What need is this meeting?

This article, by Doc Impossible, talks about something I think we often shy away from: the role of kink in trans people’s self-discovery. As the Doc writes, many people have asked the question: it’s just a fetish, right?

This hopeful, terrified question that bears so, so much weight. Hopeful because, to the person asking the question, if it is just a fetish, it can stay in the bedroom, just be this weird, small part of you that nobody else needs to know about, that never needs to be acknowledged, that doesn’t need to have any power over you or your life.

As the Doc explains, most people have a kink of some kind: one in two are into BDSM, one in seven have a foot fetish and so on. And many trans feminine people who haven’t worked out that they’re trans yet believe that they too have a kink. And maybe they do! But maybe it’s more than that.

Indulging a kink is vastly safer and more private than coming out and transitioning. So, to a subconscious mind that’s trying to keep you safe and alive, it’d make an awful lot of sense to sort of lunge toward kink when it works to sublimate that need.

The Doc suggests asking another question: what need is this meeting? Or to put it another way, what needs are kinks sublimating?

As the woman I was talking to eventually discovered for herself, it was never about the sex. She didn’t want to live the kind of life that she had once fantasized about, not in reality. It was just a way for her to reach out and touch that part of herself before she was ready to face it consciously, to project herself into a body and a life and a joy that was a lot closer to who she was inside.