Dysphoria is very ordinary

Many trans people talk about dysphoria as if it is some mysterious thing, that cannot possibly be comprehended by others. Having experienced gender dysphoria, I actually think it is a very ordinary thing. It is the discrepancy between how one would like the world to be and how the world is. You want your body to be one way, and it is a different way. You want to be treated in one way and you are treated in a different way. You want to be seen in one way, and you are seen a different way. This is really a universal experience, shared by all human beings. I find it helpful to see that, it helps to create empathy and compassion, rather than separation and isolation.

It then follows that anything that increases the gap between how you would like the world to be and how it is will increase dysphoria and anything that decreases that gap will decrease dysphoria. Frequently, people report that when they come to a point of identifying as transgender rather than questioning, their dysphoria increases rather than decreases. This is not surprising because they have increased the gap between how they would like the world to be and how the world is. Now being seen as your birth sex hurts more, because you have solidified your idea of being otherwise. The pain of being misgendered increases greatly after taking steps to transition because you have committed to the idea of the world seeing you as the gender you identify with, and they don’t. The more rigid these ideas, the more suffering that there is.

When faced with the challenge of the world being different than you would like it to be, there are two things that you can do to reduce that gap. One is to change the world so that it is more to your liking and the other is to accept the world as it is. It is like the classic serenity prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”

When it comes to gender, there are things you can change it is true, you can change your hormones, you can have surgery, you can change your name, you can change the way you behave in the world. However, you cannot completely change your sex, you cannot control the perceptions of others. Not accepting those two facts, will lead to endless suffering.

I remember having dysphoria that was so severe. It was very important to me that everyone perceive me as female. Whenever this failed in some way I would create some rationalization for why it happened. Sometimes that wasn’t possible, and I would go into a tailspin. I even moved to a place where people were less trans aware in order to attempt to be perceived as female. That didn’t work either. I wanted the world to be other that it was. I still had body dysphoria after surgery because I wanted my body to be other than it was. The only way out, was the path of acceptance. That was what helped to let go of dysphoria, not changing my body, not attempting to convince everyone I was born female, not attempting to convince myself that I was female in every way.

You can change your body or not, but without the acceptance, the dysphoria will not go away. If you are dependent on other’s perceiving you a certain way, that won’t work either, because you do not control the perceptions of others. This acceptance is essential for any path through this maze, whether transitioning or not, going on hormones or not, having surgeries or not. So why not start with that first? I know for myself, if I had practiced this acceptance first, I would have not needed to change my body. I am not sure what is true for you, but I do know we all need to confront the fact the world is other than we would like it to be.

48 comments

  1. This is something that really has to be said and stressed. The necessity of problematizing the term “dysphoria”, which is usually works to obscure an understanding of the very affiliations which are being represented and thus can greatly mislead. This essay still represents a quite somewhat orthodox understanding of dysphoria (the discrepancy between mind & body), where I see that there are some crucial dynamics directly at play in regards to sexual desire & fantasy, thus their fulfilment, lack thereof & escalation, which are common to all sexuality. Especially elucidating, are situations where our fetish is compared to common sexuality or other fetishes. Where for example, a “normal male” & a MEF would feel the same type of (sexually motivated yet in the absence of explicit physical stimulation) feelings for say, a lady in a sexy minidress in public. The “normal male” is used to thinking and understanding that his emotional longing to make love to the woman is sexual, yet for the MEF, he will represent his emotional desire to wear her clothes, to be in her place and so forth, as instances of “dysphoria”.

    1. I am talking here about the experience of dysphoria, not the sexual dynamics that only exist in a subset of MTF transitioners. Trans people of all types report dysphoria. I am suggesting that this is a subset of one of the classical roots of human suffering, which is wanting to the world to be different than it is.

      1. Agree. The dysphoric dynamics I talked of were regarding the dysphoria on part of what are commonly referred to as autogynephiliacs (masochistic emasculation fetishists).

        1. A rather late reply but is that actually the definition of autogynephilia?

          As I recall from reading various texts on the topic, AGP does not entail masochism nor even emasculation (I’m taking that word to mean castration in this case) given that some people of that nature for instance are mostly focused upon secondary sexual characteristics and gender roles.

