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April 23, 2015

An Experience with the Transgender Person

The Palm Beach Post

I had the honor of being interviewed by The Palm Beach Post this week for an article regarding Bruce Jenner and transgender issues.

 

Many people in this country are on standby waiting for Bruce Jenner to announce to Diane Sawyer “something”! We truly don’t know what! The assumptions running rampant are all saying he’s going to announce his transformation from a male body to a female body. The transformation would identify him as a transgender person or as a person having Gender Dysphoria. My greatest concern (after the fact that our media is anchored in assumption rather than fact) is the amount of judgment that will come from those who do not understand what transgender means and is.

 

We all dream of being unconditionally accepted. In order to be accepted we must be understood. So let me try to help everyone understand a bit about the person who is transgender and then maybe we can have more acceptance through our understanding and compassion.

 

Right now take a minute to feel that place inside you where you know you are a man or a woman. Feel this knowing inside you that has nothing to do with your reflection in the mirror. It is indescribable. It is simply a place deep inside where you just know you are a man or a woman, a girl or a boy.

 

Now, when you look at your physical body in a mirror there is a match. If you know you are a woman and you look in a mirror and you see a woman’s body, you feel a comfortable match. I’m not talking about your judgment about the way the body looks! I’m saying your knowingness of being female or male matches, and is confirmed by, the body!

 

Okay let’s take the next step! Now imagine you leave the mirror and go to your closet and pull out your clothes. If you are a man in a man’s body, you pull out men’s clothing and you have further comfort in the clothing as it rests on your body and further defines you as a man. Now, you go back to the mirror and feel ready to present your Self to others.

 

You now leave the house to go to your destination. As you enter, you say hello to the first person who you recognize and you hear your voice. And your voice is that of a man or a woman and it matches your clothing, which matches your body, which matches the knowing inside you that says you are a man or a woman, respectively.

 

I hope you’re starting to feel the depth of your gender and how it matches your body and your lifestyle. What happens for the transgender isn’t anything like what you just walked yourself through. The man feels like a woman on the inside knowing that she’s a woman on the inside but has the body of a man. The reflection in the mirror each and every time is a reflection of a man and that contradicts the knowingness of being a woman. The clothes on this body feel foreign and announce the foreign nature of the body within which this knowing of being a woman resides. Her voice, when she speaks, is that of a man and again confirms that she is not who she feels she is. She reaches for a glass and her hand is not the hand that matches the way she feels inside. There is no comfort or consistency in her experience of life.

 

How does the person who is transgender learn to accept their own self? How do they learn to be accepted by others when others will never know the truth of who they are on the inside. We don’t feel accepted because of how we look, or what we do, or by what others see. We feel accepted by others when they know who we are in truth, with all of our challenges and all of our strengths, all of our beauty and all of our differences.

 

So the transgender person lives without acceptance because no one knows, understands, or can accept them because who they are is kept hidden in a foreign body. How can there be acceptance when others don’t know that the transgender person is a different gender on the inside than what the body is displaying on the outside?

 

A transgender person is not a transvestite or cross dresser or enjoying a fetish. The latter three are choices people make for enjoyment, variation, and/or performance. The transgender person wears, and feels connected to, the clothes when they match the sex they know they are. This is not the same as being a drag queen or feeling sexually aroused by opposite sexed clothes.

 

A transgender person may feel at least disconnected from, if not repulsed by, their body and genitalia because of the mismatch. They prefer activities that are traditionally of the sex they know they are. Until the time the transgender person chooses to live in a body that matches who they are, they tend to feel very trapped, unknown, unseen, not to mention lonely and more.

 

So, let’s all do our best to help at least one person understand the person who suffers with Gender Dysphoria! Let’s help them find true acceptance in this life! Let’s remember that this is not a choice. Feel the compassion of the suffering of a fellow human being and help them feel the support of compassion and acceptance. Do not be afraid to ask questions to genuinely learn from the transgender person who you meet or know! There is no better way to show your acceptance and to gain comfort. And remember,

“We only judge in the way we are fearful of being judged.”
K. Bomas

 

To read the Palm Beach Post story, click here.

3 Comments »

  1. Wow. Good article both here and in the Palm Beach Post! You’re becoming famous! I’m so impressed! I love you.

    Comment by Phyllis Bomas — April 23, 2015 @ 8:27 pm

  2. A very timely blog. Many years ago I attended a talk on physical presentation. The speaker asked the audience what is the first thing you notice about a person? The were several answers – all wrong, including mine. The correct answer was “are they male or female?” It defines all of us. I think, on some primal level, this why some people have issues with transgender and even homosexuality. They can not comfortably place that person in their initial category. Your blog made me look at the other side – just how difficult it must be for that transgender person. Thank you for sharing your insight.

    Comment by William Longstreth — April 24, 2015 @ 9:22 am

  3. What a wonderful explanation. If only we could step into each others bodies on occasion…it would certainly open up our capacity for compassion and understanding.

    Comment by Deborah — May 7, 2015 @ 6:15 pm

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