With the documentary Transgender Kids: Who knows best? being broadcast today and a record number of children with transgender feelings referred to the NHS questions are asked about transitioning:
Are doctors and psychologists too quick with their diagnoses (some people reported that it took only one visit to be put on hormones)? Are all people that feel wrong about their identity trans? Are four-year-olds too young to know their real identity?
All legit questions, but there is another one that should be asked: What to do if you are halfway through or finished with transitioning and you change your mind?
This is an important question and it is heard more and more with groups of de-transitioning people appearing all around the internet.
This is something the new transgender community would rather not talk about, understandable: they are getting their voice out at last and do not want people to doubt their validity.
But it is important, especially right now and should not be silenced.
Last night Rebekah Shelton (aka Rodrigo Lopez from Big Brother) spoke about having doubts about her transition. She deleted the tearful videos later, but it was rather worrying: if the Heat generation’s transgender poster child had doubts after completion, maybe no-one should move to fast.
I myself doubted my gender a lot the past few years and even told everyone I knew I was transgender after a doctor told me I had to be as I doubted so much. A few months later I regretted it only to start doubting myself all over a year or two later.
Self-searching revealed I suffered from internalised misogyny caused by trauma in my past and years of trying to make it as a stand- up comedian amongst other reasons.
“Women just aren’t funny, so why would you want to go into comedy?”
“You should just stay home and write cute kid poems, the comedy world just isn’t for girls.”
Just a few of the things I was told every day when I worked as a stand-up comic in the late 1990s, early ’00s.
The last one came from quite a famous comic back in the day. Almost every day I was told that women could not be funny. Almost every day I was asked what I was thinking: why would I, a mere women want to go into comedy?
Over the years I started internalising it, begun to wonder if it was true: maybe I wasn’t funny, maybe I didn’t have what it took. Because … I wasn’t a man and things got worse from there. This is what happens to a lot of girls: they feel they aren’t good enough and should change everything – including their gender to belong, to be taken seriously.
With men it’s the reverse: men shouldn’t cry, should be tough, macho – even in certain parts of the LGB there is no room for the camp, feminine makeup wearing male any-more. So they think they have to change their gender to be who they are. This is so wrong.
People should not have to go through painful operations and a lifetime of medication simply because they want to do things that society dictates as being masculine of feminine.
Trans identity is wonderful – IF it is how you truly feel, but think about it long and hard for months, years and then discuss it with psychologists at least five times. If you do it simply because you are seduced by others on the internet and think it could fill a hole inside yourself or because you think you simply aren’t good enough the way you are then don’t do it.
You can do anything you want as a girl or a boy: our clothes, our attractions our likes and dislikes do not dictate our gender. If you like to wear pants then great, if you want to wear pink skirts then great.
Whether you’re a boy or a girl it doesn’t matter: you can do both!!
If you want to drive a truck, great, or if you want to be a ballerina great: you can do both.
If you’re a boy who loves boys or a girl who loves girls: don’t change your body because of that. Gay and Lesbian are still valid options too and it’s worrying that these days parents would think transgender before that.
It is sad that we feel the need to box people in like that and in many ways rather regressive no matter how progressive some people may think it is. Thinking your son is a girl because he happens to like pink toys or your daughter is a boy because she plays with a truck is old fashioned.
Let them live, let them play and see how they feel once they’re older. Don’t start questioning them or put thoughts in their heads, they have to figure things out for themselves.
Only when we feel we can do what we want without having to change our entire body and identity we’ll know true freedom and equality.
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Dannii Cohen is a stand-up comedian (drag name Divine Varod) and comedy writer turned author, psychologist, professional counselor, life coach and self-help expert. Specialized in LGBT issues, anxiety, empowerment, children’s issues and bullying.
Published works include children’s books about childhood depression and the importance of being yourself (When Clouds Hide The Sun and Christopher the Lonely Bear) and an easy to use self help manual 50 Things To Know To Have A Better Life: Self-Improvement Made Easy.