I Don’t Think It’s Simple As ‘Want’

Bruce Jenner, stepfather of the Kardashians, has spoken to American reporter, Dianne Sawyer and has confirmed that he’s transgender. Now, before I continue, I feel like I need to make a disclaimer here:I’m cis – gender and have a lack of genuine knowledge of transgender identities and what it’s like for transgender people. So, just to be clear, I’m not an expert by any means.

One thing that has struck me is the constant use of the word ‘want’. ‘If heĀ wants to be a woman, then that’s fine’. The thing is, I don’t think it’s just a matter of want. I could want to be a few inches taller, but it’s really not that big of deal. I could want to have toast for breakfast. No big deal. From what I can understand, gender is a lot more complicated than that.

In the interview, Jenner opened up about how he played with his sister’s clothes and wanted to wear them as a child. I’ve heard a story of Chaz Bono (born Chastity) saying that he felt profoundly different growing up, from both gay (he did identify as gay before he realised he was transgender) and straight peers. PeopleĀ feel it when they realise they’re different. They don’t choose ‘hey, I’m going to be a male today’. It’s something they know deep down inside, often from an early age.

Identity, I feel is largely about what is, rather than what we can choose to be. That is, I feel, particularly true with gender and sexuality. To put it bluntly, people can choose to be true to themselves, or choose to live a lie. That seems to be what it boils down to for a lot of people.

Please send your thoughts. For those who do identify as transgender, what have your experiences been like?