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What's it like to be transgender?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by John W, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. John W

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    I've never felt any degree of discrepancy between my sex and gender, but I'm told that gender dysphoria is a very different experience to questioning sexuality. Just wondering what it's like, although I understand that it will vary between individuals, but I feel like a forum is a much more personal way of people communicating their feelings than if I just read about it in a journal or something, so what's it like to be transgender, or genderqueer, or any of those (you know what I mean =D)?????
     
  2. DreamerBoy17

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    Questioning gender is a whole lot different from questioning sexuality, in my case at least.
    So, where to begin...

    Imagine walking around with a large pebble in your shoe your entire life. Yes, it hurts and feels strange, but after feeling the pain for so long, it becomes a part of your foot. Uncomfortable, yet it's all you've ever known, so perhaps you don't even know it's out of place. This is how I like to describe my childhood, before I questioned my gender. Something always felt "off" but I could never get at what it was. I felt upset and depressed all the time for a reason I could never pinpoint.

    Questioning my gender was pretty confusing. I was raised a female my entire life, and thinking that I might not be female was complicated. In this way, gender and sexual orientation questioning can be similar; the feelings that you should try to cover up or hide it, or even deny it or hate yourself. Luckily, I had identified as an open lesbian beforehand, so I went into my questioning stage open minded and figured myself out fairly quickly because I was willing to be open with myself.

    Presenting as a guy, being addressed as a guy, even the smallest things like what kind of shampoo I used made every effect on my mental health. For the first time, I was truly happy with myself. It was like when I first put my glasses on when I was little- I hadn't realized how blurry and low quality my life was until I could finally see. In the same way, accepting myself as trans was like putting on glasses. Things became clear. It's called euphoria.

    I have to think about gender much more than most cisgender people. The smallest things you might take for granted, like wearing the clothes you want, or styling your hair a certain way, were all things I had to fight for. And there are plenty of people who will still see me as a female and always will, no matter how many surgeries I get or hormones I take. Of course, I can't blame people for not understanding, and I'm really glad you asked to hear our experiences! Some people have trouble grasping what being trans means, because there isn't any real equivalent. Being gay, in my opinion, is a bit more relatable because straight people know how it feels to have a crush, it's only reversed. It can be a bit more difficult to get in a trans person's head.

    As for dysphoria: it varies by person, but for me, it's hellish. While I've always had that pre described discomfort, when I began to understand that I was trans, it hit me hard. Many trans people have the same experience. One part of it is disconnect to my body. I don't like my curves, my breasts, my voice, my genitals, pretty much everything. They don't feel like they're mine. I'm just a soul trapped in the wrong body. This has fueled the flames for my anxiety and depression problems. And I am completely a guy. Deeper than social roles and stereotypes, I just know that I'm a guy. Being treated as a girl hurts me more than anything.

    Sorry, that was really long winded haha. Thanks for asking about the community, and if you have more questions, feel free to ask! :slight_smile:
    ~Cody
     
  3. Natasha Elyssa

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    It's not fun, I'll tell ya that much.

    I personally feel like I'm trapped in this shell that was crafted by my family and society. I'm a girl, but everything that's been put in my head about who I am and should be, conflicts with that. I experience the feeling that I need to correct an obvious mistake, and I need to "fix" myself to match who I really am. Being transgender is a lot of internal and external conflict. With me, I want to put on a skirt and high heels, but I cannot do that with my current situation. I feel almost like a prisoner in my own body. You know what, I really wish that I was born a girl. Being born into a mail body, and being forced to be male is very miserable and painful for me. It's very tough.
     
    #3 Natasha Elyssa, Jan 21, 2016
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  4. Riz

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    What an amazingly hard question...

    I would try and explain it in a simple way as...
    You're an actor, in their costume, that have been playing that role all your life. Until you eventually get enough because you want people to see you for who you really are. Because every single time someone have talked to you before coming out, it's like they're talking to the character you're playing, not the real you.
     
  5. Florestan

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    Dreamerboy's pebble in the shoe analogy is very fitting. I don't constantly think about my dysphoria, but it's always there in the back of my head. When it does leave the background and takes over my thoughts, it can be very jarring. I'll feel torn between what I look like now and what I want to look like.

    When the dysphoria's in the background, it still finds ways to bother me. With my current situation, coming out publicly is not an option, and while I do hope I can change my circumstances soon, for now I have to keep wearing a mask. I know it's for my own good. The mistreatment I'd face would scar me for the rest of my life. All the same, it makes me feel like a hypocrite. It's not pleasant to make small talk with people who would hate you if they knew the truth.

    The good in it all is that I have hope for the future. I feel happy when I think that one day I'll be able to transition, and that I have the will to do whatever I must to make that happen. Even now, I can find small outlets for my femininity. Sometimes I can get away with cross-dressing, and I'm able to shave my legs without causing much of a stir. On top of all that, it's nice to see that the world's starting to become more accepting of people like me. While there's still a lot that needs to change, things are getting better.
     
