There is a question that pops up fairly often in the transgender community that I find fascinating. I have a big fascination with time travel anyway so this question really gets my mind worked up with all of the possibilities. The question I’m referring to is this:
If you could have been born and raised as your true gender, would you choose to do so?
It’s an impossible question to really answer. Like time travel in general, we never know how things would have worked out if we went back and change history. Yet, we often are so tempted and eager to do just that. At least I enjoy the fantasy of what an amazing adventure I could have as a time traveler. The Back to the Future movies of the 80’s were particularly fun for me and I still enjoy them. I think they do a really good job of portraying how disastrous time travel could be if we want to keep our present lives as they are. But if we want to alter our present life? How many other’s lives would get altered by us changing our past? Would it make things better or worse? Impossible questions to answer.
So the question is definitely rhetorical in nature and I get that. But, the time travel fanatic in me runs with it into a lot of fun and entertaining corners of my psyche. I take none of it too seriously as it is an impossible scenario. And sometimes the thoughts really get me upset and profoundly sad to ponder. It’s all fun and games until you realize that none of it has any remote chance of ever happening. Then the depression sets in. And then you think about your current life and the relationships you have with people as the person you are, your job/career, the car you drive, the house you live in, your community, your identity as it stands today. Like it or not, all of that would change if you chose to be born as your true gender. We have no way of knowing whether it would be better or worse, where we’d be, who we’d be with, what we’d be doing, how happy we’d be.
So how can you answer this question? I don’t really think you can. Maybe if you have hit rock bottom and have no one and nothing left and your only option would be to have a do over, yeah I guess that would be a pretty easy decision. But most of us like our lives quite a bit. Maybe not all of it but we’re pretty happy in general. I know my life is much better in so many ways than I ever imagined and also so different than anything I ever imagined as a young person. I’m finally able to be who I am and I’m pretty comfortable as that person most of the time. I’m still adjusting to it, as are my friends and family, but so far so good. Why would I choose to give all this up?
Let’s say for just one moment that we really could choose to start life over exactly as it was but in the body of the sex we identify with. Would you do it? Personally, I’d go from being a 54 year old to an infant again living in 1962 eastern U.S. Would I do that? I’d be a boy, raised as a boy, live and play as a boy, go through school as a boy, date girls as a boy, find a career as a boy, marry a girl as a boy, have children and be a father, grow up and grow old as a man. Would I do it?
But, here’s the thing that makes me say no. I look at how much I have grown and evolved through this process of living my life as who I am and I just don’t see the same potential for growth in the new scenario. Maybe I’d grow there too, but it would be in much different ways. And then there’s just the whole idea that my life as I know it would just evaporate and go away and I have way too much invested in it to let that happen.
I want to say yes, I would definitely choose to be born male if given the chance. And yeah, that would have been nice. But that was not an option and it’s kind of just foolish and somewhat self abusive to even spend much time thinking about the what-ifs of life. I admit that I do fantasize about how life would be if I’d been born male. It’s a sweet fantasy. But it’s also painful to think about. It brings up feelings of regret and pining for something that could never have been and feeling like what we have is not good enough. It’s an alluring fantasy but a deceptively painful and dangerous one too.
I think a better question to ponder is: now that we have the freedom to choose how we live our lives, who do we want to be? For me, that’s a much more powerful question to ponder. This is something I can actually control to some degree and take some credit for. So now I ask you, who do you want to be now that you can be anything and anyone you want to be? Let’s have some fun figuring that one out and making it happen. Instead of fantasizing about the past, let’s fantasize about the future and build that in the present because that’s all we really have. Good luck and carry on fellow Time Travelers!