Transgender dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is discomfort caused by your assigned gender. Transgender dysphoria is discomfort arising from others’ attitudes to you being transgender.

“I used to pray every night to wake up as a girl,” people say. You experience that dysphoria, that misery, that down mood, and sometimes it’s just a background noise like living next to a busy road and having to have the window open, and sometimes it gets on top of you and you can’t think of anything else. The burden of expectations of the sex you are assigned cripples and confuses you. You are really of the other gender. And you hear about transition, and it seems a way to be truly who you are.

And then you find how difficult it is. You get abused in the street. One self-hating transgender transphobe writes trans people often experience a sense of insecurity and even shame, especially since the transitioning process can have a traumatic effect on their wives and children. Poor thing. She has traumatised her wife, and her wife, still living with her, lets her know it. I don’t know if transition traumatised her children, but she thinks so, and perhaps her continuing misery afflicts them.

Living a lie, she was affirmed as a man by her community. She could not express who she really is, but had some male privilege, which makes things easier for people. Now, visibly queer (no-one would see her as a cis woman), she gets to be herself and express the person she truly is, at the cost of prejudice and abuse. It is definitely preferable, I would say, but there is a down side.

She writes, I speak from experience when I say that it’s difficult for autogynephiles to admit the simple truth that they are simply heterosexual males who use the conceit of female self-identification as a means to rationalize their sexual attraction to a female version of themselves. So, when she transitioned, she did not think she was AGP, and that was sensible, because “autogynephilia” is a name for something that does not exist, an alleged causal link where even correlation is not established. However, now she asserts that she personally is autogynephiliac, against all the scientific evidence.

She writes, Shame is a powerful emotion, and a person who suffers from it often will be driven to control their narrative in a way that protects their sense of self-worth. So, she claims, she denied AGP because she was ashamed of it, and now she has digested that shame she can admit the “truth” that Autogynephilia drove my own transsexualism. How can this be, when AGP does not exist?

This poor sad trans woman associates with anti-trans campaigners. She has spoken at their gatherings, and had the powerful affirmation of a cheering audience. She has written for their publications, and had clicks, and all she has had to give for it was her integrity.

She transitioned, which was supposed to be the thing to free herself to be herself, the great emancipation, and she is still miserable. Therefore, she says, transition must have been based on a lie. But no- she would not be miserable but for the prejudice against trans people.

She thinks she denied the truth because she was ashamed of it, but now admits it. Rather, at first she expected to be happy transitioned, and found she was not. Faced with a wall of prejudice, she found herself with anti-trans campaigners who would affirm her if she spouted their ridiculous opinions. She has sought out that affirmation, and willingly paid the price for it.

She has not digested the shame, but sought a reason for the misery. What she did to end the misery did not work, she thinks, so the problem must be her. She was wrong to transition in the first place, because it was based on a “paraphilia”, rather than gender diversity. She finds some bizarre comfort in her delusion of having AGP- at least she does not have to defend herself from that particular hate any more. This was a stage I passed through.

She wants AGP “demystified and destigmatized” so that she suffers no shame for it, though that would also probably mean that she could not enter women’s spaces. I doubt AGP by itself could be destigmatized. Some people create hierarchies and seek reasons to despise others. Some people accept people as they are. Debbie may find she is the token acceptable transsexual with the anti-trans campaigners so imagine they have “destigmatized” AGP, but in reality they are using it to stigmatize all other trans people.

Transition makes life better. It makes us begin to resolve the contradictions within, heal the scars and introjects, and accept who we really are. And, it makes life worse for trans women. It makes us visibly queer so that we suffer street abuse and quiet discrimination. It’s just something people do. Open, tolerant societies make room for it, like the Women and Equalities Committee sought to do. Authoritarians, maintaining power through those social hierarchies, stigmatize it. Some trans women, unable to bear the pain and seeking any way out, accept the stigma.

The term “transgender dysphoria” was coined by Tina Torrontes.

20 thoughts on “Transgender dysphoria

  1. AGP is a label that tells us that we transition because we experience arousal which is not provable and is at best conjecture. The arousal itself is likely a symptom of dysphoria but I cannot prove that either. The problem is that many older trans people have ingested so much guilt and shame that when things dont go as planned they overdose on those feelings and possibly regret what they have done because of the turmoil it causes them particularly if they are not accepted by family.

    No matter what you decide to do, being trans is exceedingly difficult and no solution will give you a perfect happy ending because there is no such thing in this life. The best thing we can hope for is some sort of resolution which will buy us peace of mind.

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  2. Gender dysphoria does not have to involve “extreme discomfort.”

    The APA states this: “Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender dysphoria may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender..” (https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/gender-dysphoria/what-is-gender-dysphoria)

    I felt that this needed to be pointed out.

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  3. One thing that I forgot to say is that many transwomen confuse the arousal with being AGP which is false. We have no idea how the arousal originates so to say it causes the transition is a theory. Its amazing how often I catch this error.

    You can transition in spite of your arousal and not because of it and that proposal is as valid as any other. Also, yes dysphoria need not be extreme. Completely agree 😀

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    • Yes. AGP is false because it states, without evidence (Julia Serano again) that the arousal causes the desire to transition, where there is not even particularly good evidence of correlation let alone causation.

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    • From my own experience AGP is bullshit. Sex (self) was part of the exploration phase that I went through, but by the end of that process (which included dressing too) when I fully identified as a woman, it had nothing to do with that gender identity. Hell I’m a translesbian. So again I would not even fit into the AGP scheme.

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    • Hello.

      Why “others like her”? Loving a person, you love them as a whole- mind and body, in all moods and states. If her body is in some way sexually ambiguous, that should not put anyone off, but being attracted to a specific kind of sexual ambiguity is arcane, and a bit fetishistic I would have thought. If I were her, I would wonder if you loved me, or just my peculiarity.

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      • I have chimed in before. I wonder why it is important for some people to declare there love to someone who doesn’t fit societies ideal model. This includes intersex. If you love one truly for who they are it shouldn’t matter what their body parts are. It is one of the most invasive questions to be ask about your body parts. This goes for cis-persons too.

        Since I lasted posted here, I reported that gender dysphoria was not to much of an issue for albeit it could be intense for very small periods of time. But, I found the further I transition socially, emotionally, and physically the more often the feeling of dysphoria come on for longer duration and more intense.

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