Asked of me on Quora, 15 Feb, 2022
“Do you think being transgender is a choice?”
Having your sense of your gender be incongruent with your birth sex is not a choice.As to why it happens, there’s been a lot of research, but as of now, no clear answer.
Suffering from gender *dysphoria* is the result of suffering the misunderstanding, contempt, and “different/othering"of all of the ignorant, frightened people in the world. The mistreatment by others because of your gender incongruence is what causes gender dysphoria.
Long before you 'come out’ as transgender, you see and hear all of the disgust and hatred directed toward others whom you know that you are the same as, in this important way.
Pretending to be someone whom you are not, because you know, without a doubt, the horrible, hateful treatment you will get when they find out who you really are, is devastating to self esteem, creates depression and anxiety so extreme that you may want to just die and not have to feel it anymore.
If you're like me, you didn't have the courage to actually kill yourself effectively, so you escaped the feelings, as much as possible, through alcohol and drugs.
By the time I got out of the USNavy in 1993, I was 34 years old, and in San Diego, CA.
Being 3,000 miles away from NC, I was able, with the help of a fabulous clinical psychologist, Kurt Buis,(pron. “bise"), to begin to sort it all out and transition, following the WPATH standards,(as I believe all should do).
Because of ignorant, selfish people's refusal to accept trans-people, my life was a miserable, clinging-to-life-by-my-fingernails, existence.
My entire life, from the beginning of puberty, to decades later, I was struggling just to cling to sanity, while pretending to be “just fine 😁”.
It made me stronger, though it could just as easily have resulted in my death, as it does for so many others.
Transitioning did not cure my alcoholism. It had progressed way past the point of no return.
31 days before my sixtieth birthday, retired, disabled, I returned to the Hut, the first place that I ever went to a twelve step recovery meeting. I had first gone in 1975, at the age…