Systems Thinking, Fantasies, and their Relationship to Gender Dysphoria

Basically everyone agrees that many people who transition MtF have erotic fantasies of being feminized or becoming female. Where there is a difference is in the causal relationship between these fantasies and dysphoria. The trans community believes that these fantasies are a sign of a repressed female identity and a sign that one is “really trans” and must transition. Otherwise, according to the community, these fantasies will persist and get worse and worse until they become overwhelming and the only alternative is transition. Critics of the trans community tend to take the reverse position, that the fantasies are driving the gender transition and therefore dismissing transition as the product of “delusion” or “fetish-driven behavior”. People that are questioning are caught in the middle and I see numerous people questioning “whether they have a transgender identity or a fetish”, attempting to determine which causes which.

In psychology we often apply systems thinking which holds that there is often mutual causality. This applies to many psychological issues. In other words, A -> B, and also B -> A. A classic example of this is in depression. Social withdrawal exacerbates depression, and depression increases the tendency for social withdrawal. This is a reinforcing feedback loop which has the danger of spiraling out of control. This is also one of the things that makes it difficult to treat. One of the ways in which we might try to break this feedback loop is to give the depressed person homework to be social even if they don’t feel like it. This is an attempt to create the reverse feedback loop, social engagement -> less depression -> more social engagement. How easy or difficult this is to do depends on the severity of the depression, it can become almost impossible in severe cases.

Likewise with depression, we encourage the person not to identify with the depression. Rather than saying I “am depressed”, it is better to say I “have depression”, or I “am feeling depression”. This externalizes it and helps the person see that they are more than the depression. This is the process of “defusion” as referenced earlier

I think there is similar feedback loop in the relationship between feminization fantasies and the schema that eventually develops into a transgender identity. It is not A -> B, or B -> A, but is A B. This forms a reinforcing feedback loop that eventually can become overwhelming. The fantasy serves an important function in the psyche, perhaps escape, anxiety relief, or even simple release. However like all anxiety relief mechanisms, over time tolerance develops and it requires more and more energy for the same effect. This process can be accelerated by using such things as porn, seeking more and more extreme stimulation. Dysphoria and the impulse to transition increases in times of stress.

After this happens, a process of identification can begin. The community even talks about this. People go from “I sometimes fantasize about being a woman / have dysphoria” -> “I think I am trans” -> “I am woman”. When this process happens dysphoria increases, it doesn’t decrease. This is reification, which is the reverse of defusion. The community celebrates this process and claims that it is inevitable so you might as well accept it. I’ve even seen people say that if you “think you might be trans then you are”. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think it does reach a point that is very difficult to come back from, but I don’t think it is inevitable in the earlier stages.

How can you try and reverse this process? Identification can be reversed by delusion referenced above. If there is a feedback loop, you can potentially create the reverse feedback loop by working on either of end of the loop. On the fantasy end, you can gradually reduce the intensity of the fantasies, and abstain from porn. Since the fantasies are serving an important role in the psyche something must take its place. Ideally something healthy like more connection, more community, good work in the world, exercise or other things that you find nourishing. Working at the end of the loop with the schema, means working through trauma or making rigid gender schemas more flexible by expanding what it means to be a man or a woman to include all of yourself.

I think people really are letting go of a false self in the process of transition, the trick is not to just adopt a second one.

37 comments

  1. This is pretty heady stuff and IMHO, well thought out. It makes a great deal of sense, As you so astutely point out, this process of reification is actually celebrated in the trans* “community” to the point where anybody that does not agree or “identify” with this trans* narrative, is demonized as an idiot, a “transphobic” heretic, or worse.

    I have had some limited online discussions with a middle-aged, part-time cross dresser who “identifies” as some vaguely defined “trans”. He occasionally admits to being what Benjamin once described as Type IV, and has on occasion commented on this blog.

    From what I have been able to understand after literally decades, shamefully masturbating, (originally in his mothers clothes and subsequently his wife’s), he recently “admitted”, (after much online “research”) that he was in fact transgender and needed to “transition”.

    After months of my pointing out some of the flaws in his “reasoning”, and months of vacillating between an “unquestionable need” to transition and the fear of losing his children, he finally settled on his current course of cross dressing as needed to relieve stress. I agreed that this was a workable and highly preferable alternative to a full blown “transition”, which would involve some serious commitment beyond which he was not prepared to go, IE: transition.

