How I Stopped Being 'Lindsay,' and Became 'Silas'
Silas Hansen writes about his journey
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2013 1:17 PM CDT

(Newser) – Silas Hansen was called "Lindsay," the name his parents gave him when he was born a girl, for 24 years—but the name never felt like his. "When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a Lindsay. I never have," Hansen writes in a moving Slate piece about how he chose his new name. "I always felt like I was a fraud, like the name didn’t belong to me—it belonged to someone else, and I needed to give it back. I needed to get rid of it." Even so, when he settled on Silas, it was jarring to hear his friends actually call him that. At first, it made him wonder if he "was wrong about being transgender."

But eventually, as even his family got used to the new name (with his grandmother, ever bad with names, usually calling him "Cyrus" instead), it started to feel right to him. He had chosen the name, he writes, because it's quite popular in Denmark, and his dad is Danish. It means "man of the forest," which seemed to fit. And, as he started testosterone injections and legally changed his name, he found it fit in another way: The name doesn't sound overly masculine, and Hansen grew to appreciate the way it "borders on the land between masculine and feminine, the way I do," he writes. "I can carry that name with me as I learn how to be a man, learn to navigate this land of men’s bathrooms and facial hair and talking to girls as a straight man without losing sight of who I am, who I used to be." His entire essay is worth a read.

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Apr 15, 2013 12:42 AM CDT
How do we get past the fact that there is a scientific, genetic determination of one's sex that does not depend on one's preferences or "gender identity?" "The X chromosome in humans spans more than 153 million base pairs (the building material of DNA). It represents about 2000 out of 20,000 - 25,000 genes. Each person normally has one pair of sex chromosomes in each cell. Females have two X chromosomes, whereas males have one X and one Y chromosome. Both males and females retain one of their mother's X chromosomes, and females retain their second X chromosome from their father. Since the father retains his X chromosome from his mother, a human female has one X chromosome from her paternal grandmother (father's side), and one X chromosome from her mother." Source: The genetic fact is that if you have two X chromosomes, you are female. If you have one X and one Y chromosome, you are male. End of the scientific discussion. This debate really has nothing to do with religion. Those who dislike religion frequently use science to dispute it. Now, on an issue where science is clear but those same people disagree with the scientific conclusion, they argue, "But I BELIEVE I'm supposed to be a woman (or man)." Ignoring the science in favor of one's personal preferences? I thought that's what atheists accused religious people of doing.
Apr 14, 2013 10:51 PM CDT
The biggest deception of the science of Psychology is the belief that Psychology is a science. It is an art. Oh, there are patterns to be found in Psychology... Much as there are patterns to be found in Sociology, Economics, or Musical Composition. But they lack the level of certainty necessary to qualify as science in the same league as hematology or oncology. Ergo, the belief that some in Psychology assert that the best course of action for those afflicted with the DISEASE of gender identity disorder is to 'transition' to their desired gender, is far from convincing. Providing 'transitions' to people with G.I.D. is about as meaningful as providing stomach-stapling to people with anorexia. Or providing arm-amputations to people with Bodily Integrity Disorder, for that matter.
Apr 14, 2013 5:20 PM CDT
As we go along we are finding that humans don't all fit into neat categories of gender any more than they do any others. We've been trying to think there was "Male" and there was "Female" and anywhere and everywhere between was "Pathology." It's just not so. Perhaps as we become healthier and think more accurately these blurring lines will become less disturbing.