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).