          Would it even really be a fetish? My understanding basically accords with Wikipedia’s definition “Sexual fetishism or erotic fetishism is a sexual focus on a nonliving object or nongenital body part” (and I seem to recall reading some Literature which indicated that its meaning was restricted to non-humans) but if one’s focus was upon genitalia then it wouldn’t really be a fetish in that case.

          I may be way off base on what the actual scientific definition of a fetish is though, if I am please let me know.

          1. I think the classical definition of AGP doesn’t include masochism or emasculation. I do see AGP type fantasies as a subset of a larger set of fantasies that involve feminization / emasculation in some way. For example, sissification fantasies aren’t really AGP and don’t have to do with becoming a woman necessarily, but they show up the same genre of porn and erotica, and there seem to be a lot of overlap between the two.

            1. That’s a good point, but it seems to me that a greater overlap is found between transexual erotica and transformation erotica more generally.

              I have certainly read accounts of others whose fantasies started as more becoming an animal and occasionally another person (but not necessarily other sex) before or around the beginning of puberty.

              Which does I think beg the question of whether this is more about gender or species dysphoria or more about a profound desire to escape the Self.

              A sex change could be conceptualized as a type of suicide.

              I don’t recall any mention of this in Lawrence’s book though, but even more mainstream work of this nature like Chalker’s books is all about transformations, including a lot of non-human transformations.

              1. Yes, there is some overlap there, as well as with bdsm themes, and infantilism a few others. I do think there is a common theme of escape from the burden of responsibility and dominance with many of these elements of erotica.

                I also do think there is a strong element of escaping the self as well in some people’s transition stories.

                Trans people are overrepresented in furry fandom, and scifi fandom, and brony culture and these all have a common element of fantasy to some degree.

                Also going back to earlier comments people on the autistic spectrum are more likely to have alternative erotic interests, more likely to be interested in things like scifi and other geekdom, and more likely to be trans. It all interconnects in some way but sorting out what causes what is difficult.

          2. AGP is a recent attempt to understand what is actually a masochistic emasculation fetish (sexual arousal by the association of oneself to symbols of emasculation), to which the “idea of being a woman” is a common theme abstracted and mistaken to be a fetish in it’s own right.

            The common sense understanding of “fetish” is hopeless. In sexuality, there is nothing other than fetishism. The very symbolism we take for granted and represent as hetero, homo & bi desire, is fetishistic.

  2. For wxhluyp its only about sexuality since that’s what his experience has been all about as witnessed by his focus.

    However more and more researchers now say that gender identification is something that happens in the brain of a fetus mere weeks after the sexual organs have developed

    Sexual anatomy and gender identity, therefore, are both products of the brain and are the result of two different brain processes. (Sexual orientation is a third.) And brain processes, we now know, especially in a developing fetus, can be affected by myriad genetic and environmental influences. Just like sexual attraction, therefore gender identity isn’t something we choose. It’s something we’re born with.

    How you grapple with a misalignment is then up to you.

    1. gender identification is like religious identification, yes both does happen in the brain and if you probe deep enough you can maybe find some pattern why some people is more inclined to be religious.

      1. I think the analogy with religious belief is a good one and one I’ve been thinking about recently, and have seen a few other places. When I am talking about narratives, sometimes people hear that as trivializing, but when I am talking about narratives they are actually things that rise to the level of religious beliefs which is what can make it difficult to talk about.

        Also I keep hearing people arguing about brain studies to determine the “validity” of trans identity. The idea that there are real issues that are seen in the brain and fake issues that are not seen in the brain is a false one. Almost every psychological issue shows up in the brain: depression, schizophrenia, PTSD, bipolar to name a few. It is not at all surprising that gender issues show up in the brain. If we couldn’t see them it wouldn’t really mean much either.

        1. So do you think it would be necessary to have separate discussion for those who believe gender identity like they believe religious identity? Because looking at the religious vs atheist debate everywhere, it always goes nowhere.