    The reason I bring up this example is that while I very much applaud this man for finding a way to deal with or “cope” with his gender dysphoria, or more accurately, his transvestic urges, I fear that his refusal to address the underlying issues will most likely result in a continuing dysphoria and an inability to form a strong, loving, and humanly rewarding relationship, at best…..and at worst, an ultimate transition for all the wrong reasons.

  2. Chasing ‘false prophets’ propounding such cleverly
    de-constructionist ‘pies in the sky’, such as “gender expression deprivation syndrome” or “cross-dreaming” will prove to be as ultimately disappointing as flaying at windmills.

  3. Good stuff. Though I think it there are many aspects that you take for granted, which can be misleading, though are aspects that would probably require each their own posts to elucidate in a satisfactorily fashion.

    Such as the popular misrepresentation of the fantasies in terms of “being feminized or becoming female”. As is common in the TG community, omitted from discussions regarding the relationship between the fetish and dysphoria, the explicit recognition of a fetish in itself, for which dysphoria and the like are additional. Also what is taken for granted, are the dynamics for which all objects of sexual desire potentially influence accompanying psychological affinities, which in the case of this fetish, people will often represent as dysphoria. You have so far covered the capacity for traumatic schemas to influence the psychological issues commonly related to the fetish, but not the influence of that which is sexually stimulating.

  4. Interesting read. I am curious, where exactly did you come up with “Basically everyone agrees that many people who transition MtF have erotic fantasies of being feminized or becoming female.?”

    I have no intentions of transitioning, but I doubt that many people go through with transition, because of an erotic fantasy. But I have seen many attempts at discrediting by flinging about the theory that this is all some sort of super involved erotic fantasy.

    What about those of us who had these tendencies and thoughts long before we were capable of achieving an erotic thought?

    1. Two fairly common mistakes here. In that there is a difference between sexual fantasy, and psychology historically derived from sexuality. Also sexuality is often overtly present from very very early in childhood, simply what tends to happen around puberty is the conceptualization (thus recognition) of sexuality and sexual behaviour as such.

    2. I was saying that basically everyone agrees that the fantasies exist. If you asked the psychology community, or various trans communities, or gender critical people, they would all say this is the case. They are a frequent topic for discussion. What people disagree about is the meaning of the fantasies or what causes what.

      I don’t think people transition because it gets them hot either, that is the point I am trying to make in the article and elsewhere. If it was as simple as that people would stop when testosterone is removed. I am trying to talk about the relationship between the fantasies and the psychological impulse to transition.

      I had fantasies of being a girl before puberty also, they started around age 5. I associated it with being safe and protected because it felt to me as a child I wouldn’t be subject to daily violence due to being at the bottom of the male hierarchy if I was a girl. The fantasies became eroticized at puberty.

      My belief is that it is ultimately the schemas around gender and the identity that is the story that explains those schemas that ultimately leads to transition, if you just have the fantasies they are just a fantasy. However, the fantasies and the erotic imprinting definitely contribute too.

      1. My sexual fantasies began around the same age in early childhood, yet psychologically speaking, the fantasies remained in isolation. That is to say that I didn’t develop memorable psychological gender schemas to help me cope with the anxieties which produced the sexual imprint to begin with. I remained a painfully sensitive and shy boy, intimidated by the excesses of macho culture. I see this same story with much of the transitioning MEFs & self-identified dysphoric MEFs. What I want to emphasize is that the bulk of gender schemas on part of MEFs appear to be overtly sexually conditioned, regardless of being pre or post pubescent (pre/post sexual conceptualization). Where a mere MEF can and often does really love the affiliations of his fantasies, even the idea itself of having a “authentic female ego”, the crucial developmental factor (as opposed to dysphoric MEFs) is that he doesn’t believe it, let alone emotionally.

        1. Yes I think the difference is precisely in whether one believes in it by constructing an identity around it or not. This identity can also develop slowly over time as well, and gradually become stronger and stronger. I think the freedom and hope lies in influencing that process, because we currently have no good way to eliminate imprinted sexual fantasies, except with ironically anti-androgens, and possibly high-dose antidepressants.

  5. This dynamic has a lot to do wish my experiences – I look at it as a type of Pavlovian training with release being the reward – it it indeed an erotic fantasy that has gone to the point of being on the brink of starting HRT. Do I take that step to fulfill my fantasy of being a woman?

    1. My experience was no matter how far I went with it, it could not satisfy the underlying need. It was an infinite quest to reach a point I could never reach, and no matter how much validation I received it never filled what I was hungry for.

