Is Gender Reassignment a Form of Self-Harm?

Changing your gender seems such a fantastical solution to existential angst, likely to cause more than it ameliorates, for it demands rejecting your own body. But the body, including the physical, bio-chemical substance of the brain, is not a vessel of inert clay that merely contains the true, spiritual you. The body is the primary cause, and the most fundamental and dynamic part, of who you are: where and how you are located; how you are perceived and treated and how you respond to that; how you sense and mediate your world; how you think and how you develop.

To deny it is to enact the most profound betrayal of your own identity. To interfere with it by feeding it altering drugs and hormones, or through invasive surgery, is to brutalise and torture yourself in order to perform an artificial caricature of a gender you can never truly attain. And this must be the most profoundly alienating denial of your own identity of all.

Stonewall (Stonewall.org.uk) report that over 48% of Trans people in Britain have attempted suicide, and 84% have thought about it, while 55% have been diagnosed with depression at some time. (Although these figures are quite old: 2012 & 2014, and the sample sizes are small.) There is no doubt that the appalling discrimination, hatred and even violence trans people experience must be largely to blame for this. But it must be relevant that people looking for gender solutions to their problems are not in a happy place, and gender reassignment isn’t providing many with the fulfilment they seek.

Having said that, there are now a small number of girls, at my school, who have opted not to dress or act in a traditionally feminine way. They are keeping themselves aloof from the conversations about gender and sexuality, but they aren’t denying their womanhood. Largely, they seem to be left alone to do so, although they tend to be solitary and troubled souls. If the more extreme, pioneering trans activists have opened this space for them, then they have done a good thing, but at what cost to themselves?

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