It’s time to talk.
It’s time to talk about some things which haven’t talked about much yet, at least in an open and candid fashion. I have a lot to discuss. I have a lot of questions. The things I want to talk about are difficult and may be difficult or impossible to answer. But before we talk, let me introduce myself.
I’m not going to give you my name right now, (for reasons I’ll discuss later), but you can call me Capricornus. It’s tough to contain a person in a few sentences, so I’m going to give you some details that are pertinent to what I hope to discuss so you can know where I’m coming from.
First and foremost, I’m a spiritual, inquisitive person. I believe in a God and in the existence and divinity of Jesus Christ. I believe in absolute morality and seek to live my life and make choices in the best, most correct way possible. I believe that I existed before I was born here on earth, and I believe that I will continue to exist after my body dies. More than anything, I want to please God. I believe I’m here on earth experiencing mortality to learn and be tested. I absolutely want to do my very best on this ‘test.’ I want to do the best I can here and learn as much as possible.
In addition, I am Mormon. I was born and raised an active Latter-Day Saint and I continue to participate actively in the religion. It has had an undoubtedly profound impact on my life. I subscribe fully to the foundational tenets of the faith – such as the fact that I am a child of God, that He loves me, that He has a plan for us, and that Christ was pivotal in this plan with His sacrifice, preparing the way for me to succeed in my test. But to be frank, while I love this church, some aspects of current doctrine and Mormon culture are very distressing for me. These concerns will be discussed more in forthcoming posts.
Another important aspect of who I am concerns gender, for I experience gender dysphoria. This is defined as a significant disconnection or discontent from one’s anatomical gender or associated gender roles. This condition is also known as Gender Identity Disorder (GID), and is called such by the American Psychiatric Association (the APA) in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). I prefer to not use this label as I don’t feel ‘disordered’, but I understand that this situation isn’t widely experienced, little known, and very easily misunderstood. I discuss these and related terms and what they mean in more definition here.
My body is unquestionably male. Yet, it feels wrong to me – I wish that my body were female. This isn’t to say I hate my body, rather, I am grateful for it and am able to do many great things because of it. But its gender and some of society’s expectations based on that feel wrong to me. In spite of this, I have elected to not do anything to try to remedy this disconnection I feel by changing my body. I have not and do not intend to pursue any hormonal or surgical procedures to attempt to make my body seem like it fits better. I have a few reasons for this choice, and I’ll go into this in more depth later on.
What else? I’m in my early 30’s. I am married and have been for nearly ten years. I am solely attracted to women and love my wife dearly. You can call her Andromeda here. She didn’t know about my gender dysphoria when we got married and I didn’t ‘formally’ reveal it to her until two years ago. It nearly broke our marriage apart but fortunately we’re still together. I have five children from elementary school age to toddlers. I love my wife and kids – they are a huge source of happiness in my life. I work in the arts and love my employment. I was born and raised in Utah, went to college at various universities out of state, and have recently returned to my home state.
And that’s that.
I’ve been living with gender dysphoria my whole life. I went over 30 years without telling anyone about it. It was (and still is) very hard. I was afraid to talk about it. It’s still hard to talk about, even with the decreased vulnerability that comes from internet anonymity My religion and culture’s strongly conservative gender roles and expectations complicated the matter. There was (and still is) next to nothing that the LDS church says regarding gender dysphoria. This needs to change – there is no reason I should have felt so alone, lost, and hopeless in this regard for those 30 years.
I know there are other faithful, truth-seeking individuals out there who feel as I feel. I want to reach out to them. I also want to reach out to people who have never had a second thought about their gender so that they can understand. I want the world to be a more informed and understanding place. I want to understand myself and my situation better. I don’t seem to ‘fit’ and I’d like to know what I’m supposed to do about that. I want to know what hope I can have for peace in this life and the eternities that follow.
That’s why I’m writing. That’s why it’s time to talk.