  6. My apologize for being off topic. Some days ago I found a reply,maybe not in this blog, in which it was written also about “two spirits of indian american”. I ve readen their story and, if I got it, they did not use to transition phisically, but only about their role. So, I think that if in our society would be more freedom, about gender role or crossdressing, probably the transition and HRT won t exist… so, the biology explanation of HBS it s not so supported. And a psychological or sexual explanation ” fits” well!

  7. “…many people who transition MtF have erotic fantasies of being feminized or becoming female”

    This is a key phrase which also caught my attention. I have to agree with Nadine that transitioning MtF to satisfy/realize or ‘live out’ these erotic fantasies would be a grave error. Sadly this issue is rarely discussed or deeply explored in the “therapeutic” sessions of the “gender analysis” ostensibly engaged in or hopefully required prior to beginning a fundamental re-alignment of the endocrine system (HRT), and/or taking the even more radical step of surgically rearranging the sexual configuration of one’s genitals.

    I also think that Nadine’s observation that this idea that, (many people who transition MtF have erotic fantasies of being feminized or becoming female”, is used to discredit people who do transition is also quite valid. The problem that I see is that while some of us did in fact have sexual fantasies more in line with those that a genetic female might experience, such as sex ‘as a female’ with a male, those fantasies had nothing to do with clothing or make-up, or some magical or ‘forced’ feminization as seems to be the case in most TG/TV fiction.

    I should point out however, that my observation has been that many people do in fact proceed through the ever more addictive steps of ‘transition’ specifically due to the Pavlovian reinforcement of those feminization fantasies. For older transitioners, these fantasies might not be as sexually charged as they were in the earlier years, but the drive to transition seems to increase with the ingestion of feminizing hormones and the ubiquitous encouragement and “support” from the trans* “community”.

    Sadly this “community” constitutes little more than a highly restrictive ‘ghetto’ having little relevance or connection with the real world.

  8. While I agree in concept, this is still mechanistic, reductionist thinking. The psychologist’s lens through which you are viewing your world still colors everything, as you attempt to dissect and probe causality.

    But humans aren’t machines, and our souls can’t be reduced to electrical impulses and mechanisms. We can theorize, generalize, and assume. Often we’re right in that way, but our assumptions can’t cover everything, in the way that scientists guess at things like “dark matter” to explain forces unexplainable by visible causes or current knowledge.

    The psychiatrist’s assumption is that a human is a reactionary machine, no more than a product of its programming and inputs, and that with a change of chemistry or a change in programming, the human can be different. Again, while there is demonstrable proof of this, it does not cover all situations or cases, so there remain unknown factors.

    There is the tale of three blind men attempting to describe an elephant. The first touches the elephant’s tail, and “sees” a rope. The second touches a leg, and tells of a tree. The third touches the trunk, and equally certainly sees a snake. It is my view that humanity cannot yet see the whole elephant.

    For me, personally, I am past the questioning. I don’t care why I am the way I am, or how I got this way. I can live within, or without, society’s gender boundaries. I choose without as the alternative that increases my mental peace. With mental peace comes happiness, then productivity, health, wealth, etc. And I learned something very important: when I embraced my difference, my oddity… everyone else did, too.

    Because, in reality, what is disease? It is two words: dis+ease. This is the root of illness. This is why stress kills, but no one knows because the mechanism can be heart attack, cancer, anything. What is the cure? Atone. At+One. You must be at one with yourself.

    This is how psychology does a grave disservice to the two-spirit. For the two-spirit, to be at one means to be two. But western reductionist thinking does not allow this. To that mind, the two can only be one, so if you don’t fit one box, you must be modified to fit into the other. This process only further reinforces the gender binary that creates only two boxes for all.

    For all the young people who don’t fit in a box: you don’t have to. You can think outside of a box, and you can live outside of one too. Just remember that Life doesn’t come with an “easy” button. Living outside of a box is harder than living inside one, but also more rewarding. Freedom awaits only those who work for it.

    1. Yes, I am definitely viewing things through a psychological lens in this post. I try to view things through multiple lenses but this here is a psychological view. Systems thinking is however an attempt to acknowledge the limitations of reductionism, by acknowledging emergent properties “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, and the interactions between parts and the feedback loops.

