Is who we are really a Choice?

Whatever stage you are in in your journey, we begin to decipher if we are a "Who" or a "What"? It's a roller coaster ride that we eventually realize roller coasters travel on a a continual track that go around and around. Though we choose to get off the coaster car, we can't seem to leave the ride itself. We rationalize.

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  • No 68.49% 50 votes
  • Yes 31.51% 23 votes
  • This topic has 16 replies, 14 voices, and was last updated 2 months ago by Zenn.
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  • #661928
    Gabrielle Thomas
    Registered On: December 22, 2015
    Topics: 2
    Replies: 16
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    Dear me,

    I’m 5-days now into recovering from double hernia surgery, the last I hope of a string of maintenance surgeries. I feel like a car with a 100,000 miles on it and now all the maintenance and repairs that are due have caught up…..Wow, the last 3-months of overdue maintenance I guess, oh and add a 2-week bout of Covid to the list.  I stopped my Hormone Replacement Therapy 3-months due to the surgeries.  Okay maybe that’s my rationalized excuse.

    Yes, after decades of denial, of religious guilt, failed relationships, potential loss of family and friends, my “success”, fear, God’s wrath, and who I really am, I decided to fully accept that I was Transgender a year ago.  Though I grappled that the only life that I’ve ever known would be forever changed in every way, I started Hormones to become who I am.  The emotional roller coaster ride the hormones initially had me on was brutal, as they fought my testosterone for control of my soul. Once the Estrogen sets in at the 4-month mark, you finally realize your alignment and internal happiness.  Yes, a feeling of belonging that I have never felt before. The loss of muscle, increase fat, smooth skin, and horribly sore nipples confirm your body is not far behind your mind. 

    After this last surgery, all I can think about is the scars I may have below my belly button. I want to be able to wear a bikini and sexy underwear with confidence. The silver lining is that I lost a couple of pounds!

    Loved when I was on hormones! My weight was down to my almost girl weight and look, my body less muscular, and my soul, body, and mind was right. I was aligned with who I am.

    Hate the feeling of being off hormones.  The fight between self is back.  The noise is deafening at times as both sides of self fight for control in an all out hormonal war.  I look in the mirror and see that I don’t have absolutely any hope for resolution without being on hormones.  It will be a forever fight if I don’t go back on hormones.  I am already exhausted in the fight….again!

     I wish I could stop and just crossdress to relieve me of this unsatiable desire to be a woman. I think I can overcome my female self over and over again, I rationalize, even fool myself at times to believing I can continue to live my life as a heterosexual man. I honestly wish I can stay a “normal” man, especially for all those beautiful past love relationships I once enjoyed and eventually destructed.  My male life was a lie and it would always eventually catch up. I could quell the girl desire, albeit temporarily before the girl noise started again, before the girl fight with myself overtook my male defense. I honestly tried every trick in the book to keep the successful male lifestyle and privilege I enjoyed, even if it meant a forever fight that would lead to my eventual self destruction. Now, even though without Estrogen I am back to that ugliest of inner self fights and I am exhausted with the never-ending noise of conflict between man and woman in my brain, my body, and my soul. How could even consider, think about trying to beat this… v. woman inner self again?!  It’s been decades!!

    My girl self kicks in again for a minute and as self preservation goes, I so look forward to being back on hormones, extremely sore nipples and all. Once I get past the 4-month mark, the emotional rollercoaster settles down, as do I. What we sacrifice of ourselves for our preservation of self, for our loved ones! I ask myself if I can do it one more time? Stay “Straight”? One last chance to live in the mainstream?…. Or go back on hormones and face scrutiny and persecution for who I am?

    I loved the woman I was becoming on hormones. My loved ones, life loves me as a man. Do I choose them or I? I have a choice right now before me, Do I go back on hormones again?…. Or is this really a choice?


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    • #665543
      Registered On: April 4, 2022
      Topics: 1
      Replies: 44
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      We all have to find our way, yes it would be nice to be normal but. I like the different facets of me. The out side influences seem to be the biggest stumbling block. We all want to follow the way we have grown up with, usually date, marry, kids, home, old age death. But along comes this female from the inside, many fight her, some hug her and say lets do this together. The people on the outside don’t see her, don’t feel her, resent her when we follow her lead for our life.

      There is a thing I call the new normal, every day is a new normal, sometimes it takes a microscope to see differences from yesterdays new normal, other days there has been an earthquake and much has changed, sometimes for the better sometimes worse. A lot of times these earthquakes are very much out of our control.

      I’ve been married 30+ years, I am not the same person I was 30 years ago, my wife is not the same person from 30 years ago either. I can see a trail in the “sand” of how I got here, she has her trail too. All the new normals both subtle and earthquake sized add up over the years.

      I dress every day, at one time she said she hated it and would never be seen with me, well we have been to Vegas, Reno and Dallas on driving vacations, I dressed the whole time she actually was standing up to others for me in Vegas. People do change I have, she has.

      You can force yourself into the “mold” you think the people around want, it sounds painful and angry or you can follow and embrace that female within you and try to help those around you understand.


      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #665525
      Holly Morris
      Registered On: April 15, 2022
      Topics: 62
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      Hi Gabrielle.

      First, let me say that I love all the answers you’ve received here. There is so much wisdom and experience in this group of women who can help you down whatever path you end up choosing.

      My persective on your question is a bit different though from some of the answers you’ve already received, and it’s this. No, who you are is not a choice. This is who you are, and who you were born as. Whether you realized it early in life like I did, or came to it later on in life doesn’t really matter. You are who you are. Like genetics, there’s certain things about who you are that you really can’t change, no matter how much you may try.

      However, that being said, how you respond to the situation you currently find yourself in IS a choice.

      You made several comments (“I loved the woman I was becoming on hormones. My loved ones, life loves me as a man. Do I choose them or I? I have a choice right now before me, Do I go back on hormones again?…. Or is this really a choice?“, “ I honestly wish I can stay a “normal” man, especially for all those beautiful past love relationships I once enjoyed and eventually destructed.“, etc.) that indicate your confusion over this matter. I think we’ve all been there. I know that I have. While I never took the next step and began hormone treatments or move towards transitioning, I did realize that if I had come to understand myself and who I really felt I was when I was much younger, I probably would have transitioned.

      But as the saying goes, that was then, this is now.

      That’s why I said that the real choice is how you respond to your situation. Don’t let it make the decision for you.

      I’m not going to compare my situation to yours, as I’m not you and have not walked your path. All I can tell you is that the only choice you really have is how you choose to respond to your current situation. And the good thing is, just because you make a choice one way right now doesn’t mean that you can’t or won’t change your mind at some point in the future and make a different choice.

      Those of us who are anywhere on the transgender spectrum all have different paths that we take, we all have different decision points that come up in our lives, and we all have to make decisions. There isn’t always a clear or obvious choice or path either, sometimes you just have to make a decision, move forward, and hope for the best. Like I said, you can always change your mind.

      You also have to decide what is important to you. Your individual happiness and peace, that of your loved ones, or maybe something in between those two. I don’t know, only you know that.

      Gabrielle, I know you are searching and I know you’re confused. Take advantage of the collective wisdom here, because we’re all here to support one another. If it helps, I’m always available to talk further.



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    • #663203
      Lara Tucker
      Registered On: September 29, 2021
      Topics: 2
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      Hi Gabrielle,

      I feel I am both male and female. My feminine side needs to be expressed sometimes. That is not a choice. Not letting Lara be is depressing, and leeds to a grumpy, drab old man!

      Although I think my journey is less difficult because I doubt I will ever transition, I’m still struggling with coming out, or not to my wife in the near future. Although “not” seems  like it is also not a choice.

      Best of luck with your journey,


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    • #662757
      Lauren Mugnaia
      Registered On: November 1, 2021
      Topics: 15
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      Hi Gabrielle,

      I haven’t read any of the other replies, so this is my personal response to your question. No, it isn’t a choice, it is who you, I, and all these other sisters are. I had to accept the reality that I was transgendered, something I’ve always been aware of since early childhood. I transitioned about six months ago and had to face the challenges you have mentioned. It never was a choice, we are who we are, it is a path we must all go down, and it isn’t an easy road. I am now living separate from my wife while she is trying to see how she feels about things. My two kids are trying to deal with a new reality. Other than that I have received an amazing amount of positive support. I was fully accepted and affirmed as a trans woman where I work, so that solved a major possible obstacle. Each of us will have differences, but each of us will eventually have to look at the path and decide when the time has arrived to begin that journey.

      It isn’t a choice, it is the destiny we were born into.


      Lauren M

      • #663169
        Gabrielle Thomas
        Registered On: December 22, 2015
        Topics: 2
        Replies: 16
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        I So admire your courage! Honored to get to know you!!

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    • #662725
      Registered On: November 5, 2019
      Topics: 12
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      My feeling is that I am what I am, no ‘choice’ involved.  The choice(s) come when I sit down and decide what I want to do about it. Problem is that I don’t believe I’m an overly selfish person, which means to me anyway, that any decision I make about myself, I understand that it will probably affect others close to me, those that I love and who are returning it. So I have no choice – because again that’s who I am – but to consider their feelings and desires, take them into account, try to understand whatever choice I make about anything, how it will affect them. I had about 1 1/2 chances (well, better chances than I have now) to actively pursue transitioning, and I chose not to.

