The author, Chris Tina Bruce said,
A word often leveled against transgender people is "selfish" -- selfish for desiring to change our appearance through medical means in order to more closely align our physical appearance with our self-identification of gender. Webster's dictionary defines "selfish" as "concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others." By definition, the transition process is then a selfish act, although being transgender is not inherently selfish. A case could be made that people who smoke, eat fast food, drink alcohol, take recreational drugs, or even lie around the house every day watching television are also being selfish. These actions diminish health and life expectancy, thereby depriving family and friends of a longer, happier, and healthier life with the person indulging in them.I do not agree with her when she said that “By definition, the transition process is then a selfish act” for many it is literately a choice of life or death. Also should you deny your true self, should you live a life of a lie just to please others? Many of us have spent a lifetime of fighting ourselves; denying our true self until it starts to affect our health. For me, the intern stress was building up to a point where I was having panic attacks 3 or 4 times a year; once I transitioned they went away. The only panic attack that I had since I transitioned back in 2007 was last May when I was written my Capstone paper and worrying about graduation.
Many trans-people fight their trans-ness thinking that they can stop at any time; all it will take is to meet the right person. They think once they get married all this will go away or if I have children I will be become straight. We actually go on purges where we throughout all our clothes and vow never to crossdress again (Never usually lasted for me only a few months.). I grew a beard, but that didn’t stop my desire to be my true self, that felling of wrongness was still there. For those that married, they eventually find out that they still have those feelings and they now have only three choices; they can stay married and lead a life of misery, they can transition or they can end it all. Yes, it is choice to transition, but the alternatives leave little choice, it almost becomes a “Hobson’s Choice.” So are we being selfish?
Also consider that it is really society that put them into this dilemma by the stigma that is tied with being transgender. You feel shame. You feel that you’ll let your family down and that you will lose them if they ever found out that you are trans. You fear the discrimination. You fear the isolation. So you hide in the closet, you deny your feeling, you deny you true self. Your self-esteem and your self-acceptance all go out the window and you start going into the depression spiral. So are we being selfish? Or is it self-preservation?
When I apply to the graduate program at the UConn School of Social Work, I had to write a personal statement, In part I wrote
Before I came out, I lived in fear and shame. I was afraid that someone would find out about my great secret and my self-worth suffered accordingly. In coming out, I leaned self-acceptance and in gaining this acceptance came empowerment. This has become a valuable tool in which to help others. Self-acceptance allows one to not only believe in themselves but that all things are possible – even social change and social justice. I think the Reverend Jesse Jackson said it best in his poem “I am Somebody”-- we are all somebody and we can never forget that.