We have spent our entire lives looking for answers to the dilemma of being born in a sexed body yet identifying with the gender of the other. A conflict between physical sex and our gender identity. The term for this emotional distress caused by this conflict between the "spirit and the flesh" is gender dysphoria. When social pressures, though the cultural-social process of stigmatization, force people to repress the expression of their gender, confusion, pain and suffering result. This emotional suffering tends to intensify with time and wreaks havoc in our lives, consuming the energy and resources that we would put to better use pursuing a full and satisfying life. Our potential personal achievements and contributions to the world can be encumbered by gender dysphoria and hinder us from pursuing our passions and our dreams. We must not allow this to happen.
Gender is a powerful force in human nature and development and in social and cultural processes. The impact of gender on our lives is intensified by virtue of being closely tied to sexuality. Hetero-normative culture through the centuries has worked to control the expression of gender and sexuality. So, it is not surprising that people who experience and express gender outside cultural norms are stigmatized. Under these extraordinary pressures, coming to terms with our gender, sexuality, and our body to become a well adjusted functioning person can seem an insurmountable challenge. How we each come to understand and decide how best to express our gender and sexuality is a highly personal endeavor that we must be accountable for ourselves. No one knows better than each indiviudal what is right for them.
However, uncovering and appreciating our genuine gendered and sexual nature and integrating healthy gender and sexual expression into our life is not an easy or simple task for most of us. Everyone from friends and family, to doctors and therapists, to sex researchers and academicians, to feminists, spiritual leaders, and even transgender activists and writers have their own opinions about gender and sexuality and how transgender people ought to express and live their gender. It can be difficult separating out fact from fiction, objective information from value laden opinion, sound science from junk science. Once we come to really understand and know ourselves, we still need to apply this self-knowing to making prudent decisions about how to live our own lives.
I suggest that the first step in finding one's own answers to these questions is cultivating Wisdom, a combination of knowledge, experience, and intuitive understanding, to guide us forward in a positive direction in our lives. Wisdom is the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight. It is an ideal that has been celebrated since antiquity as the application of knowledge needed to live a good life. Beyond simply knowing or understanding what options are available, "Wisdom" provides the ability to differentiate between them and choose the one that is best for us. So, how do we cultivate Wisdom to help us with our Uninvited Dilemma"?
To cultivate Wisdom, we need a combination of 1) knowledge, 2) experience, and 3) intuitive understanding. But, we also need to balance learning from all three areas with our values in life and apply these to specific decisions and actions about our gender and sexuality. I have provided resources in all these areas (Knowledge, Experience, Intuitive Understanding, Decisions and Actions) to help you cultivate Wisdom.