I have heard this from my wife when we had a serious discussion about coming out, but I had heard it long before that, when it came from my own mouth when I was deep within my mask, years ago. “How can you [they] choose to be women?” My wife’s was in reference to Trump becoming president-elect and our world felt like it was collapsing in. Mine was long ago when I was in deepest denial and trying my best to be as manly as possible. Either way, there was a simple answer, the same one I gave my wife. “I don’t have a choice, any more than you have the choice of not being human.” The choices are not what our gender is; this is decided for us, regardless of the genitals dealt us. The actual choices are in how we deal with who we are.
I am choosing to come out, of that I have an option. Who I am coming out as, there is no option, I am only me. I chose to be me instead of the mask. There are times still when I choose to don the mask, work or family/friends that still don’t know. There will be a time soon when I choose to leave the mask behind entirely; even the memory of it will fade.
When my wife asked me the question in frustration, I was kind of hurt. I also understood that she didn’t mean why did I choose to be a woman, but why would anyone choose to be a woman now, in this political climate. I knew that intellectually she knew that I didn’t make a choice about being female. But it was still there, that question.
Just in case anyone may need a primer on why being transgender isn’t something anyone would choose.
Here are the great things I gain by “choosing” to be a woman: