Why I Won’t Transition

Photo by Rayne's Avante-Garde
Article By E.S. Wynn

For some, the very existence of this article may be seen as inflammatory. I want to take a moment to state right here, right now that I'm not writing this article to shame anyone or try to dissuade anyone from pursuing the highest realization of their physical and emotional self. I feel that I have expressed many times in previous articles how proud I am of those who choose to medically, socially and legally transition. It's a huge process, and for many who undergo it, very necessary.

It is important to remember, however, that transgender is an umbrella term. It's a spectrum, and just as there are those who will choose to adjust their physical form to match their internal identity, so there will also be those who will choose not to. This article's purpose is to shed light on the reasons why just one trans individual has made the decision not to transition at all, despite the incongruities between my inner sense of my gender and my outer physical sexual characteristics.


Family is very important to me. I'm very proud of my ancestors and I'm proud to share the same DNA as them. For as far back as I can remember, I've wanted to carry on the family line, to continue my physical lineage on into the next generation and share the legacy that I am so proud of. I'm not adverse to adoption. I think it's very noble, and if I was given a choice between adopting and not having children at all, I would certainly choose adoption in a heartbeat. I am proud of my ancestors, of who they were and of all that they accomplished during their lives, and I want to continue the legacy we've all been building, if I can, as completely as possible.

One of the problems with transitioning medically is that it can render you infertile. This isn't a problem if you adopt, but if you plan on having children that you are biologically related to, it gives you something to consider. Going all the way with your medical transition can also (for some) mean genital reconfiguration, and since we haven't reached a place yet where such a reconfiguration could be so complete that someone like me could become pregnant and carry a child to term, the desire to procreate outweighs (for me) the desire to bring my outsides as closely into alignment with my insides as possible. And man, if I could take on the pain and struggle of pregnancy for my partner, I’d do it in a heartbeat just for the opportunity to experience the creation of life.

Advantages of Being Male:

Even when I spend hours preparing (emotionally and physically) to go out into public with the aim of being seen as a woman physically, I don’t pass. My body is very male, and it’s very obvious to the people who see me that I’m not a woman biologically. As a man, I have been told that I am good-looking, that I am very masculine-appearing. I’ve got a good solid jawline, good musculature, a man’s nose and I’m six foot, four inches tall. To “fix” all of that with surgery, (if that’s even possible) would cost a mint, and if I’m going to spend a mint on something, I’d rather spend it on land I can farm, on board games and the materials I need to make more bitchin’ battle jackets.

So when I look at myself in the mirror, I take a moment to really consider the physical form I’m in. Yeah, my first reaction is almost always “what the hell? Who is that?” but it passes. Like an old familiar ghost I’ve worked to become comfortable with, I’ve learned to accept that the dude in the mirror really is the body I’ve been born into. Instead of looking at it and hating all the aspects that are masculine, I try to turn it around and see the value in what I have. I look at this body and think “well, it’s not so bad as far as male bodies go.” Sometimes I look at my physical form and can almost convince myself that I’ve won the genetic lottery, as far as male bodies go. I try to see the advantages, the benefits that my physical form gives me.

One of those benefits is the ability to walk around nearly naked without being hauled off to jail for having my chest exposed. Another is the effect that a strong, deep voice has when used to shock people (for self-defense) and the fact that my partner really digs this body. Male genitalia have all kinds of useful features, and by being male, I’m immune to the oppressive beauty “standards” (makeup, plucking, eye-liner, body shaving, etc.) that most women feel they have to adhere to religiously. I don’t have to budget for the supplies for the beauty regime, and I don’t have to spend money on chest underwear that costs $20 a piece (at minimum) with the upper limit being in the hundreds of dollars per unit. Let me tell you, the worst part about breasts is that wearing an uncomfortable bra all day long really sucks, and whenever you lose or gain weight, your breasts change size and your bra can become uncomfortable. Add to that the fact that washing machines and dryers can literally eat your underwear (or cause the underwire to burrow out through the fabric enough that it stabs you in the boob) and I think you begin to realize how much being “required” by society to wear a bra really sucks.

So, long story short, I’ve learned to see the advantages that come with wearing this male body and presenting as a male, even if the gender dysphoria is there. I’ve found ways to come to peace with what I have, and even see the benefits of it, the pros instead of focusing just on the cons. There’s power in accepting who I am, and it’s a hell of a lot less expensive than dealing with all of things that are required to completely medically transition to female (I’ll get into those in the next section.)

Medications, Surgeries and Hormones:

If a doctor told me I needed surgery to survive, I'd ask for a second opinion. Unless I was bleeding out on a gurney, I'd think twice about any kind of invasive medical procedure. If a doctor told me I needed to take a medication for the rest of my life, I’d laugh in that doctor’s face and walk out. I have no interest in modifying my brain or body chemistry with medications that work “in theory” prescribed by practicing physicians who are getting kickbacks for every patient they hook to the drugstream. I’m so anti-modification (for myself, others can do what they want) that I have no interest in even getting any kind of piercing. I hate needles with a passion, and consider even shaving my face to be a frustrating chore.

