Author Topic: Does Transgender Middle Way = non-binary?  (Read 1102 times)

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laurenb

Does Transgender Middle Way = non-binary?
« on: October 17, 2017, 09:32:55 pm »
I was posting in another thread recently about my descision to not pursue full-on social transition (in the immediate future). A confluence of reasons led me to the descision to honestly just stay Transgender without striving further. As background: I've been doing HRT for almost a year, am out to my SO and a few close to me, not considering GRS, passable in very dim light (like candlelight at best) and feel that the our western society is not particularly friendly toward us. All things considered though, I'm in a stable and pretty grateful place with more age behind me than in front. Why mess with it?

Anyhow, I've been delving into Buddhism for some time now but I can't claim great knowledge. Of course, it is of comfort that the Buddha had benign thoughts and no judgement toward the trans followers of his according to the recorded history.

I'm intrigued by the notion of the "middle way". The middle way in my humble and practical view comprises simply following the eight-fold path as best as I can. When I integrate my Trans-ness into that I find that another "middle way" emerges. And that is to be Transgender without the burden of increased suffering imposed on those around me as well as my self by transitioning in a society that abhors us.

While nothing about the eight fold path seems in conflict with full social transition, it's apparent that there will be an increase in suffering for myself and others. I'm thinking I've done what I can to reduce my dysphoria (suffering) and by not obsessing over transition I am trying to be mindful of my attachment to living full time societally as female. That attachment causes and can cause great suffering. Not saying that I'm presenting masculine or anything - I present now as a "soft" or feminine male - as close as I can get to being female without all of the baggage and pain of full transition.

But is the suffering greater by not transitioning fully? I feel for me right now the greatest suffering comes from holding the secret of my authentic self rather than the presentation (right speech, right intention, right action, etc.). If I let that truth be free, I'm not sure I have to follow through with actions that mostly confirm the societal expectations of binary.

Can't I just then be me authentically however that is easiest and most comfortable and with the lowest amount of attachment? 

This, I feel, is a sort of a non-binary approach that is consistent with my Buddhist leanings, I guess.

Anyone else out there with thoughts or experience on this?






Offline Jessica

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Re: Does Transgender Middle Way = non-binary?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2017, 10:09:15 pm »
I think the non-binary road has junctions all the way down.  Instead of seeing it in the middle, see it the same road all humanity is on.  The only difference is what junction you stop at.  And the thing about this road, you can move wherever you want, whenever you want.
Smiles, Jessica 💁

"If you go out looking for friends, you are going to find they are very scarce.  If you go out to be a friend, you'll find them everywhere."



Allie24

Re: Does Transgender Middle Way = non-binary?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2017, 10:24:29 pm »
I completely understand what you mean. This is a state of mind I am trying to bring myself into. I dress androgynously and allow myself to be exactly what I am perceived to be. People most often say female and I accept that reality. No judgment. Transition can at times seem like a materialistic rabbit hole full of clothes and surgeries. But to be able to let go of all of that is very freeing in its own way. I think an ideal transition is a balance of the medical/surgical and self-acceptance of the body as is. I'd say that you coming to this conclusion is a sign of success.

No judgment, of course, to anyone opting for any sort of surgeries, etc. Everyone has their own path! :)

laurenb

Re: Does Transgender Middle Way = non-binary?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2017, 01:34:52 pm »
I completely understand what you mean. This is a state of mind I am trying to bring myself into. I dress androgynously and allow myself to be exactly what I am perceived to be. People most often say female and I accept that reality. No judgment. Transition can at times seem like a materialistic rabbit hole full of clothes and surgeries. But to be able to let go of all of that is very freeing in its own way. I think an ideal transition is a balance of the medical/surgical and self-acceptance of the body as is. I'd say that you coming to this conclusion is a sign of success.

No judgment, of course, to anyone opting for any sort of surgeries, etc. Everyone has their own path! :)

Exactly. Yes. Allie I love the rabbit hole metaphor. And as I have said to my therapist and others I reserve the right to change my mind. I hope I don't have to but it's a perfect application for mindfulness.

I totally agree about there being no judgement of any other path - of course, because that would be one more attachment to cause suffering. And yes, I'll be the first to admit that I've been guilty of that from time to time when the society around us kicks me/us around for not fulfilling their expectations of my/our identity. Freedom from expectations on either extreme is my desire. I just cannot be the woman they imagine I should be nor the man they imagine I should be.

Jessica your point is so valid too. Any point along the path is valid for someone at sometime and they have the right to adjust to a new point when they feel it reduces their respective suffering.

Metta to all of us <transgender people> and all other beings.....

Offline KathyLauren

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Re: Does Transgender Middle Way = non-binary?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2017, 08:17:18 pm »
Pardon my reviving this dormant thread.  It's been a while since I checked out this forum.

The Middle Way refers to the choice between hedonism and asceticism.  I don't think it necessarily applies to every binary choice, though it may in some cases.

I don't think I am increasing my attachments by transitioning.  Society would like us to think that, because it reinforces their view that transitioning is wrong.   But when I examine my motivations, I find that the attachment was to my old male identity.  I clung to that sucker for more than 60 years.  And doing so caused me a lot of suffering.

My transition involves letting go of that attachment.  A lot of what the future will bring is up in the air.  My goal is to discover who I am.  There is nothing there yet to be attached to. 

Under my avatar is a line: "Casting off dull certainty".  (The line is from a song, "White Water" by Eileen McGann)  That is what my transition is about.  It was the dull certainty that I was attached to.  I am casting it off, letting go of my attachment to it, not knowing exactly what the future will bring. 

As I cast off that attachment, I find that my suffering is decreasing.  I do not believe that I have increased anyone else's suffering.  Nor do I think that I will increase anyone's suffering in the future.

As with all things, YMMV.  If you find that a non-binary presentation or a non-transition or partial transition is what works for you, then that is what you should do.
2015-07-04 Awakening; 2015-11-15 Out to self; 2016-06-22 Out to wife; 2016-10-27 First time presenting in public; 2017-01-20 Started HRT!!; 2017-04-20 Out publicly, beginning full-time; 2017-07-10 Legal name change; 2019-02-15 Approval for GRS; 2019-08-02 Official gender change; 2020-03-11 GRS!; 2020-09-30 New birth certificate; 2021-03-10 consultation for ongoing pain




Offline RoryL

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Re: Does Transgender Middle Way = non-binary?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2018, 01:29:17 pm »
I don't think I am increasing my attachments by transitioning.  Society would like us to think that, because it reinforces their view that transitioning is wrong.   But when I examine my motivations, I find that the attachment was to my old male identity.  I clung to that sucker for more than 60 years.  And doing so caused me a lot of suffering.

My transition involves letting go of that attachment.  A lot of what the future will bring is up in the air.  My goal is to discover who I am.  There is nothing there yet to be attached to. 

This. So much this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts - you've put into words almost exactly how I feel about my transition.
"I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance" - bell hooks

"The best mind-altering drug is the truth." - Lily Tomlin



Tags: Buddhism Non-binary