Articles / Feelings

I tried to be cured

There have been several times in my life when my transgender desire – my desire to be a woman, even though I was raised to be a man, with a man’s body – has gotten less intense, less frequent, to the point that I thought it might be gone for good.

I was tremendously relieved. I didn’t want to be a transvestite. I didn’t want a closetful of clothes that could get me mocked and rejected. I didn’t want to look into my mom’s eyes and see nothing but worry and pity. I didn’t want to harbor a secret that could get me blackmailed.

Twice I purged. I threw away all the women’s clothes I had collected, painstakingly, sometimes illegally, over the course of years. I put my past out of my mind. I no longer had anything to hide. That part of my life was over.

But that part of my life was not over. What I eventually discovered was that my transgender desires come and go with my gender dysphoria – my discomfort with my life as a man. When I feel satisfied with my life as a man, my desire to be a woman diminishes. I will not feel completely satisfied with my life, every day until I die. And when I am feeling particularly dissatisfied, life as a woman will seem like a great escape.

Life as a woman certainly seemed like a great escape when I was twelve. Of course it isn’t, I know that now. I learned from listening to women, and a few fleeting, incomplete experiences of living as a woman were enough to drive the point home. But when I’m feeling trapped and hopeless, the dysphoria returns.

As I’ve said before, I don’t think the dysphoria always gets worse. But it does come back, and with it comes the desire to be a woman, to look like a woman, to dress like a woman. That’s what happened to me after the two times I purged.

That, in turn, is why I don’t purge any more, and why I don’t ever believe I’ll be “cured.” If I did purge, I might enjoy some extra closet space for a while, but soon enough I would wind up paying again for expensive clothes and makeup.

I actually wouldn’t mind a cure for the trans feelings. None of them are very pleasant, even the euphoric post-event gratification. I’m not one of those people who think being trans is a gift. But I just don’t see it happening. Some day we may figure out how to prevent it, but I doubt we’ll be able to cure it.

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  1. Dear Andrea,

    I just found your blog very recently and I’m so glad I did. Your writing is excellent, insightful, and you show a real tenderness that I greatly appreciate.

    I have also wished I could be cured of my transgender-ness. All these years I’ve lived my secret, shame, and dismay with myself. But I agree that it’s a part of me.

    Recently I’ve really started learning so much more from people like you. I now know that whatever it is, I was born this way, and that’s okay. And as I explore myself our TG community more, I’m not sure I’d take the cure if one was offered. I’m loving myself and my life these days more and more.



  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with the world. It means a lot for me to have found your blog.

    When writing about difficult to process and analyze feelings, some writers are just not able to make a connection with their audience. This is not the case here.

    Thank you for taking something too heavy for many of us talk about openly and making it accessible, relatable (no matter who you are), and clever.

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