Is it worth it?  Worth it for who?  Me?

Probably, but I can't say for certain.

I don't have the perspective yet to answer.  I wouldn't feel right answering until "it" is long past, which won't be for a while.

So far it's cost me $50,000, my relationships with my family are extremely strained, I'm in the middle of a legal battle with my ex-spouse to stay in my children's lives, and I'm currently in no-woman's-land as far as friendships are concerned.  In 5 years, when I look back, will I view all this as being worth it?

I'm as sure as I can be, but I can't say for certain.

Is it worth it for you? I don't know.

It's worth it if you are one of the extremely few number of people who have gender dysphoria to the degree that requires transition.  If you're not one of those very rare birds, for me to tell you that it's worth it might, despite my best intentions, end up hurting instead of helping.

So be cautious.

This isn't like being gay or lesbian, you know?  If you're gay, you know it well before the journey starts.  If you're transsexual, you can only be "sure" to a certain degree before embarking on the journey.

So be cautious.

I don't want you to end up like Charles Kane, or worse yet, Mike Penner.

Is it worth it for you? I don't know.

The only person who can answer that question is you, and the only way that question can be answered is by walking the path.  And the only way to start walking the path is to take one small step, and see if it feels comfortable.  If so, take another when you're ready.

Be cautious.

And someday, you'll know.

31 comments:

Faline, you're dead on the money! Anyone who "thinks" they "might be transsexual" and is "considering" transition should run to their nearest therapist and spend however much it takes to find peace in their life as a male! This is not a journey for the feint of heart and if you're not willing to pay the unimaginably huge price, AND do the work, you're going to wind up in a twilght zone that is far far worse than the dysphoria ever was!

I want to scream everytime I read the accounts of someone deep into the pink fog who is holding onto their male privilege with a death grip....and yet thinks life is going to be oh so much better... "as a girl"

Oh well... the voice of a lone woman who"s been there done that never seems to trump the feel good corps... so, cavet emptor and good luck!

Well said. Not pessimistic, but definitely realistic. Changing sex leaves no aspect of your life untouched. "Deadly serious" is not too strong a term.

A totally pointless question (in relation to changing sex) if ever I've heard one.

Is it worth it?.... Worth what? Worth NOT killing yourself for?... I agree, only one way to find out.

Well, I don't know that I'd say it quite that strongly, Abby, but your point is well taken. I suppose if one is transsexual and she values her own life, it's a moot question. :)

I do think that there are too many people rushing headfirst into transition, and while the "community" can be a place of great support, it can also be a place of great enablement (if that's even a word).

I THINK I understood the point you where trying to make (but I could be wrong, I often misinterpret things) however, to may way of thinking, the question "is it worth it?" implies that there is some "choice" in all this, and that is certainly not my experience, aside from the one I outlined previously (not to kill yourself).

If you can CHOOSE to be a woman/female then you ain't. Women are born, not made.

I too think the site sends mixed/the wrong message.

Hope you're well.

Yeah, something along those lines. The question I asked myself before transition wasn't so much "is it worth it?" but "is this possible?" It seemed like an impossible thing at the time. I never thought in terms of would this be worth it. Of course it would. I'd be myself. There's no other way to exist.

Is it possible?, is another pointless one for me, still don't know if it is, whatever "it" is but that doesn't change anything does it, I'm still here, still working at it.

It's a NEED, nothing more, if you NEED it, you'll do it. Same with SRS, no CHOICE involved, nothing Exciting or joyous about the idea of that for me, just NECCECESSARY.

As for "community", what community? I've received compassion and help from a few INDIVIDUALS that are simply decent people who have been where I am, but I've never really experienced this community, pretty sure I don't want to Iether.

Community of what? "others" "different" not interested thank you.

Since we are quibbling with words, I must take offense to your mutilation of the word "necessary."

:P

But seriously. To whom are you trying to prove that you're really transsexual? I get that sense from you sometimes. You reiterate the sort of thing in your last comment a little too much.

Everyone!! Duh!!

I need everyone here (none of whom would know me if they walked past me in the street) to know I am, and that what I think matters. ;-)

If you all don't validate me then I must not be TS, and I dont know if I could handle that.

ROFLMAO!!

God love it! Why it seems that both of y'all have a sense of humor about this! Well shucks! That alone is a gonna get ya banished from "the community" so ifn' ya can't stay in the ghetto with the rest of the trans-folk-people-whatevers then I guess really you don't got no choice now but to succeed!

Gosh darn I'm so sorry about that! I reckon that means poor ol' Donna Rose is going to have to go it alone at all those conventions without your out and proud trans support!

