written by Chantelle

To disclose or not, that is the question

No one wakes up one day and decides to be gender variant.

Recent research into brain morphology and neurophysiology shows distinct differences between genetic males and genetic females, but that "female" characteristics occur in some males and vice versa with females. The degree to which these characteristics occur probably drives the way in which a person expresses their gender identity - which is supported by the TgR 2011 survey results, i.e. MMMM, MMMF.... FFFF.

I, like most (all?) on TgR and elsewhere, have a deep seated need to express my femaleness. Over the years I have tried to deny/suppress/ignore that need, but it keeps resurfacing, stronger and stronger. It is very stressful to deny that aspect of who I am, especially if I'm hiding it from significant people in my life. It's living a lie and it's deceitful.

However, unlike the GLB of GLBT, the MTF person is usually obvious to all once in gender variant mode - and that mode is challenging to many people because of the cognitive dissonance it sets up. This is especially so if someone who knows me as Michael then meets me as Chantelle. I really want to be treated and thought of as a woman, but it's a big ask: those people's brains are screaming "That's not a woman". So, all I can realistically ask is respect for my right to present as Chantelle.

With intimate relationships, there's a lot of biological and psychological factors at play. Put simply, most women are sexually attracted to genetic males or, if not, to genetic females. I've had two significant relationships end as a result of disclosing my gender variance and a third, in which it was known from the start but required never to be expressed, ended when I reemerged. During a lengthy period in 2000 as full-time, unattached, Chantelle no one was interested in an intimate relationship, but the moment I put her "back in the box" I was attractive again (but not to those who knew). I don't blame those women for their reactions: they were just conforming to their biological, evolutionary programming.

So, as for the topic of this thread, to not disclose (especially to those close) is damaging in the long term to both ourself and to them. To disclose, we run the risk of being rejected and then emotionally/socially isolated, which is a commonly reported condition for TG people.

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