second part of the answer

Date: 2004-10-27 01:00 pm (UTC)
Given how unpleasant the lives of the m/f transgendered can be made by society, their families, friends, and so forth, I have no doubt that suicide might sometimes seem preferable to some of them. Not to mention the anxiety caused by dissatisfaction with one's own body.
In my view, this is upside down. It is because the TS I knew were dissatisfied (a very mild word for the hatred they both felt) with their own bodies, that anything society or their families did could wound them so much. Besides, at least one of them does not seem to have had any problems with the family, and that was the gloomier, if anything, of the two. What I think the cases of my friends, and of Bruce/Brenda/David, prove, is that the spectrum of sexual identity, though not entirely fixed, is certainly a natural fact, and that a radical uprooting from it is a source not only of permanent unhappiness but also of a violent need (the core of the TS identity, at least as I know it) to do anything to straighten it out.

I have only known a few people who are transgendered, and none of them well enough to speak to that specific question. However, in my case, this isn't so. I'm relatively normal. But I am also sure that there are many cases where early surgical intervention could have precipitated some difficulty with gender identity. I would like to think that it's rare.
As you are a psychology postgrad (or so I think), it would make a good research program for you in the future: on one hand, see whether my view that TS/TG is, as a social group/cultural identity/concept, a modern phenomenon, or whether essentially similar phenomena can be traced in other or earlier societies (I am a culture historian, but I admit that I have not made a full study of the matter, and that my opinions are just that - opinions); and on the other, see if there is any correspondence between TS/TG and early gender reassignment surgery. Surely it would be an important area to investigate.
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