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The Body, and Self-Identity

KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSUAch-To Veteran

Tbh I'm nervous posting this, but I'd really love to talk about it and discuss different viewpoints and thoughts.

I am a transgender (female-to-male) man and I experience body dysphoria. This link has good general information on body dysphoria, then several comments by trans people (mostly trans men).

A lot of the time I feel that my trans identity and struggles don't conflate with my Buddhist practice and ideas. As two important aspects of my life, this is really hard for me.

I don't mind being trans. I've known for years, and its given me so many important insights. But sometimes I feel guilty for having body dysphoria, like if I were a better Buddhist it would go away. The emotional/physical incongruity one feels with dysphoria is something I'll never be able to fully explain but I hope you get a gist of what I'm saying.

How am I supposed to stop identifying with my body or gender if both psychologically impact me every day?

I know my identity (male) is something other than what I was born with (female), and because these feelings have followed me my entire life I know they're true. But is such an arduous process to de-identify with one label, then work to identify with a new label, AND change my body to fit this label, a "Buddhist fallacy"?

I know I was born transgender, and nothing will change that. I will never be able to "give up" being male, and will continue my transition no matter what. I'm just confused about a lot of things.

Buddhist article on being transgender if anyone is interested:

http://www.lionsroar.com/does-my-transgender-identity-conflict-with-the-teachings-on-no-self/

There are more I've read, but I can no longer find them :(

Shoshin

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    NB: I have not yet read the article you linked.

    It's almost impossible for someone who is NOT transgender to fully empathise, equate or even begin to understand the emotional and physical turmoil a transgender goes through.

    Two things therefore: one, as far as we are concerned, we don't care what your physical is or what your sexual persuasion, choice, obligation or anything else is. You are a member, you practise Buddhism and you have daily trials and tribulations, as we all do.

    Secondly, identification with your body is futile, because it is an impermanent, movable feast, and no human body - whomsoever it belongs to, and whatsoever gender it outwardly manifests - is the same from day to day due to ageing, diet, exercise and temperature.

    Who you are is you, inside your Mind and Consciousness. Your 'Self' is genderless.
    The thoughts you think do not depend on whether you have breasts or a penis.
    To identify yourself as 'something', merely brings you Suffering.
    I am a woman, because I manifest the body of a woman, and I feel like a woman, and have no desire to be otherwise. But I have had dreams in which I have most assuredly been a male character.
    Why?
    I have no idea.
    What matters to me is how I manifest my humanity, Compassion, kindness, love, generosity and companionship.

    Such qualities do not discriminate.

    DavidBunkssilver
  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    @federica thank you for being so kind and compassionate! this really brightened my day <3 much love

    David
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Back atcha sweet.

    I know it sounds trite, and please believe me, I am in no way making light of your personal circumstances, nor trivialising the daily struggle you must experience - but we all have a certain image of ourselves and have concerns with a specific attribute....

    For me? My teeth. Hate them. They're crooked, the jawbones are receding due to a genetic trait, inherited from my father, and I look as if I could eat spaghetti through a tennis racket.
    But I look that way to me.
    Nobody else thinks that way about me, and I'm advised my teeth do not look half as bad as I imagine them to look, although I hate photos of myself where I am smiling, showing my teeth.
    I have seen worse, but I am still very conscious of how they look...

    I think we exaggerate our own 'anomalies' in our own minds and for some, things get really tricky.
    What you describe (Dysphoria) is different to BDD. Your own dysphoria arises because you clearly have been born into the 'wrong body'. Sufferers of BDD have no such troubling thoughts about their physical gender manifestation, but instead, have an exaggerated view of part of themselves which leads them to have serious psychological hang-ups about a particular aspect of how they look.

    What I'm trying to say is that your dysphoria is probably a much bigger issue (?) hang-up (?) obstacle (?) to you, than it is to others who know you are transgender.

    We had a transgender woman (M2F) working in our company, as a sales assistant. She has now left, of her own accord and for her own reasons, but she wasn't 'forced out' by either the attitudes or views of colleagues OR customers. She still comes into our branch, and is treated in exactly the same way as any lady would be.
    She had some reservations about applying for the post when she first attempted to join the company.
    Nobody else had any reservations at all.

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    "But sometimes I feel guilty for having body dysphoria, like if I were a better Buddhist it would go away."

    I don't think the Buddha meant for his teachings to become something people attach to. Like a Christian or a Republican or any identity. He probably wouldn't have liked the idea that people now call it Buddhism and Buddhists are using it as a source of attachment and suffering.

    A Buddhist isn't what you are. Buddhism is what you practice.

    You are not an Eightfold Pather. You walk the Eightfold Path.

    Shoshinsilver
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I wonder if there are any transgender Buddha's out there in the pure lands?

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    There is Dukkha (unsatisfactoriness)...The first Noble Truth...

    . But is such an arduous process to de-identify with one label, then work to identify with a new label, AND change my body to fit this label, a "Buddhist fallacy"?

    Only if you personally choose to see it as such...To accept things as they are can also mean to accept the changes ... That is, the unfolding of the karmic pattern of events...

    Change is inevitable...Suffering is optional

    How am I supposed to stop identifying with my body or gender if both psychologically impact me every day?

    @eggsavior

    Will transitioning be conducive to Dharma practice ? (that is, help to calm the mind so practice can be carried out more efficiently-one less obstacle to overcome, so to speak )

    It's a matter of wants(not necessary in order to....) or needs (necessary in order to...)

    If one looks at the big Buddhist picture....The Eightfold Path is all about great change/transition ... ..and no doubt this will include the 'Trans-sexual if need be :)

    May the path to non-self discovery (transition/change) be a smooth one and peace of mind be the result @eggsavior <3


    ”Transient alas; are all component things,
    subject are they to birth and then decay
    Having gained birth; to death the life flux swings
    Bliss truly dawns when unrest dies away !”

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I wonder if there are any transgender Buddha's out there in the pure lands?

    There are.
    All of them.

    This bodhisattva is variably depicted and described and is portrayed in different cultures as either female or male. In Chinese Buddhism, Avalokiteśvara has become the somewhat different female figure Guanyin. In Cambodia, he appears as Lokeśvara.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avalokiteśvara

    In Tantra Yidam practice, we become a sixteen year old green Tara babe, a blue dude with a sword or Nothing. Gender is just junk. We are wer-Buddhas ... :expressionless:
    https://buddhism-for-vampires.com

    Ay caramba! O.o

    JaySon
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