Considering all that is required to transition from male to female, it just isn’t a priority for me. When it’s done completely, gender reassignment therapy for an MTF (Male to Female) requires a lot of cutting, a lot of electrolysis, a lot of medications and injections. The worst part is that once you’re on hormones, in most cases, you have to stay on them for the rest of your life (if you want to continue to benefit from their effects.) Add to that the fact that there are warnings about the dangers that long-term trans-specific medications can have on the liver (and warnings about going off of them suddenly) and it all starts to sound really dicey and full of risk (for me.) To each their own. I don’t judge. The pros of any situation, change or way of life must be weighed against the cons.) For me, as someone who eats organic as often as I can, who does everything I can to keep weird chemical shit out of my body, the benefits of transitioning medically seem small compared to the many risks and sacrifices I’d have to make. For those who need medical transitioning as a life-saving procedure (especially if they are a suicide risk,) I say, 100%, go for it. You do you, and don't let anyone's opinion (or choices) hold you back.

Spiritual Reasons:

I believe that one's relationship to the spiritual is a deeply personal part of their experience as a human being. We all have our own beliefs and experiences, things we doubt and things we seem to know innately. I think there's more going on out there than our minds are currently capable of understanding, but that's just me. Long story short, I think every person's religious or spiritual viewpoint is valid, but only for themselves. If you truly believe that your actions will send you to hell, I wouldn't be surprised if you find yourself there when you die, but that's neither here nor there. For me, the closest label I identify with is Vanatru. I don't believe in the Christian vision of hell.

So how does this shape my views on my own body in regards to gender transitioning? Well, despite the fact that there seems to be evidence that at least some of Freyja's priests were cross-dressers (maybe transgender? Who knows) I simply believe that I chose to come into this life as a male, to learn and work through dysphoria while I'm here. As I stated previously, having a male body has its advantages, and I think sometimes that one of my big spiritual life lessons is learning to see that, to see the beauty and the power in the body I have, instead of yearning for the beauty and power I'd have if I had been born female. A lot of my personal philosophies and spiritual ideas fall along similar lines, that my life is colored by lessons I can experience and work through now, or choose to address at a later date (or in another life.) Facing the problem head on and conquering it, resisting it and staying above it-- that's the approach I take toward my own gender dysphoria, toward self-judgments and worries, and even when it comes to ideas like suicide. No matter how dark the situation you're going through seems, no matter how long you have to live through it, it is still always temporary. No matter what you believe, you only get one chance to be in the body you are in right now. Enjoy it, be at peace and make the most of it, whatever that means to you. My dad has a saying: "The grass is always greener on the other side, by the sewer pond" meaning that whichever side of the fence you're on will have its own pros and cons. Only you can decide which good outweighs the bad that comes with it.

I'm Afraid

Fear is another powerful part of the human experience. It holds us back, but it also protects us. I talk big, I fight hard and I've come a long way in fighting my fears, standing up to them and throwing them off when I feel like they serve no purpose but to limit me. I've vanquished a lot of pointless and destructive fears in my life, but with each new horizon I've opened up within my own experience of reality, there have been new fears to face, new limitations to slow me and shackle me. To say I am free of fear in regards to my transgender identity would be dishonest. I have a lot of fears, and some of them influence my stance on my own body and my decision not to transition to female.

Perhaps most of all, I'm afraid of being unhappy. I'm afraid of taking that long, arduous journey between male me and female me only to find that I'm no more happy (or worse, actually less happy) than I was before the journey began. It comes down to the grass is greener idea I mentioned in the last section. I'm afraid of looking back and going "damn, I had it good. Why did I fuck that up?" I'm afraid that the disadvantages of being a transwoman would far outweigh the disadvantages of being trans without transitioning. I'm afraid of missing something, some positive thing still to come in my life if I stay male. I'm afraid of social stigma, of limiting myself and putting myself in danger by being who I am openly, of crossing a line in the sand between me as a curiosity and me as an unemployable "freak." I'm afraid of being controlled by the expectations that gender roles create within our society of what it means to be a woman, fostering the creation of a hyperfeminine me that is less honest than who I am already. I'm afraid of losing more friendships than I already have, and I know that chances are I'd be kicked out of Freemasonry and lose my loving partner as well if I underwent a full transition. What woman would love me if I crossed that line, if I became a woman to as much of a degree as is medically possible? I know I can survive without love, even thrive in my own way, but I'd rather not put myself in a situation where I'd have to face that. For me, the potential cost of becoming female in this society, in this era and at this technology level far outweighs the benefits.

As I stated in the beginning, these are simply my reasons for choosing not to transition to full time female. If you are transgender and you feel that you want or need to completely transition to the gender that you identify with, I am 100% fully in support of your decision. You do what makes you happy and what brings you toward the realization of your highest self. Don’t doubt yourself, and don’t let anyone make you feel like shit for whatever you decide is the right path for your life. Seize your individuality by the ovaries and go be the best version of you that you can be. Whatever you decide for you, you’re right, and if you start to doubt yourself, make a list of reasons why you need to stay strong. You can survive, whatever you decide. You can survive and thrive. At the very least, know that whatever course you chart for yourself, I’m proud of you. Be you in the best way that you can, whatever that means to you.

If you were moved in some way by the content of this article and you’d like to share your own experiences and decisions about gender transitioning, or would like to be interviewed so that you can share your perspectives as a trans person with the readers of this blog, please feel free to contact me through the contact form here: [link]. Make sure you have javascript enabled or the form will just display a blank page. I’d love to hear from you, and I’d love to share your perspective with our readers. Thank you!

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is my story exactly. I made the same choice. I knew from a very early age that I could go either way. My funny moment of clarity was with the realization that I can not put on make up for shit. Your honesty gives us power. Thank you for your honesty and soul searching.

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