Mar 18·edited Mar 18Liked by Shikha Dalmia

Thanks, Shikha, for bringing this piece back to the light. I would share some personal experience. At some point not so long ago in decades, I met a young man who was a very hard worker but certainly not assertive. Some of that related to aspects of the Asian culture in which he had been raised, and which had inconsistencies with the behavior needed to achieve his goals. But eventually he revealed that the real problem was that he should, biologically, be a woman. I expect his decision to make the change was a challenge for his family and for his relations with them. After the surgeries and other treatments, when she came back into circulation, it was blatantly obvious that she should have been a woman all along. She became a much happier person. I am still so happy for her and so proud of her courage.


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A man imagining himself a woman and a woman imagining herself a man is suffering from a delusion, similar to anorexia and body integrity dysphoria. Society should not ratify them. That said, if an individual wishes to have cosmetic surgery to change his or her appearance, it is really no one’s business but that person unless the rest of us are forced to pay for the treatments or to compromise our beliefs about it.

Don’t ask, don’t tell is the best policy. I worked for years with a man who presented as a woman without knowing the story. This person was intelligent and interesting and did not assert special rights. This person ( in the 80s and 90s, mind you), was a lawyer with many accomplishments, and was respected by colleagues. Those who knew the story referred to “her” by her name and any pronouns associated with a woman. Common courtesy prevailed and most people will be courteous to an individual.

It is the mass claim that we all must deny reality that is the problem.

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Thank you for sharing this, particularly during these intolerant times when transgender people (and especially kids) are favorite punching bags for our politicians.

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