In my last post I mentioned the other big finding in Dan Gilbert’s work: that people only get that satisfaction if they think the choice is final. When they knew they could change their minds about the painting, they were less happy with it. This explains a lot about the way decisions and commitments are made. If you’ve made a very difficult choice that affects every aspect of your life, like marriage, a job or a child, you’re going to have mixed feelings about it, and from time to time feel a desire to change your choice. The easier it is to make that change, the more time you’ll spend thinking about it, and the less time you’ll spend adapting to the choice you made. In the end that means more satisfaction.
The implications for “transition optional” transgender people are clear: we will have difficulty making peace with our choices unless we’ve ruled out the other choices. This makes it easier to understand the origins of transgender dogma. If you believe that it’s your destiny to live as a woman no matter how many people insist you’re a man, you’re going to think less about the choice you’ve already made. On the other hand, if you believe that you’re “just a crossdresser,” you’ll be less likely to think maybe you should transition after all.
The result is that we get a lot of people claiming to be “transition or die” or “transition and be miserable” when in fact we’re transition optional. We do this for our own sanity, our own peace of mind. But that doesn’t mean it’s without problems.