      I found the idea of two-spirit to be quite fitting in my own experience, because that was what it felt like, that I had two different selves, although the female one took control and suppressed the male one. I am perhaps biased towards integration because I found this to be a disharmonious state and the spiritual path for me towards wholeness lie in integrating those two selves together. Now, I don’t experience myself that way at all, although I am still a person that fits in both the male and female worlds, and participates in activities that are almost all male and almost all female. Ironically, I fit better into the female world when I started presenting as male again, though I am an androgynous person. I also agree with you that accepting yourself and expressing yourself within and outside society’s gendered norms is the key thing.

      What I am most concerned with is the changing of the body and if that is being done unnecessarily. For me, it was not expressing my feminine aspects that was harmful, it was attempting to change my body to emulate a female body that was harmful.

      1. Well said. Integration, harmony, wholeness.

        The Hippocratic Oath dictates that medical professionals “First, do no harm”. The guiding principle is to start with the mildest, least harmful treatments, before moving up to stronger medicine.

        It therefore seems obvious to be that the young gender-questioner should first be encouraged to seek integration, enlightenment; wisdom. Traditionally these things come from the elders. The path to wisdom may be difficult and sometimes painful, but it is never harmful, and it is never a bad thing to try. I don’t propose to write laws forcing this, but I would like to see more gender therapists exercise some common sense here.

        The medical orthodoxy, contrariwise, starts with the potentially dangerous (hormones) and works its way — far too quickly in many cases — to permanently life-altering surgeries. “First, do no harm” is right out the window. There’s little profit in doing no harm, I suppose.

        So now we get to the important question: where is the young questioner to find advice? Not just any advice, but reliable advice from someone who has experience? Maybe I should use another word. There’s much advice out there, but little wisdom. It is wisdom we should seek.

        It is wisdom borne of experience dispensed in your blog. Keep up the good work.

        1. I do not know how in US is. But here in Italy you must go at least six months to the therapist before HRT, then live for two years in the other sex before surgery… So here fortunately we are more cautios! However I think the same thing of you: do not harm…but we have forgotten this principle.
          I think that, historically about, surgery began to be used only for a few people some decades ago and only with worst patients… maybe also for experimenting if it would have work!
          Then the number of patients started to rise and they couldn’t use other treatments, because unknown…
          But now, the phenomen is so known that we should integrate the two-spirit tradition and stop with surgery, cause is permanent…

          I also do not understand a thing with psycologies…if I have, for example, an ugly noise, they tend to make accept myself with my face. But if I do not like my penis they donot use the same treatment…

          1. Like most things in the US, it varies a lot depending on what state you are in and what city you are in. In many liberal cities in the US these days you can more or less get hormones on demand or after 1 session with a therapist. We do require 1 year cross-living for bottom surgery on the MTF side typically, but not for top surgery for either FTM or MTF. It is really up to the surgeon what they require though because there is no law around this.

            1. I cannot believe that they treat the disphoria in such simply way! Why are we moving toward simplify the burocracy about sas instead avoiding srs, giving that the phenomen is getting diffused???

        2. Thanks, I absolutely agree with starting with the mildest treatments and the moving to the more severe one. I think hormones and surgery can be a treatment, but they are the most severe one and should be treated with caution accordingly. It is also challenging to develop the more mild treatments as I am trying to do because of the political climate. People see it as an attack on their identity. I don’t envision eliminating transition, hormones and surgery, but rather allowing alternatives for those that can use them.

          I am very concerned with the young questioners, one of the issues with the trans community is it has few elders. People are either considering transition or very recently transitioned and tend to drop out after that. This was true when I transitioned as well. I am particularly concerned with those in the community who believe that if you ever feel dysphoria you must transition or die, and those that actively censor other opinions.

  9. I think that the latter part of what MC has written, offers us an excellent example of just what it means to be “trans”*. If one is indeed “trans”* or “two-spirited” then despite the sanctions and hardships imposed by society it seems the best course is to somehow make peace with that condition.
    The question then becomes just how one arrives at that ‘peace’.

  10. Sally,
    It is astounding to me the amount of resistance I have received (in general) to my suggestion that there is a place in a society for people like me, without having to be surgically altered to fit into a box.

    When mind and body don’t quite match, we’re told that a regimen of drugs and expensive surgeries are needed to force the body into compliance with the mind. (They cannot change the skeleton, the body’s structure, the chromosomes, and certainly not the DNA which programs those features.) Yet no one proposes that one change the mind to match the body. This seems to me the easier and cheaper option.