  6. denouement

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    I'm actually trying to write this out to describe it to my mom, so, timely question from my end.

    As far as what dysphoria feels like, I think the pebble analogy is good. Other descriptions I've come up with, or read somewhere else:
    It feels like when you miss a step on the stair.
    It feels like when you're driving a friend's car and reach for a nonexistent lever.
    It's a split second of 'Oh, :***:!', right before something bad happens, but ALL THE TIME.
    It's the feeling of being homesick for a place you've never been.

    I actually have diary entries that I always find interesting to look back on, where I tried to vocalize what I was feeling (usually only during a really bad moment, heh). Excerpts under the spoiler:
    "terribly irritable and frustrated, and then realized how aggressive I'd been. For no good reason. But there is a reason... how to say it?"
    "I feel wrong, [...] this is all wrong somehow,"
    "I feel nauseous almost an awful lot [...] but, I don't feel that I'm going to throw up. Mentally nauseous?"
    "My chest just feels really tight,"
    "[about wearing a dress] Horrible. Felt very exposed and anxious,"
    "I was going to explode !!!, but, too tight and compressed to explode,"
    "having to think 'i'm a girl' all the time,"
    "disappointed and horrified that it’s happening again, it shouldn’t be happening, but logically that’s not reasonable"

    I don't know if that helps at all, heh. It's not usually so bad, but overall, 0/10 would not recommend. Simultaneously, being seen as a guy/looking like a guy/etc are all things that make me feel happy and secure. When I picture myself in my head, or picture myself in a fantasy or daydream, I see myself with a masculine body and appearance.


    I also questioned my sexuality in the background of all the gender stuff-- although a bit different from how you may have questioned yours.
    I didn't have a concern about liking men instead of women, which is something I've heard some gay guys struggle with... As a "girl", I was "supposed" to like guys in the first place!

    But generally, I felt that the way I related to and desired men was in a 'gay way', despite (at that time) thinking I must be a straight female. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I felt this way, why I could only picture myself in a relationship as a man, and so on... for a brief period I tried to rationalize my sexuality as "like a lesbian, but for guys" (Sorry, lesbians. It was a very confusing time.).
    Even as a kid I wrote that I would date/marry a man, but, I wouldn't be his wife or girlfriend... I would be "like the husband, but he's the husband... so, a girl husband."

    And then everything sexuality-wise suddenly made a lot more sense when I accepted that I'm a trans guy :icon_wink
     
    #6 denouement, Jan 21, 2016
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  7. gravechild

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    To put it simply, I felt as uncomfortable around queer men as I did straight men. True, I was attracted to them, and at times, vice versa, and gender roles were a bit more fluid, but at the end of the day, all but the most effeminate of them were men, and at some level, also saw me as a man and expected me to play their game.

    It wasn't until talking to a few gender-neutral and transgender people that I went, "Yes! That's exactly what it's like!" Also discovering genderqueer explained a *lot* to me. Yes, I experience some discomfort/dysphoria, but it doesn't seem to be as severe as with some people (or I'm very good at blocking it out). I know at times it feels like something is "lacking" where my flat chest is, and sometimes my bottom parts seem to get in the way (also don't really like being touched there, sexually).

    I often feel envious of trans women, drag queens, and cross dressers who pass... not cis women, since I'm obviously not one and never could/would be. Being bisexual and genderqueer... it's confusing! I'll see someone and not be sure if I feel envious of their good looks, or attracted to them because of it. This applies to men, women, and those who identify as neither. -.-

    You'd think something as basic as gender would be immediately obvious to us.
     
  8. sea

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    I feel like a drag queen when I dress up as a girl, even though I'm biologically female. Nobody would have had any reason to suspect anything my entire life- I just seem like your average girl. The truth though, is that inside, I feel closer to a gay man, in drag. It's bizarre, but I'm finally verbalizing how it's always felt. As a little kid, I naturally preferred short hair and I always felt like a bit of an imposter playing with anything pink or barbie- it felt campy. I feel pretty straight down the middle most of the time (m and f) or other times, the sensation is more like I have no sex- it's like I'm ALL OF IT and feel too big to be contained by a gender identity. I feel like my own creature, without labels.

    So yeah, relating to girly girls is the hardest to me, because I always feel like a guy (or just some crazy awesome creature) that snuck into the girls locker room and is wearing a mask and acting like a "girl" either for the shit of it or to fit in.

    I'm 30 and only now starting to embrace all this and figure out where I belong, esp. socially.
     
  9. Andrew99

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  10. Minori

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    Its hard to explain as we all have our own perspective.
    But I cry a lot at night because of how Dysphoric I can be.
    It's like being gay except its your gender.
    You didnt ask for it, you just want to be who you are.
    And most of the world doesn't believe that what you are is "right"
    The LGBT community is already thrown hatred at, but for trans people especially, its just not something I'd wish upon anyone. I wish I wasn't trans. But I am, I'm trying to accept it.
     
