dysphoria

Gender Perspectives Vol. 20

download[In the Gender Perspectives series, I aim to highlight diverse kinds of personal narratives and reflections on gender, gender presentation, and identity, to broaden the gender conversation and boost a variety of voices. Check out the rest of the series.]

It’s been far too long since our last installation of Gender Perspectives, and I’ve been accidentally sitting on this draft for a while, so let’s get right to what I have for you today:

My Transgender Day of (in)Visibility | Wandering Aloud

Being trans is difficult; being middle-aged and non-binary doesn’t make it any easier. I know that there is ‘no right way to be trans’ and as a rule I’m proud to be out and visible. Still, sometimes I am left with the feeling that perhaps there is a ‘wrong way’

 

What I Want | THEMAGICSPACESHIP

I want to experience the relief and joy and affirmation my binary trans friends experience when they begin to transition and the world starts to read them correctly at last. Confusion is not good enough. Avoiding referring to me is not good enough. Being read half the time one way and half the time the other, and wrong all the time, is not good enough.

 

Self-Expression After Coming Out | Queerly Texan 

My self-expression changed when I became comfortable with myself [as a lesbian], and I think that’s true for a lot of people. When you spend months, years, or even decades being uncomfortable the second you stop feeling even a tiny percentage of that awkwardness, you never want to go back.

 

Gender? I Don’t Know A Gender! | Sofhoney

What are you?

I’m me! I’m Sof. I change frequently – that goes for mood, attraction, appearance, & a whole lot of other things, too. It’s something I beat myself up over – a LOT. It’s something I’ve come to realize doesn’t matter. Not to me, anyway – some people identify very strongly with a gender or sexuality & that is great & amazing & I support & uplift those who identify that way…it’s just that I personally don’t!

 

“How has your relationship with yourself been affected since you realized you were Genderqueer?” 30-Week Genderqueer Challenge part 21

This post is part of my participation in the 30-day genderqueer challenge, which I have modified to a weekly exercise.

Today’s prompt: How has your relationship with yourself been affected since you realized you were Genderqueer?

Realizing I am genderqueer has had a profound, and wholly positive impact on my relationship with myself, in ways I find hard to articulate. It gave me a kind of freedom and new perspective to think about who I am to myself, who I am in the world, who I want to be, and who I am capable of being. All of this is true, though I am hard-pressed to say exactly why it is so.

Realizing that I am genderqueer was the start of a much larger and longer journey toward rediscovery, and toward reclaiming myself from all of the miscategorizations and mislabellings I have experienced throughout my life, (and will undoubtedly continue to experience as long as I live.)

Realizing that I am genderqueer has been instrumental in my ability to relate to and feel at one with my body. Although I do experience some degree of body dysphoria, having an understanding of that experience, and being able to articulate it to myself is an important part of being able to handle it. It helped me to better understand some of the reasons why I was so prone to dissociating from my body, which in turned helped me learn how to avoid having that happen.

Realizing that I am genderqueer, or more importantly really, simply realizing that genderqueerness exits, and that it was a thing that could apply to me, that does apply to me, released a million tensions I never knew I had been carrying around. I don’t really know what else to say about it.


Catch the rest of my 30-week genderqueer challenge here!

Gender Perspectives, Vol. 14

download[In the Gender Perspectives series, I aim to highlight diverse kinds of personal narratives and reflections on gender, gender presentation, and identity, to broaden the gender conversation and boost a variety of voices. Check out the rest of the series.]

On Gender Expression, or None Gender with Left Girl | The Gay Divorcee Chronicles
The author discusses their struggles with gender boxes, dypshoria, and their identity of “Vaguely Genderqueer But Mostly Female”:

That female box may be what is most appropriate for me to check, but it really doesn’t cover it.

It’s definitely not all of me, and it makes me extremely uncomfortable to check that box. It limits me, confines me, suffocates me. When I was trying to earn money on a survey-taking site, I actually had a bit of a breakdown at one point because I was so infuriated by the fact that I HAD TO CHECK THAT DAMN BOX.

Gender Peformance | Sighs and Sprites
A genderqueer femme discusses their struggles with internalized misogyny and anti-femme bias.

