“As trans people become more visible, our stories have narrowed into a neat narrative arc: born in the wrong body, pushed to the brink of suicide/sanity/society, the agonized decision to begin hormone treatment/surgeries for the reward of ending up ourselves and looking “normal,” which ends in a lesson about the tenacity of the human spirit, triumph of believing in yourself.”
This “traditional” narrative is false for many (perhaps most) trans* people, including myself. But our, and their, stories aren’t typically told. Everyone’s transition story is markedly different, and I’d like our readers to understand that. So I hope that this article becomes widely shared, and deeply thought about.
The pervasiveness of the “traditional” narrative has health care implications for trans* persons. For example, doctors and mental health professionals (who are the primary gatekeepers to medical interventions) are often misinformed and expect to have patients tell them the “traditional narrative.” When the trans person tells an alternative narrative, “red flags” are raised. (Indeed, this happened in my case.) Many trans* persons are denied care and turned away form gender clinics for not being a “true transsexual” or not being “trans* enough.”
By increasing the visibility of narratives outside of the narrow “traditional” narrative, perhaps we can move a big step forward towards understanding trans* people.