Ben has an inviolable sovereign right to his own body.
It was his choice to become a “trans” man and get a penis.
“Nothing about Benjamin Simpson’s transition was inevitable, certainly not his penis. Though he did, in the end, grow up to be a man, he freely admits that in another place or time he might have grown into an unhappy woman, or the local eccentric, or a person who died too young from suicide. Raised in a village outside the Finger Lakes — a place, to this day, where cell service is spotty — he did not know what “transgender” was. As a young girl, he assumed he would become a man when he grew up. When he realized he would not, he forgot the whole idea and started collecting other evidence to explain why something in his life always felt off.
First, there was the way he wore baggy clothes in the summer. (Then again, lots of teenage girls dislike their bodies.) Next came the lesbian rumors at school. (Though Ben did know that he liked girls, he did not feel like a lesbian at all.) To combat the gossip, he started dressing girlier and tried having sex with boys a few times. His interest in their bodies was more appraising than erotic. Browsing a Myspace group for lesbians, he found himself yearning for a clear identity. Where did he fit in the scheme of the world? Incomprehensible to himself, he tried a few times to end his own life. Soon after, he went looking for himself at New York University.
Ben arrived at college in 2009. There, he started calling himself a “queer lesbian,” a term he used in an attempt to reconcile his attraction to women with his interest in men’s bodies. He joined a campus L.G.B.T. group and met people who seemed to know who they were, who called themselves things like “gender-fluid” or used “ze”/“zir” pronouns. Ben did not feel that these words applied to him, but for the first time he had community and language to help him disentangle himself. This was a stressful and exciting interlude. He went out in outfits from across the gender spectrum, in clothes he wouldn’t dream of putting on today. He had long debates over terms: What was the difference between a butch lesbian and a transgender man? What was the reason to use these words at all?
In the spring of 2015, Ben got happy hour drinks with two friends at a Midtown barbecue spot. …”
I’m the “extremist” here.
Ben is on a quest to be his true self.
I cling to the old fashioned belief that sex is biological and unalterable. I haven’t changed. It is society that has changed and made progress. Actually, it turns out that changing one’s sex is a matter of will power and surgery. Self expression is also the highest of all goods.