    I have been told, on numerous occasions, that what I suggest is impossible; that the mind cannot be changed. I find this assertion ridiculous. The entire self-help section in your local bookstore is dedicated to the proposition that the mind can be changed. We know this concept by many names. It is termed by Nietzsche as the “will to power”. There are many ways to describe the process, from ancient times (shamanism), more recent (meditation, yoga, etc), to modern (meta-cognition, brain hacking). These are merely different paths to the same door.

    But few people wish to learn mastery over their own selves. This is a course of action which cannot be forced. Each person’s path to it is different, though all share similarities. No one can tell you your path.

    I share my thoughts because I am deeply disturbed at what is taking place. I read of children ‘diagnosed’ as ‘transgendered’ and put on artificial hormones or blockers before they have learned to multiply. Children who should still be innocent of such things are being poked and prodded, and their minds twisted, by adult ‘experts’ who should be cognizant of the fact that children, too young to have developed critical thinking capacity, will accept what they are told. If I had been born 20 years later than I was, I might be such a child, altered and re-categorized before ever coming of the age to learn my own path.

    These children are being told that they are mistakes, and that the nice doctors are going to fix them. Yet a few parents are experienced and wise enough to perceive that it’s rather the society’s failings that are at odds with the child. If this idea catches on, and the young third-gender child today is told, “you are rare and different than the majority, but the times they are a’changin’. By the time you are an adult no one will remember why being different is bad.”, then I see the number of ‘transitions’ involving medical intervention dropping to somewhere around zero.

    Only now, as my hair grows strands of grey, can I look back to see that my path has been the right one, and whether it’s because I have decided it for myself, or because it was chosen for me all along, I know not. I know only that the ‘trans’ orthodoxy, as we know it today, is desperately misguided.

    1. i talk from my Pov. technically we cannot modify our brain from the inner…because if we stay better in the other sex, i cannot hit the head to the wall for changing my idea. But this does not mean that we must follow our mind. Imagine if I am pedophile and I want to satisfy my impulses…should I? I cannot, so I d like to be my brain modified maybe surgically, for erasing my “wrong”ideas. I don t think that erasing my crossdresser impulses is ethically correct, but find a way,maybe by neuro-surgery, for cope with my genitalia is just.

      1. ” technically we cannot modify our brain from the inner”

        That is right and wrong simultaneously. If you believe you cannot change your mind, then you cannot. Once you know that you can, you can.

        Every new thing you learn, every book you read, every repetitive motion you train your muscles for, is re-wiring your brain. Education re-wires your brain. It compounds like interest — everything you learn enables you to learn more than you could have learned before. Just like arithmetic enables you to learn algebra, algebra creates the foundation for geometry, and building on those you can learn calculus. Or language — each new word in your vocabulary enables you to understand more concepts. You cannot start a child with calculus or nuclear physics textbooks.

        If you really believe that you cannot re-train your brain, it’s simply because you have not yet learned how to do it. Thus you cannot see how it is possible. Or you do not realize that you already know how, and are already doing it every day.

        Let me be perfectly clear: I am not suggesting that anyone can erase their impulses. I did not, at any point, make a conscious decision to be what I am. Some things are simply a part of us. But we can change how we mentally deal with those things.

        For example, we always read of the crossdresser who hides in the closet, wracked with guilt. Then he might at some point gain enlightenment, go out in public, and lose the guilt. He has not rid himself of the behavior, but he has rid himself of its negative internal consequences. This is catharsis, in one manner of speaking. And it is re-wiring the brain, absolutely.

        When the nascent transsexual is told, and reinforced every day, that he must follow certain steps, acquire prescriptions and recommendations and name changes and surgeries, that too is brain re-wiring. He is simply becoming what he is told he will become if he follows the steps, but instead of discovering his own path, he has relinquished control of his destiny to others.

        The bottom line is this: you will inevitably change your brain, no matter what you do. The outcome is up to you. Life is a choose-your-own-adventure book.

      2. As we see with (imprinted) fetishes in general, they are permanent. Where it is the paedophile, people generally accept that whether he acts on and his feelings regarding the fetish, is a matter of psychology/ideology/ethics.

      3. The mind is changeable in some ways and not changeable in other ways. Hopefully over time we learn more about how to make more things changeable.

        We often cannot control what our impulses are but we can control our responses to our impulses. This is one of the reasons I value the process of mindfulness, because it opens the gap between stimulus and response. That is the place where there is choice. We all have impulses that we cannot follow and impulses that we can. This is not an easy task and I am still far from mastering it.