          1. I think that is one of the reasons it is difficult to talk about this stuff and change people’s views because we are touching on their sacred beliefs. Especially when you have two groups whose sacred beliefs directly contradict each other (like the trans activists vs. the radfems) it becomes very difficult to have a civil dialogue, and no one’s minds really get changed. I get frustrated with it a lot too, but there are people that aren’t so attached too, and those people can be reached.

    2. “For wxhluyp its only about sexuality since that’s what his experience has been all about as witnessed by his focus.” Rather in regards to the trans/dysphoric psychologies on part of fetishists, that the psychologies will routinely derive through sexual mediation. That is to say that, as is the case with masochistic fetishes in general, the object of anxiety/trauma is psychologically rendered positive by virtue of the connection to sexual stimulation, along with all the usual emotional baggage that tends to potentially accompany a sexual object.

      “However more and more researchers now say that gender identification is something that happens in the brain of a fetus mere weeks after the sexual organs have developed” No they don’t say any such thing. Biological sex brings a collection of dimensional differences (for example high aggression, high empathy), for which these differences are a constraint for how an individual may come to affiliate, and it is on the basis of cultural male-like or female-like affiliations that an individual reflexively relates themselves from others (“identifies”) as male-like or female-like. If you think “gender identity”

      When talking to Joanna here, I can’t help but think that in this discourse, that a familiarity with psychology or the social sciences is crucial.

    3. I think the overloading of the term identity makes these discussions get confused. A fetus could potentially have a precursor to gender identity, but they can’t have a gender identity because they don’t have identities at all. Babies don’t even have a self/other distinction.

      Identities in their full sense don’t exist until adolescence. This is when people try on various identities like “goth, or prep, or jock, or nerd” Prior to that they might identify with certain qualities but not in the same sense as an adolescent.

      Part of what is going with these transgender children is adults projecting adult concepts of identity on to them, I find this process very concerning. 3 year olds think they are Batman sometimes, we should not take them as oracles of their gender identity.

      Further, these identities change. I myself had a strong sense of female identity and now I don’t have any sense of female identity. Other detransitioners have similar experiences. There were historically a lot of gender-dysphoric kids that desisted at puberty. These children thought of themselves as one gender in childhood and a different one in adulthood. Identities are stories you tell about yourself to explain yourself, to create a sense of meaning and group affiliation.

      Likewise I think when someone identifies as a cross dresser or fetishist at one time in their life and then at a later time identifies as transsexual. It is not because they discovered an identity, it is because they constructed a new story to explain themselves, possibly from contact with others that held those stories.

      1. I like to look at the case of David Reimer who was raised from day one as a girl due to a botched circumcision. If you believe that the brain is not gendered at birth then here is a prime example that negates that belief.

        Reimer was only told in his teens that he had been born a boy which only then made him realize why his body did not match his true gender identity. As we all know he eventually committed suicide by age 34 because he felt his life had been ruined due to the fact that his mind and body were aligned as male from the start. Despite the botched circumcision he should have been raised a boy. John Money was wrong.

        Conversely, there are people who are raised as their biological sex and know from an early age that there is a mismatch between their brain and their body which cannot be simply explained away by using emasculation trauma. In fact many if not most of these children don’t experience any such thing. The possibility then could also exist that our brains can be partially gendered as female and as male which then creates a transgendered individual.

        I am not a proponent of transition in fact quite the opposite. I think very few people should transition and only do so when they absolutely need to but I there is too much evidence that this is not something attributable to only childhood psychological experience.

        1. David Reimer, that case which people like yourself like to take to somehow be a controlled experiment, all the while not understanding the psychological dynamics of what it even is to identify. That is to say that the presuppositions of such a proposed experiment, don’t make sense to begin with. What is more realistic, is how delusional to think that anything was controlled, that the kid wouldn’t realise that he was being forced into a role, that he didn’t have either a penis or vagina like the other kids, that it would be obvious that he was going through male puberty, otherwise be constantly taken aside for hormone therapy, and that he wouldn’t feel angst at everything that he had been subjected to. lol wasn’t it either obvious that he would be going through male puberty, otherwise. David Reimer, just lol.

          “mismatch between their brain and their body which cannot be simply explained away by using emasculation trauma.”

