I am a woman who was born with MRKH (AKA, Müllerian Agenesis). I was born with a severely underdeveloped reproductive tract and cannot bear children. I underwent surgery to create a vaginal canal capable of penetrative sex, and have maintained that canal through intercourse or dilation for over 30 years. After my diagnosis, I struggled for many years, asking myself whether or not I was a woman because I lacked a functional uterus. During this time, I developed a deep respect for all who face bullying, harassment, physical violence and hatred, simply for being born differently.
After many years, I concluded that I identified as a woman. I look like a woman and it is easy for me to walk around as a female. No one questions my identity. Deep down, I know that I am different from other women. I do not bleed monthly and I needed therapeutic interventions to have a ‘heterotypical’ sex life. I felt uncomfortable when friends would ask, “Do you have a tampon? Don’t periods suck?” and when strangers would ask, “When are you having children?” You can read my thoughts on these questions here.
Because I spent many years questioning my gender identity, I champion those who are brave enough to transition their outward physical appearance to match their inward gender. Knowing just a glimmer of what it is like to live a life based on lies, my deepest wish is that everyone can be who they were born to be. Living your life as you true self frees your time to contribute to society, to work to the best of your abilities, to put all of your efforts on something other than hiding who you are.
I applaud my dear friend and fellow MRKH Warrior, Kristen Peterson, who wrote an open letter to Emilee Danielson and to the world (see here and here), discussing that gender identity is not what you were taught in middle school health class. It is much more subtle. When society creates and mandates the use of discrete gender identity boxes, those who do not fit into those boxes are forced to confront the box keepers or live a life based on lies. Knowing the destruction that living a life of lies creates, I applaud all who courageously confront the box keepers to live their true life.
As you can expect, Kristen’s letter brought out the box keepers, the trolls. They are not only located under bridges in Seattle; they lurk anonymously online, spewing hatred, trying to make themselves appear ‘better’ by pointing out anything in others that they can name as inferior.
Do not feed the trolls; they are insatiable because they can never eat enough. They can never feel good enough about who they are. The fact that they found you is a GREAT thing. They love attacking those who stick up for those that need defending. They feed off of trying to make people feel bad for who they are, for how they are born.
You are one to see how our differences are not so different and embrace all who need it. Trolls see those differences and widen the chasm. Keep on doing what you are doing. You are changing lives.
I wish all could see this situation from your point of view, because you are standing on a cliff looking over the ocean as the sun sets and dolphins are frolicking in the golden glow and meteors are blazing trails in the Eastern sky. The trolls are sitting under the highway, covered in muck watching cars pass them by and breathing the exhaust from diesel trucks.