nothing to live for and I carried so much shame about myself. I could not imagine coming out to anyone, let alone transitioning.

    With an excellent therapist, lots of work, support of my wife (sad and a bit grudging at times) we decided to break up although we remain BFFs. Now, I am entirely out to everyone I know or have known, fully transitioned, and for the first time in my 60+ years, looking forward to living.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I married my wife when I was in my late 20s. I wanted a relationship with someone, to share my life with them and I met someone who I quickly fell in love with. At the time I’d not acknowledged that I would transition. I thought that crossdressing was enough for me and shortly after my wife and I met, in 1993, I told her about that side of myself. She accepted it and our relationship took off from there.
    In 1995 we got married and 3 years later we had our son.
    Two years after that he was diagnosed with leukaemia and I finally acknowledged that I needed to be myself, I needed to transition, life was to short to be who you weren’t. It took me until 2012 before I finally transitioned and lived openly as myself.
    Last year my son finally lost his battle with cancer but for 5 years he got to know the real me, the whole me, the me that in some ways wasn’t much more different to the Dad that had been there all his life. The one that shared a passion for the same types of television programmes and films, enjoyed playing games with him, loved to have mock fights; whether physical or with Nerf guns.
    If I’d known back in my early 20s that I was going to transition then I might have decided that I wasn’t going to meet someone until after I’d done that, but done it back then rather than a lot later in life. But if I’d made that decision then I wouldn’t have shared the last 25 years with my wife, and I wouldn’t have had the privilege to have known and loved an amazing young man.
    How much of that decision was purely mine, and how much down to fate, God, whatever you want to call it, I don’t know but life would have been so different, and so many people lives would have been untouched who have been affected by my son being in the world for 19 years.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing that very touching story.
      Firstly I am so very sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine losing one of my children. It must be so very hard…
      Secondly, you are so right. Yes, by getting romantically involved we certainly ‘complicate’ our and our partners’ lives… BUT as you rightly say, a great deal of good can result as well. No relationship is ‘perfect’. No spouse is ‘perfect’. Yes having a transgender spouse can be challenging but we can also create beauty and a great deal of good in the world. It seems you did just that with your spouse and with your son.
      Again, thank you for sharing…

      Liked by 1 person

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