      I don’t go out of my way to ‘win’ approval but I’ve always been involved in helping my children (when asked) and I’m constantly volunteering to serve in other capacities. Again, that’s my choice, but I have yet to hear anyone afterwards say “well, you didn’t come close to meeting our expectations’.  My children still treat me with love and respect and I’ve even been asked back in some of my volunteering, so the choices I made seem to have been at least positive. Maybe that’s what I want from life.

      I understand that if I had chosen to transition, that there would be a really good chance that some of those close to me (spouse, children, grandchildren, close friends even) would not take favorably to that choice.  I have to take that into account to help make the appropriate choice, even if it’s not necessarily the best one for me.

      Right now, though, the only fear I would have is if, I did start transitioning, that someone close to me would come up and say something like ‘well, that explains everything.’ I would be devastated, not that I wasn’t good at ‘hiding’ it, but that after all that I had tried to do, that person never came up to me and said, ‘can we talk?’

      Or put it this way, my extended family appear to have certain expectations out of me. To me that allows me to have certain hopes for them. At this moment, from what I can see, those hopes are still coming true for all of them – adult children and now grandchildren who are facing their own issues and all appear to be doing what they can to overcome some obstacles which in a case or two are rather serious ones.  Now what can I do to keep from jeopardizing any of that? Be the me that I know I can be, not necessarily the me that I might want to be.

      Hugs, ChloeC

      • #663172
        Gabrielle Thomas
        Registered On: December 22, 2015
        Topics: 2
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        Wow, you so understand and am living my dilemma! I chose to transition and after 5-months on hormones I came down with a string of medical issues that have resulted in me stopping. Before I go back on, Im thinking the exact same thing you are. On top of that I ask, ” Is this the universe reaching out and giving me another chance to choose them over me, the right thing to do for their sake?” Or Is this the universe confirming my transition restart as true once Im back on and looking back if I made the right decision?
        Either way, no right or wrong here, just two paths. I choose them and I see them through life and die or I choose ny true self and they adjust their lives to whether they want me in?
        It seems simple when I write it out? We can all make decisions for ourselves, what’s best for ourselves. I think I choose me and I’ll let them make their own choices… I think.

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    • #662690
      Alicen Thairms
      Registered On: July 15, 2019
      Topics: 53
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      I’ve always been aware I am both – a “Who” and a “What” – male and female mixed together.

      At the moment I have reached a point where I need to reach a new level of comprehension of this both-ness;  relevant ideas and concepts are jotted down (typed in); so far a work in progress….  I find an answer is usually forthcoming – but to the right question..

      Whenever I get the chance I dress – its part of who I am.. without it I wouldn’t be me 🙂


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    • #662455
      Liara Wolfe
      Registered On: August 14, 2021
      Topics: 3
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      We are who we are, there is no choice to that. We can however choose to suppress our feminine side  and no matter to what level that suppression goes to we end up unhappy. Personally, I suppressed my female side for many years and it wasn’t until I started dressing again that I realized how depressed I was. I am much happier now but still get depressed from time to time because I would like to be more of the woman I am.

      Hugs, Liara

    • #662028
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      Thank you for sharing, Gabrielle.  I understand what you’re saying.  I wish you all the best.

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    • #661999
      SharonCD Michigan
      Registered On: March 18, 2019
      Topics: 2
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      This is almost exactly my story. Decided to stay on the hormone supplements a bit longer. Good luck in your journey.

    • #661987
      Deana Lee
      Registered On: December 17, 2021
      Topics: 1
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      Thank you so much Gabrielle for sharing your powerful story. I really appreciate your vulnerability and your candor. I have considered HRT and transitioning fulltime to a woman but I’m really conflicted about it because I enjoy both my masculine and feminine sides. At this time, I don’t think its right for me but maybe I’ll change my mind.

      I have thought a lot about why I present as both a man and woman. I love presenting as a woman and there is a comfort/eroticism/satisfaction with doing so that nothing else gives me. But I also sometimes feel comfortable presenting as a man (and it certainly takes me a lot less time!). But more than that, I wonder if this is the way I was born or if something happened to me while I was really young that shaped who I am.

      I don’t believe, however, that any of this is a choice – or at least not in the way we think about choices. If it were a choice, I don’t know why I would “choose” to deal with the immense anxiety and fear of presenting as a woman in public (and I have been told I can pass). Just the act of being my feminine self in public is super scary for me, although I am getting more comfortable doing so. Why would I choose to compromise and threaten my relationships with all the people in my life. Transwomen are more accepted now but being who we are still puts us at enormous risk of ridicule, dehumanization, and even violence – why would anyone voluntarily want that? I am still really worried that my family will reject me if I came out to them (I think most of them will be ok but who really knows how people will respond?). I am scared I will lose the respect of my colleagues and co-workers.

