The button test is a mind experiment that has helped many transgender people transition. I dive into a little bit of deep trans lore to help you explore how people come to terms with their gender.
How is it possible that I've known for decades that I've wanted this button to exist, and that I'd press it in a heartbeat, and still not realize that I was trans until just a few months ago?
Thanks for this, Erin. I'd heard of the first two buttons, but not the remaining questions. It really is a complicated, difficult, thing, I think - because transition *isn't* magically perfect like that, where you can be guaranteed no social impacts, etc.; and physically, too, hormones can only do so much, and surgery is extremely expensive and painful and difficult. ...
Even if the button could only affect my physical body and not the memories or attitudes of anyone around me, give me a button that would change me instantly into the woman I might have been - none of the pain, expense, difficulty, or long time span of hormonal/surgical transition - and I'm pretty sure I'd slap that button so hard.
But I feel there's something in there, too, about the choice - the way people view being trans, or transitioning, as a choice. Choosing to transition. If I could just show up to friends, family, employers, coworkers, one day and just shrug and say "I don't know what happened, I woke up this morning and my body looked like this [totally female, or totally fem-passing]. Beats me, but it is what it is, and I guess this is who I am now; I think I'll change my name and pronouns and so forth to match." I feel like it would be a very different thing, in terms of acceptance and so forth, compared to being my male-looking self, saying "I'm choosing to go on this path, I'm choosing to undertake various steps to change my body, my appearance, etc. And I would like you to respect me as a woman, and refer to me differently..." ... This is one of the mental hurdles I come across, too.
In any case, thanks as always for all the resources and thoughts, everything you provide :)
It’s an interesting question. I guess it’s all a question of timing. I’ve led a very full life - with a transition decades in the making and finally taking the plunge about 18 months ago. In the interim years I had two incredible kids, a deeply passionate relationship (sadly, this fizzled once I came out as trans - but great lessons learned) and much more -- resulting in an even greater sense of who I am and where I want to go. But, that’s my journey - and as tempting as it might be to hit the button, I’m not sure I’d want to trade my journey (even the not so great parts).
I figured I was different when I was like six years old and always pretended I was a girl when I played with my siblings. I didn't really know I was trans until I was like 27-28 years old. Still not on hrt and been almost a year since I saw my therapist last. Working on getting back to therapy and back on my mental health meds and will definitely be asking about her.
I was more or less asked these questions when I went to a gender therapist at my former partners suggestion. Although not in an ultimatum, the questions gave direction to others and finally a string diagnoses of gender dysphoria.
Thank you Erin, this must be a predominantly American thing as I have never heard of the "button Test" had I been asked these questions 20+ years ago I might not have struggled with my identity.
Are they a red button and a blue button?
I had only had the first question posed to me, but it was enough for me to accept myself as trans. More useful in that acceptance was the revelation and understanding that some feelings of dissatisfaction with my voice and levels of body hair following puberty were actually forms of dysphoria; I never felt the classic "born into the wrong body" formulation that was how dysphoria was described in my youth, but definitely felt that my body betrayed me going through my first puberty.
It only took me a little over half a century to realize my mistake, but it is amazing how that many years of self-loathing and unconfidence instantly sloughed off me when I was finally able to fully accept who and what I have always been. It's never too late to decide to be your true self.
Before I transitioned I often had dreams/fantasies about the apocalypse and finding a fully intact shopping centre with appropriate clothes and a pharmacy.. Guess I'm not alone right? I'd never seem these questions before but they are perfect
Great piece... although questions 5 and 6 messed me up a little, because I just don't like people telling me who I am, haha. I guess that happens when you spend a lot of your childhood being diagnosed. X'D