Being trans involves living your life, but with more questions,
unusual situations and new thoughts than the average person.
One question people frequently ask is: Why are we trans? Many
transwomen will tell you the theory of the trickling hormone wash. You
see, female is the default gender for the fetus. We all begin as
female fetuses. To make a male fetus, there must be a heavy
testosterone wash to masculinize the fetus. However, if there is just
a trickle, the theory says that the fetus remains mostly female and
the result is a transgender female. This may be an acceptable theory
for people who are born female in male bodies, but how does it work
for people who are born male in female bodies? I’ve never heard of any
medical theory explaining how they came to be. It’s my opinion that we
are just simply male spirits born in female bodies or female spirits
born in male bodies. I realize that it’s a non-medical reason, but to
me it makes the most sense and it covers both genders.
When telling our life stories at an outreach program, many transpeople
will tell you how they lost friends, family members and even their
jobs when they transitioned to their true gender. The inquisitive
person might ask: If everything has gone wrong in our lives, did we
ever think of transitioning back to our birth gender? I believe most
would say we would not. Why not? The reason I give is because of the
wonderful peace that I now feel. I’ve never felt this peace before,
and now I do. You might ask me if it is worth it to lose friends,
family and a job and I will agree that the cost is very high, but it
is worth it to find peace in your being. What is really troubling is
the fact that some of your friends, family members and employers
cannot or will not share the joy of your peace. You may become
excluded from their lives. Yes, even family members may shun you. Some
folks might reason that we are selfish for becoming someone who they
don’t approve of and as a result of our transition, relationships with
family and friends are broken. I question who the selfish one might
really be. Is it us for being who we truly are, or them for wanting us
to return to being who we were? It’s a stalemate situation and the
only thing you as a transperson can really do is wait and hope that
someday they’ll change their minds.
We get questions about our genitals. Some transpeople may be happy to
tell you all about theirs, but I feel that this is a private matter
that is really not up for discussion. When someone does ask me about
my genitals, I ask them nicely if they would like to talk about their
genitals. That’s usually the end of that conversation.
Another question we get is about whether we like men or women. I will
answer that I like men, and folks are fine with that response.
However, many transwomen will answer that they like women, leaving the
person asking the question puzzled and with more questions. They might
ask: “If you like women, then why did you change into a woman? Why
didn’t you stay a man?” These folks are obviously trying to relate to
the heteronormative model of one man and one woman, and when they hear
that transwomen like women they have a hard time understanding that
concept. The transwomen then might state that they are lesbians, and
the resulting looks are first of puzzlement but then of understanding.
It’s a quick learning curve. It may set them back a bit when I say
that since I like men, I am straight. At first they may want to call
me gay, but then the wheels turn and the reasoning sinks in.
These are just a few examples of how different the life of a
transperson may be. The questions and the situations are thought
provoking. I’ve often said that transgender thought is a new type of
thought. Things that you may have always taken for granted are
suddenly in question. It’s a whole new way of looking at things.
*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a local transwoman who has three grown
children and works at 3M. She can be contacted at