      I am a social science researcher, and there are entire schools of thought that argue that people respond to triggers and events around them – in many ways, choice is an illusion. Is going to work a choice? I guess so, but then I would lose my house, my son, and my career. If you feel compelled to do something, is that an actual choice? Even the field I choose to enter was the result of social and economic opportunities I had at that time. Take some of those opportunities away, and I would likely be in a different career.

      That said, I do think we can choose how we respond to the pull of our feminine sides. I felt the urge to wear my mother’s stockings and nylons when I was barely old enough to remember – maybe 5-6. By the time I was 10-13 I was sneaking into her lingerie drawer and wearing her clothes. That seemed like a choice. I suppose I could have asked her if I could wear her clothes, but that doesn’t seem realistic given this would have been back in the 1980s. I have now chosen to embrace my feminine side and stop fighting it and stop pretending that it’s just a passing thing. I have also chosen to connect with other trans girls to be a part of this community.

      I think one of the problems with the “choice” model is the implication that we can and should just make a different choice about how we want to present ourselves in the world. If we’ve learned nothing from our trans-sisters on this site, that seems incredibly tone deaf to all of our stories. Post after post on this forum are stories about real human beings that have experienced so much hurt, pain, and loss due to simply wanting to embrace their feminine side. Some, have managed to arrive at acceptance but probably not all of us. The choice model, however, just isn’t consistent with our lived experiences as transwomen.

      • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Deana Lee.
    • #661975
      Registered On: August 14, 2021
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      Hi Gabrielle (love the name – giggles),

      I am right where you are right now! I’m in month 5 of estradiol and month 8 of spiro. I had to reduce the spiro a little because of the potassium spike. I don’t know if it’s had a significant effect since my endo also bumped up my patch from 0.05 to 0.1 mg/day. I can’t imagine having to stop estradiol for anything! I even like the sore nipples – it makes me know I’m on my way to my true self.

      I understand your struggle all too well. When I first came out to my wife a year ago, I told her and my therapists my main priority was to somnehow keep our marriage together. And I thought that would happen even after I admitted I needed to transition. My wife insisted no full bottom surgery (we agreed an orchiectomy would be good to get me off the spiro) and I felt like that was a reasonable request. Now, I’m starting to be on the fence about it – maybe a zero-depth procedure so I don’t have to dialate, but then again… (LoL!).

      Not because of the transitioning (totally), we just moved into separate apartments at the end of June, and my wife says she doesn’t think she will ever be attracted to Brielle. We aren’t even sure we can cohabitate as roommates. The separation is not my choice or wish. I wanted the happy-ever-after success story. Maybe it can still happen, but my wife will need to completely rethink her view of living with Brielle.

      I can’t say I recommend how it happened for me – waiting 40 years to tell my wife I had secret feminine feelings that needed an outlet. Then before she could even get her head around that I took it next level and said I needed to live as a woman full-time. The resentment just can’t be overcome (yet). I’m planning for the worst, but hoping for the best.

      Anyway, way more to the story – a future article or set of articles! Thanks for a thought-provoking survey.


      Brielle (Gabrielle, without the “Gah”)

    • #661968
      Cassie Jayson
      Registered On: September 29, 2019
      Topics: 58
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      To tell the truth my ‘true’ answer should be both. I just spent a whole weekend as Cassie at my HS class reunion. It was the most wonderful weekend and to be accepted by most of my female classmates still brings me tears of joy just thinking about it.
      If I could at least present as female 24/7 now I would. would not go any further —— or would I???? to have a body sinc up to where my head is most of the time. Sometimes the journey back and forth is where I need to be to find where I belong in the end.

      . Cassie

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    • #661940
      Pattie Obarito
      Registered On: December 25, 2019
      Topics: 13
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      Sounds like you need to spend some time with a professional counselor, someone with experience in this area.    others on here may have life experience in this regard?   by all means consider what they might offer while seeking guidance from a professional.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #661960
        Gabrielle Thomas
        Registered On: December 22, 2015
        Topics: 2
        Replies: 16
        Has thanked: 162 times
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        Thank you for you Reply.

        It has been 10-years in counseling that has brought me to this question, a question we all grapple with. I have coupled my counseling with a lot of what I read here…. Our struggle of self identity and acceptance; hence, the question and answer we should all realize in time. There’s no right or wrong here, it is our individual journey for our individual reason to be or not. The point of the narrative and question I presented is to seek your own answer and the struggle that comes within your self, not to answer mine.

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