          An individual relates oneself from others (“identifies”) as male-like or female like, reflexively on the basis of being affiliated with affiliations which are considered to be either male-like or female-like. In the case of masochistic emasculation fetishists, the affiliations rendered emotionally pleasurable by virtue of the presence of sexual arousal, are the affiliations which will figure predominantly among the general affiliations for which one relates themselves. It is all very simple.

          “In fact many if not most of these children don’t experience any such thing.”

          For example? Like the fractions of abused children who have no memory of what actually happened to them? Then again, what makes you think that trauma is necessarily memorable? Again, in the case of MEF, it is itself the sexualization of emasculation trauma.

          1. “For example? Like the fractions of abused children who have no memory of what actually happened to them?”

            I know that I have no history of emasculation trauma. I grew up in a healthy and normal environment and have queried my mother to make sure. No one ever dressed me as girl until I did so myself at a young age and still have no idea why – she certainly discouraged it. Although I understand that I will always be male and have no intention of transitioning, I live part time as a female because my psyche requires it and I don’t have the answer as to why. Rather than continue to supress that instinct I have decided to celebrate this difference of mine.
            As I have previously stated, we all have different life experiences and are the result of a combination of factors. No one individual is like another and as with everything else in nature there are anomalies and permutations.
            People have questioned their gender identity as long as we’ve been on this planet and its only in the last 100 years that we have tried to institutionalize the process to mixed results. Perhaps the best solution would be to let people be themselves rather than to encourage transition and then find out that it wasn’t for them.
            My limited experience with institutionalised gender therapy taught me to be very wary of professional therapists who barely understand the mechanics of what is going on.

            1. You say you have “no history of emasculation trauma” (as crude as the idea is that such a phenomenon supposed to be memorable). As stated before, if you have the fetish (masochistic emasculation), it is itself the sexualization of emasculation trauma.

              1. I don’t call what I have masochistic emasculation. Part of me has always wanted to be a girl and I enjoy dressing and going out in public and interacting as a normal woman. If you do the same as me and call that masochistic emasculation then fine.

          2. “that he didn’t have either a penis or vagina like the other kids”

            David Reimer had a vagina constructed so he looked physically female in every way and wouldnt have known better unless told. He felt male because his pyche was male and had no gender confusion or dysphoria to speak of which is why he showed signs of wanting to do normal male things.

            1. From Wikipedia

              “Reimer had experienced the visits to Baltimore as traumatic rather than therapeutic, and when Dr. Money started pressuring the family to bring him in for surgery during which a vagina would be constructed, the family discontinued the follow-up visits. From 22 months into his teenaged years, Reimer urinated through a hole that surgeons had placed in the abdomen. Estrogen was given during adolescence to induce breast development. Having no contact with the family once the visits were discontinued, John Money published nothing further about the case.”

        2. I have been meaning to write an article about Reimer but haven’t got to it yet. I do believe there are sexed instincts in males and females (but there is a lot of variance and exceptions), but those aren’t identities either.

          There was a follow-up article where there were 18 boys that were raised as girls for genital related reasons like Reimer. Out of those 11 of them developed male identity and transitioned. That is quite a lot, over half. However, 7 of them did not transition. The article also goes on to say that all 18 had “male-typical interests.”

          That is my point that people can develop different identities in response to the same instincts. All of the people in the study had male instincts, but some of them developed the story about themselves that they were men, and other did not (perhaps thinking of themselves as atypical women, or non-binary or who knows)

          Also I am not convinced that the “group 3 / cross dreaming” variant of transsexualism arises from this mechanism. After all, this group of people also tends to have male-typical interests to some degree, part of what makes their adjustment to living as women more difficult.

          I don’t think it is only childhood experience either, but I do think it plays a part, like I said most things in psychology are caused by a combination of factors.

          1. I see the term “instinct” can also be too loaded and misleading. Where male-like & female-like cultural affiliations are the basis for which an individual relates themselves as being “male” or “female”, the biological influence for the affiliations seem abstract, such as a collection dimensional variables. Where one is affiliated with male-like affiliations such as football & engineering, by virtue of higher aggression & a higher position on the autistic spectrum, both usually correlated with higher testosterone. How dimensional biological properties may figure within socialization.

