Identity is a tricky subject. I have brown hair. I have scars. I’m tattooed. I am a musician. All of these are facts, but are they necessarily identity? No. They are merely characteristics. What about my transgenderism or my psychopathy? These items are much closer to the mind. Are they necessarily identity because of such? Also, no. Identity is much more complicated. Identity is the confluence of characteristics and personal beliefs that lead to ones perception of themselves. Identity can fly in the face of such ‘facts’ about oneself to where the disconnect troubles the outsider? What if I am transgender but do not identify as such? Does that result in a contradiction or merely a nuanced complexity?
It is an indisputable fact that I am transgender. I’ve both added to, and taken away from my body. I’ve been living in the expected gender role of my target sex for over five years now. Does this fact necessitate that I identify as transgender? No. In fact, I have fallen away in my love of gender over the past few years. I no longer yearn to approximate in totality the gender incongruent to my biological sex. However, I’ve committed to this journey and will continue living as such. I just may not love it just as I certainly do not love the gender congruent to my sex. It isn’t that I identify as genderless, as I am not sure that is possible – I need to refresh myself on Queer Theory to properly answer that – , but rather that I feel so little connection to gender that I do not incorporate it into the picture of my being. Had my medical professionals anticipated such, they would have never signed off on hormone replacement therapy. They would have never let me transitioned.
I think incorporating some facet or characteristic into one’s identity can attune one to the nuances and advantages of that trait. However, I also think that if one identifies with a trait it becomes more natural to express that trait. For psychopathy, this can be particularly dangerous. True, I could care less for others around me, but I also recognize that my actions alone (ignoring false imprisonment) determine whether or not I am a free member of society. So I think there is great motivation to back off incorporating my psychopathy into my identity. Which is more likely to land me in trouble due to such focus: being an intelligent, science-driven person who happens to be psychopathic or a psychopath that happens to be intelligent and science-driven? It is a subtle but important distinction.
So putting it together, I am a transgender psychopath that tries very hard to incorporate neither into their identity. The reasons differ, but the result is the same: by eschewing these characteristics from the pedestal of identity, I shield myself. I shield myself from the overwhelming burden of wearing such labels on such an intimate level. I’ve worn my gender close in the past – so close that I’ve spent a large sum on approximating sex/gender congruence. So close that I’ve been all consumed by the need to transition. So close that over a decade of my life was lost to constant angst and dysphoria. I especially worry that wearing psychopathy as part of my identity would only lead to a fixation that could lead to irresponsible behavior. Do not misunderstand me, it is not that I deny these traits. I simply choose not to let myself be defined by them. Maybe it is a lack of maturity, but I tend to think of it as a measure of foresight.