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.