          2. This study you refer to I wrote about in my blog and clearly shows how the brain is gendered at birth. The fact that not all patients transitioned back to male shows how much socialization can play a role in developing a female narrative.
            Vitale Group 3 transsexuals grow up typically male but the imprinting causes them to build a story that they should have been born female and should be happier that way. What is interesting is that these late transitioners are often very much happier afterwards which is a bit counterintuitive if you have been raised as a male and were happy for at least part of that lifetime. I suppose its because they have had time to build a narrative that makes sense to them after so many years and perhaps why the satisfaction rate is so high after the surgery.

          3. I tried to find on the web the history of two spirits of native americans. I wanted to know if they used to remove their penis or breasts, but I did not find anything! I did the same months ago for the hijras of the India, and I, again, discover nothing about “Cut off”. These two cultures accepted something very similar to a third gender. My theory is that if a culture is more open to gender variance, so there is no need for surgery. And if there is no need for surgery, it means that there is not a phisical origin of the GID that legitimate the surgery. Am I wrong? Did the hijras and two spirits surgery in some way?

            1. There are a few cultures where the cross-gender role for those on the MTF spectrum involved some kind of (primitive) gender surgery. The hijra are one of them, actually. Also the cult of Cybele in the Roman empire.

              What is unique to our culture is the idea that cross-gender people actually are the same as member of the sex they identify with, and that their goal should be to pass as members of that sex. In most cultures with cross-gender roles, they are seen as neither male or female in some way, partially sharing taboos with both men and women.

              There were people that passed as the other sex for various reasons in other cultures too.

  3. “You can change your body or not, but without the acceptance, the dysphoria will not go away. If you are dependent on other’s perceiving you a certain way, that won’t work either, because you do not control the perceptions of others. This acceptance is essential for any path through this maze, whether transitioning or not, going on hormones or not, having surgeries or not. So why not start with that first?”

    An extremely valid and lucid statement TWT and one which all should heed. Transition can be a step made while still in turmoil and can continue after surgery. I found that once I was happy with who I was, my feelings of indecision about transitioning went away and I was able to better manage my dysphoria without needing to resort to any intervention. I feel that self acceptance must come first before embarking on any path.

  4. “However more and more researchers now say that gender identification is something that happens in the brain of a fetus mere weeks after the sexual organs have developed”

    @Joanna In a recent survey, 9 out of 10 fetuses reported feeling “trapped inside another body”

  5. ‘@Joanna In a recent survey, 9 out of 10 fetuses reported feeling “trapped inside another body”’

    Snooort! Do the doctors insert a little survey and a tiny pencil through the mother’s bellybutton? Because that would be so cute.

  6. This is a very important essay and I agree, should be standard advice to all people with gender issues. But I think you are underplaying dysphoria a little. Not all pain feels the same. A bad back is not the same as an aching tooth. Dysphoria is a peculiar type of pain and can be far more profound and damaging to the personality than other things you realise you can’t get in life.

    1. I certainly don’t mean to trivialize gender dysphoria. All these different kinds of pain are unique in part but also universal in part. I am reminded of the part of Buddhism that talks about the 84,000 causes of suffering, but they all also boil down to one cause in some way. More from Buddhism is that the pain is unavoidable but the suffering is. The pain of the bad tooth will be there, but thinking about how horrible it is, and how much you wished it was gone, and how unfair it is, those things are avoidable.

      Also dysphoria like other kinds of pain is on a spectrum, ranging from mild discomfort, to suicidal levels of pain. It can be quite horrible. Dysphoria is a peculiar type of pain, but so are they all. it is also a universal kind of pain, and so are they all.

  7. Great post. I especially like what you point out about dysphoria increasing after one begins to “identify” as transgender. I have said for a long while that gender dysphoria is actually cultivated.