  11. I think what is evident from the above discussion is the old cliché that “there are different strokes for different folks”. I think it is presumptuously biased to presume that what has worked for you, (albeit to a clearly debatable level of success), would work for others. Similarly it would be equally erroneous to presume that what did NOT work for you, would necessarily not work for others.

    IMHO it is this projection of personal needs/values etc, and over generalizations that are the root causes of so much misunderstanding, and life wreaking misdiagnoses.

    While MC has rather clearly described what worked/works for him, I would like some more info on what went wrong for TTT.

  12. Sally: “I think it is presumptuously biased to presume that what has worked for you, (albeit to a clearly debatable level of success), would work for others.”

    On the contrary, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that what works for one person will work for (some) others — but not ALL others. It would not be reasonable, rational, or logical to take the opposite position, that what works for one person WILL NOT work for others. I have heard — many times, in fact — those exact words you used. They sound good, but usually aren’t thought completely through.

    I will not at any time suggest that what works for me will work for everyone. But I promise you it will work for some, perhaps many. Maybe most. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide, because I am not going to include a “YMMV” disclaimer with everything I ever write.

    Sally: “IMHO it is this projection of personal needs/values etc, and over generalizations that are the root causes of so much misunderstanding, and life wreaking misdiagnoses.”

    We could here point out that most ‘diagnoses’ of ‘gender dysphoria’ or whatever the politically correct term of the week, are made by cis-gendered professionals who have zero life experience to inform them what it’s like to be us. An analogous situation would be that a doctor needn’t have cancer to diagnose it in a patient… but he will lack any understanding of what it’s like to have cancer, to be in the patient’s shoes. So it does surprise me that so many gender-othered people are so quick to believe everything the cis professional tells them.

    I don’t have a PhD. Nobody calls me Doctor. But I have been there, done that… I’ve struggled, and I’ve won. I’d like to think that means my words carry some weight, even when they’re not the words the trans* industry wants to hear.

  13. MC makes a number of excellent points. It was presumptuous of me to presume that he was suggesting that what works (worked) for him would work for everybody. I was wrong and I apologize.

    It is obvious that the vast majority of those studying/researching this “phenomenon” are “cis” and do not have any direct experience with how it actually “feels”. I have to agree with MC that lived experience certainly does give one a voice in this discussion and it was my mistake to so cavalierly dismiss it.

    Despite coming from a completely different perspective, (essentially a polar opposite from nearly everyone here), I find myself in agreement with almost all of the observations made, except those made from some dogmatic or ideological platform.

    1. “Despite coming from a completely different perspective, (essentially a polar opposite from nearly everyone here)[…]”

      How is it you can be a polar opposite to so many different viewpoints? 🙂

      Seriously, though, I’m keen to hear where it is you’re coming from. Your above critiques of the trans*®™ “community” sound a lot like mine.

  14. First I want to thank you for sharing your experience, it is invaluable for me to read someone who has gone through the jorney im going and gone back. I understand you´ve been thinking all these for many years.
    I am 25 yold and i live has a female I have been in HRT for about 2 years.. anyway… i tried to do not do the transition i really tried.. but.. i couldnt stop it…
    I see a lot of patterns of what you describe in myself, I was 5 when gender dysphoria started and the fantasies about 15 … And well… i think its just a part of myself and i dont think its “wrong”… i like to think my body is femenine … :3 and yep it turns me on to think i am hot, and i really enjoy my body..
    Well i started thinking something and I would appreciate it if you answer one question i have about you :3 plzzz….
    Now you think in a very different way from what you used to 20 years ago when you decided to transition, you are not the same person, i cant stop thinking you are “thinking the past with a perspective from today” what of course is not valid, because you are not the same, maybe 20 years ago it was necesary to live as female, and today it is not … and i think thats cool.. you decided to live your youth as a woman
    my question is:
    IS EXPRESION OF GENDER IDENTIDY MORE NEEDED IN YOUTH??
    DOES GENDER INDENTIDY MODIFIES Whttps://gravatar.com/site/signup/ITH THE TIME?
    thats my question, what do you think????..
    PD Sorry about my english, it is not my favorite language.

    1. It is very true that I am not the same person I was then, and I don’t think there was anyone that could have stopped me then, and I certainly didn’t have the knowledge to stop. Sometimes I think about what might happen if I were to encounter the me of 20 years ago, and I am not sure if even I could have stopped that person given where they are, even with what I know now.

