Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Story in USA Today

Here I was, leafing through the Life section, hunting for the puzzle page, when I come across this 3/4 page story, "A shadow of regret cast over gender switch". The story is about trans persons who either stop transitioning, or else revert to their original gender after making the change. The story cites the case of Mike Penner, aka Christine Daniels, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, who began to transition, publicly in 2007, then reverted to his male identity in October of last year. The story is a little disturbing, but it's one of the first stories I've read in a mainstream news publication in some time. I made the title above a link to the story, but here's a regular link just in case:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-02-24-transgender-penner_N.htm

Edit: I want to clarify something I wrote here this morning. I said that the story is a little disturbing, and I'd like to say a little more about that.

I know this life is hard. The article cites a Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins University. Contrary to his opinion, I don't believe anyone "chooses" this life due to some social construct. I am 6' 1" tall. I won't say my weight, but it's over 200 pounds. I could live as a man, if I wanted to, and have no outside difficulties. It's what I've done for most of my adult life. That life would be hollow though, and it has been. When I go out as my true self, I feel as though a burden has been lifted, and the prospect of living that way full time fills me with joy, as much as I have ever known.

It's a little daunting to read that people who are further along than I am stop, or even go back. I read another news story back in the fall:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1026392/A-British-tycoon-father-man-woman---man---knows-sex-hed-be.html

That was truly disturbing. This person is wealthy beyond counting. He is unhappy in married life, begins hanging out with transwomen, then decides to become one himself. A Middle Eastern man remakes himself into a blonde Western woman, complete with a name change. Her considerable finances grease all the wheels, and she becomes a successful designer. Then, a few years later, she decides to switch back. Now I understand all the qualifiers, the conditions that have been set for whether or not someone transitions.

I don't know about these others, but the only way for me is forward.