I said to a friend that I feel like a drag queen sometimes, performing femininity because it makes me feel attractive and powerful, to which she pointed out that all gender is performative. That hypermasculine dudebro’s, with their utes and beer are performing masculinity to feel attractive and powerful as well.

I understood the point she was making and I agreed fully but it wasn’t shaking this icky feeling that I had inside. Like I wasn’t really genderqueer because I’m AFAB and dress femme so often. As if there were some kind of gender non-conforming checklist of criteria that I wasn’t measuring up to. I knew this was bullshit but I didn’t feel it.

Standing on the Wrong Mountain | quizzicalsloth
The concept of evolutionary “Fitness Peaks” makes a potentially useful analogy to gender transition and identity.

I feel like I’m on peak A: I’m fairly happy with myself (most of the time) but if I think about being somewhere on peak B I feel like I would be even happier. The problem I’m seeing at the moment is that to get to that point I’m going to have to go through a time where things aren’t so good.

To Justify and Identify Gender | my love, my loathe
An intensely personal exploration of gender identity, with no definitive answers (i.e. my favourite kind, really :P)

I’ve been pondering – specifically the question of gender. Does one have to pick a single identity to truly convey what they feel? Does dysphoria, or lack there of, set a person’s identity in stone? Does dissatisfaction with the social expectations of your gender truly mean anything beyond being different?

Dysphoria and how you manage it: 30-Week Genderqueer Challenge part 5

This post is part of my participation in the 30-day genderqueer challenge, which I have modified to a weekly exercise.

Today’s prompt: Dysphoria and how you manage it

I actually wrote a bit about this not too long ago, but I didn’t really address management tactics, so here goes.

The main thing for me, in dealing with the social dysphoria that inevitably comes from being misgendered on the daily by people who just plain old don’t know any better, is constant reminders that I am not defined by how others see me. I mean, hilariously, people also tend to assume I’m straight, so given that level of obliviousness, I find it hard to be bothered when they think gender is binary also.

I find it easiest to manage social dysphoria when I my self-presentation is authentic and when I haven’t already deliberately watered down my gender ambiguity out of fear. If I’ve deliberately presented myself as binary-gendered (whatever the fuck that even means, really…), then I find it harder to shake of misgendering that occurs, because I partially blame myself, even though I know that’s not actually valid or called for. on the flip side, if I’m looking good by my own standard, and if I feel awesome about the image I’m projecting, I’m just straight-up less likely to care what other people think about what I look like, so.

As for body dysphoria, I don’t have as much experience with it. Some days I look in the mirror and am surprised at what I see. Some days I am suddenly in love with my body and some days I am shocked when my body seems gendered to me in a way I don’t want it to be. I mean, I know bodies don’t have genders, I just don’t have better words for that experience. Sometimes I look in the mirror and see a woman’s body, and I have all kinds of feelings around that. Other days, I see my body, and it is a part of me and who I am, and it is great.

I don’t have any really solid ways of dealing body dysphoria, though it is usually mercifully short-lived for me. Binding helps, but if I am in this headspace, I will really only see the ways in which binding fails to give me a distinctly masculine shape, so it definitely doesn’t get at the root of the problem, whatever that may be.

The only other thing I can do is throw myself into activities that absorb my brain, the ones that settle me into a more agender space, where I am less aware of myself as a physical being, and more just a free-floating context-free self – writing, or watching tv, or crafting can do this for me. Though I think this might actually more honestly be an “ignore it til it goes away” approach rather than an actual preventative/management measure.

So yeah, I’d love to hear others’ strategies for dealing with body dysphoria, since I don’t really have any solid ones.


Catch the rest of my 30-week genderqueer challenge here!

Gender Perspectives, Vol. 13

download[In the Gender Perspectives series, I aim to highlight diverse kinds of personal narratives and reflections on gender, gender presentation, and identity, to broaden the gender conversation and boost a variety of voices. Check out the rest of the series.]

Left out | Queering the World
Invisible Clothing | Queering the World
The author of Queering the World shares some vulnerable thoughts on how it felt for them to delay gender transition, and some of the ways they try to keep a handle on dysphoria while living as a gender they are not.

My initial enthusiasm for transition was tempered by the reality of my situation, and the realization that I was not (am still not) willing to give up everything I have to transition. That hurt – a lot. I spent several months picturing myself standing on a pier, watching all my trans brothers and sisters get on a boat, headed for the great shore of transition, embarking on the journey to realize their true selves.

