Note: The views I express are mine alone and should be considered as a voice within the transgender community rather than the voice of the community itself. I can speak only of my own experiences. This is true for this entire blog, but I think it is especially important to note in this post.
The way I view myself as a trans person would usually characterize me as a “transexual”– I am a man and have been a man for as long as I’ve been alive; for me, my trans status is more akin to a medical condition than an identity. Despite this, I prefer to identify as “transgendered.” I’ve tried to figure out why I do not refer to myself as transexual. While I dislike the gender binary, I am perfectly content to live within the male box and I don’t think of myself as particularly gender-transgressive.
What I’ve found is that, like many transgendered people, I see a flaw with the definition and usage of “sex.” I am male-bodied and will be whether or not I make any effort to “masculinize” my body. I wasn’t born in the wrong body; I was a boy born in a male body in a society where “male” was wrongly defined. For me, top surgery is like pectoral implants than heart surgery– my body does not necessarily need correction in its present form.
This isn’t to say that transitioning isn’t necessary. The disphoria I experience with my chest is very real and very serious. But it does mean that, were I able to live comfortably with my present body, there would be nothing to fix. For me, transitioning isn’t about altering my body to make it more male, it’s about altering my body to make it more comfortable.
Transgendered man, transsexual man, man with a trans history… honestly, the specific label I’m given within the trans community doesn’t really matter to me. But if I have to choose, I’ll go with “transgendered” because I’m as much about redefining gender roles for society as a whole as I am about adhering to them for myself.