Trans* Tuesday: Gender Dysphoria

Gender Dysphoria is the psychological term for when a person feels distressed by the societal expectations placed on them for being “Male” or “Female”, by the anatomical structure of their body not matching the chemical brain patterns, or both.

Gender Dysphoria is what I was diagnosed with last September. In August of 2014 I had come to the realization that I was transgender, that I didn’t fit into patriarchal culture’s gender roles and expectations.  In September I began counseling and was given the diagnosis. This is an important step, as it allows one to name your distress and find a way to remedy it. For me Gender Dysphoria involved both a strong negative reaction to having “male” genitalia and the feeling that my personality and personal expression was being boxed in and stomped upon by expectations of what it “means to be a man.”

Much of these issues I was able to confront once I realized they existed. The feminist literature I began reading helped me understand the nature of constructed gender, and one book in particular –Omnigender by Virginia Mollenkott- changed my life. Not only did it present transgender and transsexuality as entirely normal parts of human experience, it did so in a way that spoke to my religious, historical and anthropological sensibilities. My feelings of not fitting into expectations were validated, as those expectations were false. And beyond that Mollenkott said that even in a world where people are not forced into roles or gendered by other people than themselves, there would still be people whose brain and sexual organs mismatch.

That was wonderful for me to hear, because while I do feel comfortable in certain aspects of the “female gender” and even the “male”, I do not feel comfortable with having a penis. And it was very important for me to have someone let me know that while the issues of “gender distress” and “genital distress” are often interlinked, you can have one without the other, and one is not dependent on the other.

That said, I am moving away from traditionally a masculine identity towards a feminine one, though lack of identification may figure in at some point, and I absolutely plan on getting SRS/GRS. Because I need a vagina and all that comes with it.  I don’t connect this with being female, as I know men with vaginas and Genderqueer(third gender) people who have them as well, it is really something I have to do,, for me to be truly content with my body.

Thanks for reading, I know that was probably a bit ramble-y, but hey we can’t be all perfect everytime we post can we?


One thought on “Trans* Tuesday: Gender Dysphoria

  1. Great post, Olivia! Thanks for writing about this. Gender dysphoria is not something I am very familar with, but I’m glad you opened my eyes to it and some possible solutions for feeling comfortable in your own skin.

    Victoria L-C


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