Apologies for another lecture, but I’ve been doing training today so my brain is in that mode.
This particular post was sparked by something I saw online today. Someone, I’m pretty sure a cis person, was stating authoritatively that gender identity is fixed by the age of three. I think they were trying to be helpful, trying to say that trans people can’t be “cured”, but it is more complicated than that.
Personally I can’t date knowing that I was trans further back than starting school. I didn’t have much to go on. There were no girls my age near where I lived. We’d only just got a TV. I’d been pretty much on my own. Even so, all that I knew when I started school was that there was something wrong.
I have a friend who didn’t realize that he was trans until he started puberty. I have another who didn’t realize that she was trans until she was middle-aged. Both have since undergone significant medical treatment. They are no less trans than I am. I also know people who have elected not to have medical treatment, but have transitioned socially. They too are trans.
The idea that there are simple and definitive diagnostic tests for being trans was one of the things that held me back from transitioning for around 20 years. I read a lot, and I wasn’t certain that I’d be accepted as a patient, or indeed that transition was right for me. Nowadays we’d say that I was Questioning, but kids these days get to experiment, without having to make irreversible decisions about their lives, which is good.
Insistence on a simple, diagnostic test also plays into the TERF myth that anyone who starts a transition process, and either decides to stop at being non-binary, or back out to their assigned gender, was somehow “misdiagnosed” and has been forced into transition by pro-trans fanatics. Many people need to experiment, and the purpose of treatment should be to find what works for the patient, not to force everyone to follow a particular path. (And certainly not to force people into roles that reinforce the gender binary, unless those roles are what they are comfortable in.)
I know that “it’s complicated” isn’t an easy thing to explain. People tend to prefer easy answers. But sometimes it is an important thing to explain.