    “Brain sex” science for what compels biologic males to replicate patriarchal stereotypes of female appearance & behavior is totally non-persuasive and is pretty near worthless in terms of “evidence quality.” It is largely being promoted by researchers and activists who desperately want there to be some validity to the hypothesis. In epidemiology we call this “type 1 error” — incorrectly deciding that the original scientific hypothesis of “no association” is false, when in fact it was true, there is no association. There may well be “things in the brain,” but I very much doubt it’s a “thing” that makes a man crave to “be pretty” and fulfill the patriarchy’s prescribed female sex roles. Psychosocial explanations (e.g. childhood trauma) make much more sense, perhaps in combination with common kinds of organic dysfunctions (i.e. not the purported gender-related brain glitches). Within this framework we can see that “problems with gender identity” are like lots of other kinds of hang-ups and neuroses that people tend to develop. Gender dysphoria is not as “special” as transgenderism wants it to be — it’s just another neurosis. As with many psychological problems, it may cause a lot of emotional distress and even suffering, but the question is, should we yield to the pain and let it become the obsessive focus of our lives? This would usually not be healthy, but with transgenderism, it’s the norm. There is nothing actually “wrong” with our bodies.

    Everyone has problems. It’s all about coping. For those with perceptive capacity, it’s also about trying to understand “why,” and not accepting facile explanations. Unfortunately, many of us fall into hard times, difficult patches in life when we may be a little less stable emotionally, or more susceptible to influence that we might otherwise reject. Also, many folks simply don’t have the intellectual depth or sufficiently rich psychological insight to accept the fact that there is no such thing as a “woman trapped in a man’s body.” There are much simpler, much more ordinary explanations. There are simpler and more sensible ways to “cope” with psychological pain than to pump up one’s body with dangerous hormones and undergo drastic surgeries, along with the rest of life’s upheavals that transgenderism creates and amplifies. And as you and I both discovered, after all this there is no “there” there — we are still just men. We may have been happy for a while, but in retrospect it was just a way of coping. There are better ways to cope.

    What I mean by gender dysphoria being cultivated: The growth and visibility of transgenderism in the past 20 years in rich countries correlates well with the rise of the internet. If you look at the rise of transgenderism through a lens of “dopamine desensitization” and in view of the development of a trans-enabling therapeutic culture, you might see what I’m getting at. The more we are told that these “feelings” are OK and normal, the more we want to feel them and the less satisfied we are to keep them from taking over our lives. And let’s just admit it, for the majority of men there is an erotic charge to these feelings. We cultivate the feelings. It becomes obsessive. Soon, the (often erotically-charged) feelings of dysphoria really do take over our lives and in the trans-enabling culture, we are told this is great. Here’s something I wrote about this: http://transgendersurvivor.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/porn-dopamine-and-autogynephilia/

    Men have desired to be women, and women men, probably for as long as there have been people. Transgenderism as a “thing” existed long before the internet and long before the trans-enabling culture. However, it’s only recently that there has been such an explosion and manufactured “normalization” of transgenderism.

    I am speaking from my experience of “late transitioning” male-to-fake-female transsexualism; I think younger men who “transition” (as well as many female-to-fake-males) may have issues around internalized homophobia, and other concerns with which I’m less familiar.

    1. “Men have desired to be women, and women men, probably for as long as there have been people. Transgenderism as a “thing” existed long before the internet and long before the trans-enabling culture. However, it’s only recently that there has been such an explosion and manufactured “normalization” of transgenderism”

      Very well stated!

    2. I do agree that there is a behavioral addiction component mediated by dopamine, that is what causes things to spiral. This is a classic addiction spiral, especially as eventually feminization itself rather than the sexual fantasy becomes the anxiety reduction symptom. All of these anxiety reduction methods tend to require greater and greater amount of stimulation over time. It is that, combined with constructing an identity around it that can lead some people to transition.

      I don’t think there is nearly the distinction between young and older as their used to be. This is a distinction made it some of the older literature. Similar to the distinction Anne Vitale makes between her group 1 and group 3 and that the group 3, who have some form of erotic cross dreaming tend to transition later. I was part of that group, and transitioned at 19. This was rare in my time, but is not rare today. I would guess the majority of the people in the reddit r/asktransgender group are of that type, and they are mostly in their teens and 20s.

      The thing I still find most astonishing is not that people fall into these feelings and that they exist, but that the mental health community actively encourages it. It is like people want to throw out all the rest of psychology when dealing with gender issues.

    3. “However, it’s only recently that there has been such an explosion and manufactured “normalization” of transgenderism.”