Darn!

Abby... I dunno. If one has a penis and she shouldn't, the day it's gone I would expect to be a joyful day. There's nothing wrong with saying that one gets joy at certain points, to varying extents, as she transitions. I hope that there is something joyful about your transition to you. Mine, while difficult, has brought me many moments of joy.

I guess we'll see when that day comes huh. I was talking more about the idea of that, the thought of SRS, nothing really fascinates me about it, (that might change) but I kinda expect that the day after SRS, I'll wake up and (to my own surprise ;-)) still be me.

As for joys, thus far, not one. Lots of hurt, pain and most of all a lot of hard work, but as yet, I can't really recall any joy, the whole thing has sucked.

Sorry, to clarify, I agree, there's nothing wrong with sharing joys if you have them, you certainly should, I just haven't really had any that I would consider to be worth recounting. (not trying to sound negative, that's just the way it's been for me).

@ Faline,
Most of the women I know, self included, seem to think it kinda anti climactic... more like when that backed up traffic you were stuck in for hours starts to move and you go "Finally!" They wheel you in, you go to sleep and when you wake up and it's over!

@ Abby,
There is a reason I use the term the blood price when I talk about going the distance on this as it is a lot of pain and it is a hell of a lot of hard work and yes it does seem like the pay day will never come... but remember dear, just keep on putting one foot in front of the other and keep at it and you will get there! Honest!

Fair enough, Abby.

Abby and Miz... Perhaps "relief" after SRS might be a better descriptor than "joy." I think that it's a lot more likely that I'll feel relieved.

THAT is what I DO expect it'll be like, a relief.

Interesting conversation! I agree that the question is it worth it is the wrong question. Does it have to be done is more appropriate in my view. Anyone professing and expecting to be cured of their personal ailments as a human being probably should have not done it. Maybe "overcoming" is the right word.

Oh and Miz, that's all you can do huh! One foot in front of the other ;-)
 

“Is it worth it?” I’ve asked myself this question countless times. But what is really the definition of “worth it”?

I also ask myself, “what would be the alternative?” Looking back and projecting an imaginary path of my life without transitioning… where would I be now?

Would I be happier? Most likely not. Do I want to go back, if I could? Never ever.

So, yes, for me, it’s absolutely worth it, because my path now has a future.

Hi Kathryn... yes... and perhaps "does it have to be done" should be the only question. The comments on this blog have made me think, which is very cool. The more I think about it, it's never even crossed my mind to wonder if this is worth it either before or after transition. I go back and read my blog entry, and it seems like it should have been a different entry.

But!

That entry came out among all the comments here. Very nice.

Looking back and projecting an imaginary path of my life without transitioning… where would I be now?... So yes, for me, it's absolutely worth it, because my path now has a future." - Wise words, Anni. And showing that people can have a future is one of the main reasons for the site. (I have friends and acquaintances who either tried or committed suicide.) No, the mission statement is not perfect. There obviously are ways that the "it" part can be misinterpreted, but the fact that everyone who has transitioned has a story to share tells me to keep moving this forward. No, this path is not easy. Being who you are is not a choice, but we do indeed make the choice to live as our authentic selves, come hell or high water. The bravery comes from the many who despite the worst circumstances managed to survive, and not only that, but to thrive. Hopefully these stories reveal just that.
But I can't sit back and do nothing. Not any longer. The initial idea may have its flaws, but the consequences of doing nothing to help are far worse. So the "it" part is indeed much more about showing people that life is worth it, especially one where your "Path now has a future."
Thanks for your honest opinion, Faline.

Glad you commented, Lori, and I'm glad my blog wasn't interpreted as some sort of attack. I tried to be careful with my words in this one. :) We agree that it's a good thing to have a place where people can read/watch synopses of others' journeys.

I like your sentiment of "life is worth it." For many of us, as for the friends/acquaintances you mentioned in your comment, this is a matter of life or death. And yes, my life, and yours, and everyone's, is worth the temporary pains of transition. *That* is something I can answer today.

A lot of back and forth here...

But for me the question is as Lori addressed it. The fact is that the suicide (or attempted) rate among Trans identified people is higher than it should be. Having seen people spiral down...having spiraled down myself...there sometimes seems to be no good reason to continue and no ability to believe that life can get better because this life can suck pretty bad. So I participated in the It's Worth It Project because doing this was and is the hardest thing I have ever done and while I have not lost what others have, I questioned what it would do to my life a lot. I even ran to my therapist as Miz advised and tried to find peace as a male and it was not there, no matter how much I spent or cried.

