A lot of transphobes love to claim that being transgender is a “choice” or a “fad”. However, it’s a recycled homophobic argument that had no validity then. In my last hate mail, Jared Rosenblum makes a lot of ridiculous claims. Among those, he claimed being transgender was somehow a “choice”. This is nonsense, of course. However, it needs to be addressed since it comes up so often. So, in today’s post, I will debunk this nonsense.
Why people might think being transgender is a choice
People, for some reason or another, believe that being transgender is a choice and it can be maddening to try to ascertain why they believe this nonsense. However, the answer is sort of simple: the fact that we need to transition.
A tale of my father and his “choice”
An anecdote I like to bring up in response to this claim is the time my father fell off the roof of our house. You see, he didn’t choose to fall off the roof. He didn’t choose to break his leg so badly, his bone was peeking out of his skin. He didn’t choose to need serious medical care in order to be able to continue to live his life. Just like he didn’t choose to fall off that roof and need extensive medical care, being transgender isn’t a choice. Needing to transition isn’t a choice.
What is involved when we start transitioning
When you start transitioning, it’s not a matter of having any other alternatives. Nobody recommends this unless it’s clear that you’re transgender.
The Path of Least Resistance
Naturally, people choose to follow the path of least resistance. Most people want a simple life that they can manage.
Being transgender isn’t a choice because being transgender is tough. It requires a lot of introspection and a lot of heartache. It requires a thick skin, given all the bigotry and hate you’ll face. To be visibly transgender is to engage with a world that is hostile to who you are. I know that the idea of “transition as a form of courage” is a common trope, there is some truth to it.
However, I don’t know how much truth. To be honest, can you really be courageous for making a “choice” that is a false choice? Not in that your choice is bad for you but that the alternatives are far, far worse? In my anecdote about my father, I talk about him needing care after his accident. Could he have chosen not to get care? To try to navigate the world with a piece of his leg bone poking out of his leg? The pain that he must have been in must have been a coercive factor. So much so that to choose anything other than treatment would have been unthinkable.
In the same way, I can’t think of any way other than to transition in order to alleviate the gender dysphoria. And every step I take in that direction helps a bit more. I know I have a long way to go, but I know I am going in the right direction because of how each step brings me more in line with who I truly am. Because being transgender isn’t a choice.
So, what is the choice?
If being transgender isn’t a choice, what is the choice? Put simply: the choice is to live. To live authentic, real lives with the people we love and cherish. To be true to ourselves and live healthy lives. Does it not make more sense that people would choose to transition because they want to be healthy? It’s an obvious choice with an obvious goal: your own well-being.