  11. John W

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    Cheers mate :grin:

    ---------- Post added 22nd Jan 2016 at 09:06 PM ----------

    Thanks for all the replies guys this is interesting for me, I still definitely don't understand but it seems like I only could if I were actually not cisgender. Sounds like a really confusing and difficult way to be, but I hope you all find a way to be happy, whether that's from transitioning or just being accepted. Thanks again, guys!!! :slight_smile:))
     
  12. Daydreamer1

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    My therapist explained it in a similar way that Cody did, but instead of a pebble being in your shoe, you wear your shoes on the wrong feet. Something feels wrong, but you don't know what it is--and you go your whole life feeling like something isn't right. When you realize it's your shoes, then the realization just hits you and everything makes sense.

    Maybe I'm bitter, but being trans isn't fun. It really sucks and takes a lot of energy out of you.
     
  13. EmiTheTiger

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    It is awful especially when you have body image and mental health issues.
     
  14. kageshiro

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    I'm not transgender, but if I was, I'm pretty sure this would be my attitude, as it is for most things..

    'it is what you make it.'

    Yeah dysphoria, can be pretty fucking bad, I've experienced it personally, but, just like depression or death or any other obstacle, there's no reason it can't be beaten unless you put that limit on yourself.
     
  15. thepandaboss

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    ...Yeah, don't we all wish it was that easy? :rolle:

    --

    Anyway, to answer the question. You just feel like something's off. The other day I was taking a shower. I'm getting undressed, slipping off my boxers and I happen to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Something felt wrong. Like it was scary. I was looking between my legs and there was nothing. I flipped out and actually jumped. "Oh my god, what the hell happened--Oh." And then it hit me. I've lived my entire life without having a nice, fleshy penis. And yet in my mind's eye, how I've kind of mentally mapped out my body is world's different than how it actually looks and feels. So if I'm not wearing my binder and my chest bumps into something, it takes me by surprise. And this has happened to me since before I even knew I was transgender. I'd be 15, slipping on a pair of panties, and I'd just be really disoriented because there was no bulge.
     
    #15 thepandaboss, Jan 23, 2016
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  16. Lawrence

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    In my experience, dysphoria's uncomfortable and the level of it varies all the time. Cody's pebble in the shoe analogy is close enough.

    I wish more than anything that I could be a cis guy. However, I can salvage a few pros from being a trans guy. For example, I've learned a lot from getting objectified. I could go on about this, really. I'd rather not review my drama queen years ^^;

    I think the most effective way to explain the experience really depends on the person I'm talking to. I usually stick to simple/quick explanations at first because otherwise people might get confused. This stuff used to be new and confusing to me!

    I agree with the spirit of the message! Why would I let this trans thing hold me back from being awesome? I'm unsure about totally defeating it, but it can be reduced/managed.
     
  17. Reciprocal

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    For me, it's as if there really was a monster that catches you if you step on the cracks in the pavement. It restricts what you can do. When you go out you have to concentrate and be careful. You can get used to it if you learn to take exactly the right size of step, and when you're in a field or on a carpet, you can forget about it. But it's still really inconvenient and gets on your nerves.
     
  18. kageshiro

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    It's not easy and I'd never claim otherwise, but it absolutely can and has been done. You have to teach yourself self love even if takes pushing your body to it's absolute physical and mental limits, to transform it into something that is yours, that you can be proud of, that no one can take away from you. That's the state of mind you need to reach to conquer dysphoria... that's what it takes to be somebody who could give a shit less what anyone thinks of who they are or what they look like, themself included, because they are awesome and they know it.
     
  19. thepandaboss

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    Well...sure but you can't always make dysphoria and, for that matter, feelings like anxiety, depression, or mania go away with just "getting through it" and having positive thinking. It can help but it doesn't fix the problem. That's like duct taping a leaky faucet instead of hiring a plumber. Dysphoria? You usually relieve that with hormones, getting to legally change your documentation, presenting as your identified gender, and so on. You can try to say "well I'll just sit back and acknowledge me state in life" like you're a damn serf but it doesn't take care of the fundamental reason behind dysphoria- a brain and body mismatch.

    Dysphoria isn't like having a mole on your face or a little weight in places you don't like it. It's not a matter of self esteem ever. Let's be honest. I actually do like myself for the most part. But nonetheless, I still get dysphoric even when things are generally going well for me.

    Self love isn't a substitute for solutions. Try actually having dysphoria for once.
     
  20. John W

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    Wow. Thanks for being so honest mate, I'm truly blown away, I suppose we all take a lot of things for granted, and I see now that even something as fundamental and constant to me as my own gender is really a complex issue for a lot of other people. The experience you describe of feeling disoriented because of the discrepancy between how you are inside and your physical anatomy sounds like a huge thing to live with day-to-day. If I went out, and knew that everyone who saw me thought I was something I wasn't, even though I wouldn't know them, I don't know how I would deal with that sensation. Add more to this thread or pm me if you want to share anything else- I've learned so much just from posting this thread that I never expected, (almost) all the responses have been so personal and heartfelt, thanks so much guys.(*hug*)