Sex dysphoria

Some find that the most distressing thing about the dysphoria they experience as trans people is their physical sexual organs.

For me, transition was an attempt to express my true self. My gender is feminine, I am most comfortable responding in a feminine way, and part of my problem is that I conflated the symbols of femininity, such as the soft floral sweater, with the underlying reality, the will towards support and reconciliation; or that symbol of masculinity, the penis, with what you do with it- do you penetrate, or become enveloped?

People conflate symbols and reality. How could I communicate my femininity except by transition? Body language can communicate femininity without particular clothes. We also conflate transsexualism with transgenderism- the protected characteristic in the Equality Act is “gender reassignment”, the protected group “transsexual persons”, and doctors give hormones and surgery to a man who is feminine.

There was one thing I could do: become transsexual, which means expressing myself differently, but also dressing like a transsexual and altering my body like a transsexual.

That tweed skirt suit with the frumpy little frills on it, fashionable some time in the 1980s, that you like because you know no better- or those gorgeous elastic-sided long boots, with a bit of a heel- these things are unnecessary, and some make a thing of it. “I wear jeans far more than I wear skirts”. And I would rather wear dresses. It makes me feel more comfortable. Using the symbol gives me permission to express myself in that way.

And “I am female. Being male hurt” said someone. I read that, I may be wrong, as needing the body to be changed. That is not a signal, as you show it to very few people- unless it is a signal to yourself. Yes, I am a true transsexual, I have had the operation. I feel I had the operation because of social pressure. It was expected.

It is a package. Way of being + way of presenting + physical changes. If I could have tolerated the way of being without the way of presenting, that would have been better, but it seemed impossible to me. Then, if I could have had the way of being and the way of presenting and realised that did not necessitate physical changes I might regret…

I understand that some people have physical changes without fully transitioning. AMAB people who present male but have had surgery, or hormones meaning they need a binder to get through the working day. So I have heard, but never heard from anyone like that directly. If this is you please do say. And some have the operation because it is what matters most, and transition, but don’t go for the “feminine” presentation. Though women wear jeans, and can use them to look feminine/signal femininity.

Just because I now feel I had the operation because of social pressure does not mean that everyone does, and certainly not that anyone else would believe that of themselves. Dysphoria arises from my place in society, and I felt that surgery would alter that place- it did, but not enough. Still there is the feeling that real trans women want surgery, as well as the feeling that trans women should not have to be sterilised to be recognised, both held strongly.

We could accept each others’ variation if we did not feel so scrutinised by the general public. You do not need an excuse to be as you are. Neither do I, it just felt that way. I do not need to find excuses for others- this fat person has a slow metabolic rate, that gay person was the opposite sex in a former life; but people do.

3 thoughts on “Sex dysphoria

  1. More hearsay, here, but I do know two cross dressers who have been undergoing hormone regimens for years. They still consider themselves to be cross dressers, rather than transgender women. When they are presenting themselves as men (to family, work, friends) they feel they are men. When they present themselves as women, they feel they are women; the effects of the hormones help to make them feel more “genuine.” The way I see it, they’re binding something in order to be, or do, either. I’ll admit to having a hard time understanding this behavior. The main reason I felt it necessary for my own transition was to relieve myself of the dichotomy.

    Being unable to be on female hormones for health reasons, I am transitioning with a low-grade fuel (whatever naturally occurring hormone levels I have). Still, my levels have been found to be similar to a cis woman’s in her 60s. I think that hormones either fuel one or fool one, though. As much as I would like to experience their effects on my mind and body, I am OK with the fact that I really only had to strip away my male facade to be able to live as a woman. I don’t need the physical changes to be who I am. I only needed the permission to express my true way of being , which I do also enjoy making manifest through my presentation – be it in jeans or an evening gown.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I was presenting female all weekend but still male at work I found Monday mornings unbearable. Possibly that was because of too rigid an idea of what “being a man” meant, which dividing my behaviour between Clare and Stephen made more rigid.

      I knew someone slightly through trans groups who I understand had genital surgery while still presenting male at work, but that seems so weird to me I am more inclinded to discount my understanding.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wonder if there are people with an innate ability to compartmentalize their gender(s). I tried to make myself do it for many years, but it eventually became unbearable for me to switch my presentation back and forth. It also became unbearable for my family, and so for their sake and mine, the only choice was to begin transition. At least it was a decision to move forward in life and get away from the vicious cycle I’d created. It was definitely more of a “coming to” than it was a “coming out.”

        Liked by 2 people

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