Born That Way?
A Transgender Article by Brianna Austin

What if it came to light that you really weren’t a woman in spirit? That none of this transgender life is about “being” a woman in a man’s body, but rather just thinking you were? And what if that thought (of being and feeling female) was biologically “hard wired” into your brain? How would that make you feel?  Are you happy that this can no longer be considered an action of choice, or does it make you sad knowing that “being wired biologically” means it is likely something you will never be able to change?

Most of us have spent our entire lives wondering, “What’s wrong with me?” And then after decades of purge and repeat behavior, mixing shame, guilt and the need to search our soul for the truth of these internal feelings of self identity, some of us have slowly learned to accept in ourselves that which society often mocks, or worse, condemns. If in fact being transgender is a biological trait, like having blue eyes or blond hair, does that relieve us of this heavy load?

Transsexuals, prior to GRS, have often described themselves as woman trapped in the body of a man. And although I feel the same way — and used that explanation as the best analogy to explain what being transgender felt like — I still could never reconcile what that really meant beyond theory in my own mind. When we say, “I am a woman,” are we referring to the current essence of our soul? Or perhaps we have the memories from a previous female existence?  Or is our (societies) notion of life and existence simply wrong, and gender expression merely another form of experience as I suggest in “And They Burned Witches Too!” Abstract thoughts like these fascinate me, and I actively participate in “what if” scenarios all the time. But beyond the rhetoric of the conversation, what does any of it mean in the practical sense?

I have friends that have transitioned and currently live the full time lives of the woman they have become.  But were they woman all along? Some say yes, while others say no.

Transsexuals (often thought of as those that have graduated transgender camp) are split in two on the issue and have drawn a line in the sand. There are two common positions that have been recited to me repeatedly:

  1. Some say that they were transgender woman when they were women living in a man’s body, but post-op no longer are, suggesting that now they are simply women, no different than any other biological woman, and therefore, no longer trans.
  2. Others identify as women, but recognize that the mere fact that they were born into a male body makes them different from a biologically born female.

For the sake of this article let’s refer to them both by the acronym “WODO” (Woman of a different origin).

A biological female has lived her whole life female. Beginning from early childhood she evolved through adolescence into adulthood. Many WODO’s on the other hand simply “become” woman midstream. Does this make a difference? Some WODO’s will argue that they have been women since birth, just trapped in a male body due to a cosmic mistake. Did being predominately male (even if they were just pretending and playing the part) have an impact on the woman they are to become? Another position by some WODO’s is that they can never really be 100% woman (even though they have an almost exact replica of a female body to accompany their female mind and spirit), because they didn’t have the life experience of a woman. They certainly are no longer male and therefore, by default, are transsexual women.

It has been theorized for some time that being transgender and/or homosexual, is something you are born with, not something you learn, or acquire a taste for (no pun intended.) Recently, scientific reports are emerging that support these theories, linking transsexualism to biological conditions that occur during the “hormone spray,” in the womb.  In 1995 Dutch researchers discovered that a structural difference existed within the brains of men and (M>F) transsexuals. A small cluster of cells in the brain — the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BST) – is smaller in transsexuals (as it is in women) than in men.

Most recently researchers announced links between certain genes and sexual orientation, which it says is also hard wired into the brain.  Perhaps with the advances of medical sciences, we will come to know for sure the reason for our actions. So in the future when people say, “How come you are transgender, we can say guilt free, “Because I was just born that way.”

Brianna Austin is a contributing writer at TGGuide, Transgender Forum, TG Community News, Lady Like Magazine, the NY columnist for Girl Talk Magazine, and editor of Girls Club Reporter.  This article is Published on TGGuide.com with express permission of the Author. Brianna operates web sites at: www.briannaaustin.com and www.tglife.com.

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