It still hurts that I never saw myself get on the boat with them.

When Your Transition Starts to Stop | Jensgender
Jens discusses navigating the strange feelings that come with realizing that “transition” may be a stage that is largely behind him.

…this gender thing, a “journey” as so many people have called it (it’s basically a trope tbh), feels like it’s slowing down a lot. Things aren’t as exciting. The honeymoon phase of stepping into manhood is totally over.

It’s just such an interesting place to be.

Be Yourself! But not Like That! | yetanotherlefty
Liam talks about the strange tension of potentially-well-meaning people using progressive attitudes toward gender to invalidate trans people’s identities and experiences.

I would be rich if I had a quid for every time someone tried to convince me that I should be able to live as a cis woman instead of as a trans man.
People told me (as if I somehow didn’t know) that women can dress in men’s clothes, that women can do and be anything men can, that it’s okay to be a lesbian, that it’s okay to be butch, that women can be androgynous and still be women… And I don’t disagree with any of these things! They just aren’t reasons why I should be someone I’m not.

My old self vs my new self and why I’ll never “go back” | Queer Reflections
Logan Soeder talks about his relationship to his past – pre-transition – self, and the person he is now.

I am so comfortable in my own skin now that I can’t imagine going “back” to the way I thought. Of course I can still dress the way I used to but it’ll be MY desire to. I am not sorry to those who are disappointed by this.

Dysphoria: the other thing I’m talking about when I talk about being triggered

Somehow when I wrote my last post about what it feels like to be triggered around my past trauma, I completely forgot about the other kind of trigger I experience. I sometimes struggle with gender-related dysphoria, and it is an entirely different thing from the other kind of trigger.

The dysphoria I experience around my gender is triggered almost exclusively by moments of realization that other people haven’t just automatically categorized me into a binary gender in their heads, but when their way of interacting with me seems to be coloured more by this misconception than it is by the actual person standing in front of them (namely, me).

These moments are, for me, a weirdly out-of-body experience, almost. I immediately get this very weird sense that what is happening is not real. It feels more like a dream, like something I am watching from a position floating above everything. Like maybe I was accidentally in someone else’s body and that’s why this is happening. Like I am actually invisible, maybe, and this person is literally acting entirely based on a single, incorrect “fact” about me. Like I-don’t-even-know-how-to-describe-it.

It’s definitely an instinctive dissociative response of sorts, and it’s not totally different from the triggering experience I described in my previous post, though I think it is much more genuinely adaptive. It is a weird and sometimes disorienting experience, but it generally functions to keep me from freaking out in the moment, and it usually passes reasonably quickly. Unless it happens with someone I am actually close enough to be vulnerable around, or if it happens repeatedly, it doesn’t amount to a whole lot out of my day.

Of course, I say this not because I think that being misgendered is ok, or somehow a lesser violence than the things that trigger me otherwise. It still upsets me. I am still unhappy about it. These experiences are part and parcel of the cissexist, binarist, and often just plain old misogynist nature of the culture I’m living in. These things are wrong regardless of whether they are triggering to me or to anyone else.

But yes, that is the other thing I am sometimes talking about when I talk about being triggered. And I do always specify when I’m talking about dysphoria, so my previous post can still stand, I think.

Brief thought: Online dating while genderqueer/This is not what allyship looks like

I got an OKCupid message last week which contained the statement “I fully believe in being non-binary”.

All I could think was “Oh thank goodness, since we enbies depend on the Fairy Dust Principle and other people’s belief in our existence is the only thing keeping us alive.”

Snark aside, though, this sort of thing pisses me off. If the best you can offer me is “I believe that you exist”, I will not have the patience to deal with you. Particularly, as a person who wants to date me, if this is the best you can offer, you are probably going to be a major dysphoria trigger for me when all is said and done.

Like, literally, the best you can do is “Hey, I’m not going to gaslight you or explicitly deny your gender identity”? That is not good enough. Especially since I know to take literally anything anyone says on a dating site with enough of a grain of salt to translate “I fully believe in being non-binary” into “I’m willing to avoid saying anything snarky about non-binary genders for a little while if it will get me laid.”

/rant