Nov 03 2016

Is There Such a Thing as “Transgender” or is it a Myth?

Vol. 386, November 3, 2016 – Is There Such a Thing as “Transgender” or is it a Myth? 

Over the past few weeks I have been working with an 18 year old who “came out” to her family as a trans gender person, a person with body dysmorphic disorder. This was something that she has spent much time and energy worrying about over the last two-thirds of her young life. Her biggest fear was that she would be thrown out of her home for “coming out.”

I had done quite a bit of research to figure out the best way of helping my client since she asked me to support her when she told her guardians. Her guardians let her know that they loved her unconditionally, though they were as confused as she was during the conversation. She was wanting them to use an alternative name for her, getting rid of her female identity, though in her case, she was fine with her body as it is and wanted to continue wearing her makeup to hide her acne, including very bright red lip stick. Her belief was that there needn’t be any gender role really – anything goes.

However, I missed one very important person I know who came through for me beautifully in a consultation we had over the phone a day after the “coming out” appointment. This person who helped me, is herself a person who went through gender reassignment surgery when she was in her 40’s, about 20 years ago. The reason that this is important, is because most of the information that is out there on this issue says, that, yes indeed, people can have gender issues and yes, some of them would be better off to go through the surgery. My consultant emphatically disagrees based on what she has learned from being a part of the “trans” culture for many years, though she has prohibited me from using the term “trans,” because so far as she is concerned it doesn’t exist. She made the excellent point that even after gender reassignment surgery these people are still miserable. She even admitted to the fact that after much therapy over the years, she still has issues of gender. Studies by Johns Hopkins Hospital proved this point and have stopped doing the reassignment surgeries they once did, according to Dr. Paul McHugh as he commented in the Wall Street Journal on May 13, 2016.

The Karolinska Institute in Sweden did a 30 year long study following 324 people who had gender-reassignment surgery. They found that around the tenth anniversary of their surgery, these patients began to experience increasing mental health issues. Sadly, their suicide mortality rose 20 times above the comparable non-transgender population.

Those who undergo sex-reassignment surgery become feminized males or masculinized females, rather then changing from one gender to the next.

My consultant explained to me that there are only two genders, male and female determined by ones physical organs, hormones and chromosomes. Further, she told me to call it “gender confusion,” because that is what it is.

How do people get gender confused? Simple. By having parents that are unhealthy gender role models. So, if one has a mother that was scary or depressed, a very young child may find that being a “female” means being mean or sad, so decides that being a male would be easier. Of course at this stage of life, it may be an unconscious decision. During puberty a person is figuring out their gender roles as the body develops, bringing this questioning of gender into play.

A week later when I went to do a follow-up using the information that I learned from my consultant, my client acknowledged that being that “other” person wasn’t working for her at all. She was still miserable. She was still confused.

So, what was the solution? For my client it was cleared up through doing a session of hypnosis. She was able to understand that she wasn’t her mother and as such could allow herself to be fine with the gender with which she was born. This made life a lot less confusing continuing to wear the makeup she feels she needs to hide her acne and the more feminine clothing she enjoys. Because not liking to wear dresses, isn’t the same as needing to be a male, is it?

Some of her confusion may have come as a result of her doing much research on the issue on the internet, and hanging out with others online in the so-called “trans” community who were trying to help her. What happened as a result was even more confusion in this case.

There are psychiatrists out there who realize that this is a mental health issue and needs to be dealt with as such. However, the basic understanding that needs to be had, is that you are fine the way you were born, and you are not your parent. Your parent is separate from you. I always allow my clients the benefit of giving the gifts of their parents issues back to the parents, allowing the client to move on with their own life.

The parental role models need to help the individual to fulfill their gender roles as best they can. Luckily, my client has two great role models with whom she lives who are allowing her to do this as well.

So, if you have this issue yourself or know people who do, understand that this isn’t a physical issue that can be taken care of in that manner. It is a psychological issue where for some reason the individual has feelings that began while very young, that it was too hard to be their birth gender. The best way to clear it up is to get the person to go back to the time when the person made the decision that it would be easier to be the other gender. Next the person needs to understand that they are fine the way they are, and to let go of the idea that a parent with issues, means anything to them. It needn’t be. This is the easiest way to help the client move into self-love and self-appreciation just the way they are without the need to physically alter or mutilate the body with hormones and/or surgery.

Photo by Liz Henry

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