The New York Times’ “Ethicist,” Chuck Klosterman, offered a disappointing response to a transgender reader on Friday. The reader wrote in to explain that she was beginning to transition to living as a woman, but she was struggling with how the transition might impact her wife and three children. Klosterman suggested that it was a question of happiness, and that perhaps the reader was better off not stressing her family with the news:
You believe you will “find happiness” only by being your true self — but that’s not exactly accurate. You describe your marriage as happy, you love your children, and your career is (at the very least) satisfying enough to make you worry about how a gender transition might complicate things. There is happiness in your life. Now, I realize what you’re referring to is a deeper, existential version of happiness that all people crave (and which goes far beyond having a good relationship or a good job). There are, however, many people who never experience that level of happiness, regardless of how they view their sexual identities. Even if you become someone else, you may never find it.