      Though I am pretty clear that the need to live as a female was not in and of itself a move to self-actualization, it was just the best I could do to be myself. I did have some cool experiences and interesting adventures for sure, but I had a lot of struggles with dissociation, emotional instability, body tension, and bad relationships.

      I don’t know if there is more of a need for gender expression in youth, plenty of people transition in mid-life for instance. Identities can and do change over time. I think of identities as just stories that you tell about yourself. They aren’t essential, although they sure can seem that way.

      1. I think that he use or definition or the term ‘identities’, needs more clarification or definition. Otherwise misunderstandings, false assumptions and more misinterpretations are likely to occur.

        I believe that is these misunderstandings and misinterpretations about the meanings of such terms that leads to so many problems for so many people.

        This is why I alays have people conflating such terms as trans-sexual and trans-gender….apples and oranges

    2. (I know this is not aimed at me, but this stood out:)

      “i cant stop thinking you are “thinking the past with a perspective from today” what of course is not valid, because you are not the same, maybe 20 years ago it was necesary to live as female, and today it is not”

      It’s completely valid. It’s called “reflection”. As we get older, we look back on our past, and attempt to analyze it… and maybe we learn from it. It’s how we have evolved as a species.

      We can’t change our yesterdays, but we can learn lessons to apply to our todays and tomorrows. And we can tell the impetuous youth that the thing they are about to do is not wise, because we were once in their shoes.

  15. ” And we can tell the impetuous youth that the thing they are about to do is not wise, because we were once in their shoes.”

    LOL…Good luck with that! 😉

  16. ““i cant stop thinking you are “thinking the past with a perspective from today” what of course is not valid, because you are not the same, maybe 20 years ago it was necesary to live as female, and today it is not”

    I am going to respond to this as well in order to provide just a bit of perspective. For me, and I will emphasize that the following applies to my own personal experience in my life and may or may not have any relevance whatsoever to the experience of others. In fact, I will venture a guess that it will hold no relevance at all to most of the folks who have commented thus far.

    I was 22 when I finally accepted the fact that in order to have any chance at all at a normal life, I would have to undergo a complete and total change of sex. I had spent my entire life running and hiding and trying to deny this reality and in the end it was just scariest thing that I could ever even conceive of doing.

    This took place in the very early 1970’s. The surgery was still pretty new in the US and I was probably one of the earliest attempts. Interestingly enough, while the criteria for what was considered an “acceptable” candidate for what was still considered an experimental procedure were still in the developmental stages, IE: they were sill being formulated, I was accepted on the basis of a surprisingly short initial interview with the surgeon’s office manager.

    Just prior to my surgery, I met with the surgeon and he explained to me all the gory details and all the potential dangers and shortcomings of what he expressly described as an experimental surgery. He told me that initial results from other surgeons in Europe and elsewhere were “promising”.

    Looking back over what is now approaching close to half a century, I have to say that that doctor saved my life. Despite all the pain, and trust me there was a great deal of seemingly never-ending pain, it was absolutely the very best thing I have ever done for myself. That surgery not only saved my life, but it has allowed me to live a full and rewarding life, in which I have, and continue to enjoy countless blessings including the love and comfort of my husband and his children and grand children.

    Did I “need” to “transition” when I did? Absolutely!

  17. Why do you supposed that male who want a female body for sex have a depression ?

    I have NO depression but dysphoric mood which goes between : anxiety, irritability, desperation, apathy, bad energy but not real depression.

    Depressions is something that last for a long time, months. When I feel depressed it lasts 3 days at most, often a few hours, and is triggered by a visual stimulus : a woman.

    I have NO shame, NO guilt, NO will to change my fantasy as it is HOW I WORK mentally, HOW THE DRIVE lives and dies : with a female body in my head.

    I just want a 100% female body but I know it is not possible so I feel lost and unhappy.

    I know that I could be trans but for me trans are not woman but trans.

    I could be trans, but it would make me a third rate citizen and I want to ve a man to have the POWER of women, the POWER of the female body, not to lose all social power.

    Why do i think that women have a power I do nt have despite the fact i do not want sex with them while they want sex with me ! Strange !

    Because I know that most men would kill to have sex with women and because I WANT to be them and they don’t want to be me hence they have a power on ME ! They are like an idol I want to be and see like better than me.

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