Reply To: How do you experience gender dysphoria?

DeeAnn Hopings


The short answer is that I don’t tend to experience dysphoria, but I will explain.

It took me 55+ years to discover this (now 72), but what I finally realized is that I have always been this amalgam of female and male energies, likes, dislikes, thoughts, perspectives, etc. When I looked back, I could tell that this had always been true since I was a child. I was a faithful reader of Hot Rod Magazine and several other car magazines, but I would also read my mother’s and aunt’s Vogue, Mademoiselle and other women’s magazines when I could do so without being caught. There was no conflict in this for me. I was just satisfying my range of interests. Earlier this week I went to 2 events: a monthly social gathering for our LGBT Community Center (I’m a board member there) and also a presentation and discussion with Stephanie Battaglino, a nationally known trans activist and author. I was quite nicely dressed and I continue to be surprised when I look better than over 90% of those AFAB. It just shows that there is a very different thought process at work. On the other hand, tonight I’m going over the mountain to watch sprint car races on a half mile dirt track. To some, this may appear to be a conflict, but for me it is not.

Since I retired, I am dressed more than 95% of the time when I leave home. It feels good and appropriate for me to present and be known as DeeAnn. In all my civic and LGBT community involvements, DeeAnn is the person of record. Very few have even met Don. On occasion, I will present as Don if it makes sense. Earlier this year when we went for our vaccines I did not dress. I didn’t want people to confused by my presentation not matching my ID.

These days, with virtual meetings, there have been times when I didn’t need to leave the house for
7 or 8 days at a stretch. Towards the end of that time I get a bit itchy, so if that is an indicator of dysphoria, then it is pretty mild. Further, I have never felt that I am in the wrong body, but the realization is that I have never thought myself to be completely masculine or completely feminine.

I think what is important to consider is that there is no particular path to realizing ones gender identity. There are many roads and this becomes clearer with every coming out story that I read. We also should not assume that one person’s path will necessarily work for others. Intentionally, I came out in front of about 130 people, but I wouldn’t recommend that as a strategy…

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