Doubting your transness

Misha Bogart-Monteith, MA, LPC on Oct 22, 2018 in Life Transition

“When we replace the question “Am I sure I’m trans?” with the question “Based on the evidence that is available, and what my thoughts, behaviours, past and feelings suggest, what is more likely: that I’m trans or that I’m cis?” -Natalie Reed in The Null HypotheCis

You’re here because, like most non-cis, you struggle with doubt. Am I really trans? Will I always feel this way? What if I detransition? Therapists and doctors have compounded this issue by serving as gatekeepers. We require clients to prove that they are trans enough without requiring clients to supply sufficient evidence to the contrary that you are cis enough. *If your therapeutic relationship feels this way you need to address that with them and/or find another counselor.

To go a bit deeper, if you’re looking for certainty of your gender identity in order to continue or move forward with transition (defined broadly) then you are creating an impossible situation for yourself. You will always have those “what if” thoughts. Identity is a subjective experience and therefore cannot be 100% objectively verified by hard sciences. Reed elaborates:

"Maybe someday we’ll have brain scans that can analyze the parts of the brain that are “atypical” (or, as I’ve taken to saying, extraordinary) in gender variant individuals and thereby determine whether or not you have the neurological features that indicate a predisposition to transgenderism, the best it could do is determine a predisposition. Such a system could never ethically be used as a singular, definitive diagnostic tool, and given the subjectivity and self-determined nature of gender, there’d still be an abundance of “false positives” and “false negatives” (though even those concepts don’t make much sense).

Therefore, the task of defining your gender identity falls solely on you. You must learn how to navigate doubt when it arises in your mind. Be able to look it straight in the eyes and familiarize ourselves with its presence–become friends, if you will. Resistance will only cause the doubt to expand and take up more space and energy." -N.Reed

If you would like to learn more about how to develop this capacity in yourself set up an appointment with me at [email protected] and let’s get started!

Misha Bogart-Monteith is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Eugene, OR.

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