And for those who say it is not a choice, that's wrong. This is a choice. Everything in life is a choice. We who do this choose to do this because the other options are untenable. We choose a better life over suicide. We choose a better life over years of pain, often drowned in alcohol, drugs and dangerous living. We choose the best possible path out of a nightmare. The larger majority, the ones we never hear from or the ones that some of us who have worked with at risk folks have, they will often choose the less positive path.

Is transitioning worth it? Yeah. I would not change the decision to move forward in my life. I don't think you would either, Faline.

xoxo

I'll add some back. Or maybe forth. :)

For me, was changing sex [sic] worth the price? Clearly yes. At least it's clear to me, and to those closest to me. I had to do it, because I could no longer live in that body, no matter how much I changed my behaviour, no matter how hard I tried to avoid reality. And I was fortunate enough to have a lot of things going for me. My post-transsexual life is very good.

I think life is always worth living, but maybe that's easy for me to say. And change of sex is the right treatment for those who were born transsexual. But even among them, there are some for whom the price is too high. And there are some for whom the chances of success are slim.

There are people who commit suicide without changing sex. Fear, confusion, depression win the day. There are people who commit suicide after they have made the change, for any number of reasons -- it wasn't the right treatment, life is worse after, it was the right treatment but there were other issues. I imagine accurate statistics would be hard to come by, but it would be interesting and enlightening to know how many take their lives before, without making the leap, versus those who take their lives after having made the leap -- or in the midst of doing so.

Tasha, just about anyone who says "X is wrong," is wrong. :)

Call it a choice all you like. My ex-spouse would agree with you, although I realize that she is coming from a different direction on this than you are. At the end of the day, though, both of you ultimately assert that "live? or die?" is a choice. The folks over at suicide.org certainly wouldn't.

"every time an ignorant person makes the statement that "people choose to die by suicide" the stigma of suicide is perpetuated.... the people who do not understand these basic, irrefutable truths about suicide are part of a serious problem -- and that problem is ignorance. And, unbelievably, many psychologists, psychiatrists, suicidologists, and members of the clergy are part of this problem -- and thus they actually perpetuate stigma instead of fighting it! So, don't be part of the problem. Share your understanding about suicide with others, and help combat this ignorance."

The question "was it worth it to stay alive" is one which neither comes to mind nor ever will. The answer to the question is so obvious that to ask it borders on the absurd. The fact that transitioning is a bazillion times more difficult than, say, choosing to give a mugger $1000 at gunpoint, and that either the gun is one's own hand, or the death takes place over the course of years, doesn't make the logic pattern any different.

I am reading some good thoughts here. I agree with Faline, sucide is NOT a VIABLE. To offer DEATH as a choice is pure arrogant sophistry.

Sacrificing one's life, for a greater good is not suicide. THAT is a "choice", albeit an extremely difficult one.

"Choosing" to undergo a risky, painful, difficult medical procedure in order to save one's own life is NOT a choice unless one codsiders suicide a choice. AGAIN...IMHO, to codsider suicide a choice is pure arrogant sophistry.

Anne
anna-es-asi.blogspot.com

BTW, Faline. This sthe massage I get when I try posting usingmy google ID...

"Your current account (msanniero@gmail.com) does not have access to view this page.

Click here to logout and change accounts."

Anne

Anne - of course suicide is not a viable option. And you may think me an arrogant Sophist, but I only speak from experience in this regard and having been in that frame of mind where all hope seemed lost and life did not seem livable, I still ultimately made a choice to live a little longer. Over and again. Some people commit suicide because of chemical imbalances or any other number of reasons that are not in their control. Some people who do it are on the precipice of despair and how they continue will affect what they do.

If someone can be talked off the ledge, they make the choice not to jump. If something I can say to someone can affect that choice, I will do so with all my heart.

xoxo

Frickin' brilliant post. Thank you for writing this!

Very good point. There are always extreme posts about the positive and negative sides of transition and whether you should or shouldn't, etc etc etc. I think I've touched on a lot of aspects of them throughout my journey and yet if someone only read certain posts, they might not get the whole message.

That's the bad thing about a blog. Not many people are going to read every single entry of 2 years of blog posts. =/

I agree that not many people are going to read every single entry. Then again, not many people ought to transition. In fact, that number's probably lower than that first number.

I know that I read every entry of three-and-half-years of the blog that help jump-start my transition. I couldn't stop reading, once I started. I had certainly read synopses of people's transitions, but none of them ever inspired me to the extent that reading Suzanne's blog did.

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