      I would call it the “monetization” of transgenderism. By defining it as a medical or psychiatric condition, the “experts” are given another line of business. The “experts”, of course, offer therapies with profit margins: pills and cosmetic surgeries.

      Even worse, they’ve designed a system of hoops to jump through: consultation, letters, pills, letters, this surgery, more letters… it’s a quest! What man can resist a quest?!

      “…for the majority of men there is an erotic charge to these feelings. We cultivate the feelings. It becomes obsessive. Soon, the (often erotically-charged) feelings of dysphoria really do take over… ”

      I don’t actually know one tranny for whom this isn’t true! The “trans community” certainly has its collective delusions. Like the delusion that “most crossdressers are straight”! Hah! I can count the number of 100% hetero trannies in my circles on… zero hands. Even the occasional one who’s happily married and never been with anyone other than his wife… is still very curious. Alcohol exposes the inner queer quite often.

      “I think younger men who “transition” (as well as many female-to-fake-males) may have issues around internalized homophobia,”

      Nail hit right on head, except I think the younger generations, being more accepting of alternative sexualities in general, will more frequently eschew the “transgender” narrative for a simple acceptance of their bisexual nature. I think SRS will decline from this point, if it hasn’t been already.

      Let’s face it: if a post-op likes sex with men, but didn’t pre-op, then there’s homophobia involved (as much as I detest that linguistic construction). Men have found ways to have naked fun together long ago, without surgical intervention. So have women.

      So, in my experience with lots of folks across the “trans”, or rather, whole LGBT(EFG*etc) spectrum, I have noticed that the surgical variety of TS-ism seems most associated with an unacceptance of bisexuality.

      For me, the epiphany was reading Heinlein novels (“Time Enough For Love”, &etc.), wherein the topic of bisexuality is rather… ho-hum. One can then imagine a future in which it’s given no second thought. Naturally, it all comes down to social mores and stigmas. It is no accident that there is far less transsexualism among women — it’s not considered nearly as socially taboo for women to be intimate with each other. And of course, the natural tendency of males to take anything to greater extremes is a factor.

  8. The admonition to acceptance here is little more than the denial of the legitimacy of transsexualism altogether. Yet mental gymnastics have done no more than achieving some modicum of composure while the pain of unmitigated gender dysphoria wracks me no less.

    1. I certainly don’t mean any admonition, and if you heard that than I apologize. I also don’t mean to minimize the suffering of dysphoria and the pain of it. It can be a horrible thing to deal with.

      I don’t think it denies the legitimacy of transsexuality to explore the dynamics involved. I do think transition is right for some people as I have said other times.

  9. I started transition several years ago. Then I stopped taking hormones and my life was on hold for a while. I got back on hormones about a year ago. Things are much smoother this time around. I think it’s because I came to accept reality. I think in the past I was trying to be something I really wasn’t. These days I am not trying to be feminine or even to really be a woman. I am just me. Some people who transition get too attached to the idea of being a woman. As along as you are focussed on being a woman (or man); rather than being yourself. Then you won’t solve the dysphoria. Letting go of that can also help you pass. If you are trying to something other than you; it’s going to show. If you are true to yourself; you will pass. Even if you aren’t the best looking. You are more likely to be perceived as a manly/ugly woman than a man in drag.

    The other important thing is that I understand that transition won’t solve all my problems. I used to think that transition would fix everything. But now I know that’s not the case. Once I wake up from SRS. My other problems will still be there. But instead of being an autistic man with depression and anxiety issues; I will be an autistic woman with depression and anxiety issues. Although these days my depression issues are nowhere near as bad they were in the past. Now I just have minor bouts of depression. In the pas I had major depression and was on meds for it.

    I am much happier as a woman. But that’s because I am being me; and that me just happens to fit the societal category of ‘woman’. I guess you could say I am an MTM; Male to Me transsexual. 🙂

    Thanks again for this site. It’s giving me some great incite into my own issues.

    1. I think the part of accepting reality and a realistic assessment of the benefits and limitations of transition is a key factor in reducing dysphoria. After that one can choose to transition or not, depending on their individual circumstances.

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