How do you experience gender dysphoria?

  • Creator
  • #117968

    So much attention is paid to the clinical definition of gender dysphoria and how people deal with it that I thought it would be nice (and helpful) for people to share experiences with what it feels like.

    I always knew something was wrong for as long as I can remember and never saw myself in mirrors. For years I went weeks keeping my head down in bathrooms. I cringed when i had to see my own face. Around 10 or so I had my first experience with a transgender person. A transwoman on some talkshow sharing their story. I remember thinking “I can do that?” I didn’t know how to put it in words but I meant transition. I’ve never forgotten that moment. Years later I started actually thinking about it. Now post-depression, a very brief flirt with alcoholism, and suicide ideation later I have begun transition. I always felt goofy in public…like a half man. Im 39 feeling this way. Recently I’ve come out and begun transition. Before doing so I had no recognizable dysphoria. A lot of things that in retrospect I now know where the symptoms of it though.

    So, when I get dysphoria it comes in waves. I have the usual my hands are too big and I hate my stubble moments but those aren’t so bad. Every so often it hits hard and I feel like a fraud who’s wrong about everything and lying to everyone while pretending to be female (AMAB here). Horrid shame, like I’m a laughing stock. I feel like a dude in woman’s clothing and like I should detransition. I’ve stopped transition twice and was always glad I did…for a while. Then I’d start feeling like I have to transition. I’m making it happen. I deal with it by reminding myself there’s no set rules for knowing you are transgender. I am because I know I am. I get to decide how it feels to know I am. It’s not a choice and even if I don’t like it I still am. I tell myself I’m doing this even if it sucks sometimes because I’m so very very tired of having the feeling that I need to figure my gender out and always coming back to transgender. I would rather transition even if it’s difficult getting used to a new way of doing everything than thinking about what my gender is all the time. I already know.

    So, how do you guys experience it and deal with it?

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    • #135737

      Really, for me, I have come to control it. Stop it? Never probably. I have come to accept who I am. That was the key to dysphoria control. I didn’t know who I was. I hated the male me deep down and .I hated the female me just as much.  I wanted to be both at different times , just male or just female. I wished I could wake up tomorrow and just be one. Oh how I wished. But it was not to be. But I did finally accept I want to live and I have to accept I am both. I am gender fluid. Now, I awake and go with the flow. If I feel fem, I am Jillleanne.  One day, one week, one month, it matters not. It’s how I feel each day.  One thing I am certain about. Both genders are sticking around for good. I still get dysphoria which screws with my head. I get stuck between genders and can’t figure out what to wear. My brain just swirls in confusion so I make a decision whether or not I like it. Usually by the next day, it passes, usually.

    • #126332
      Lauren Mugnaia

      Like many of the girls on here, I also knew from an early age that something was different about me. As a young child I always wished I could be a girl, used to pray that I could wake up as a girl and everything would be wonderful. That never happened and I’ve always felt out of place, I never had any close male friends, I was very feminine and all my close friends were girls. That continued even through a solid marriage and successfully raising two lovely children. Fast forward to now. My first wife died of cancer and I remarried a year later to a very feminine gal, which is why I was attracted to her, but she loved gorgeous lingerie and beautiful tops and dresses along with spike heels. So you know what that means, my Gender dysphoria has been awakened with a vengeance. I’ve been a crossdresser since I was 5 and have always felt more feminine and attracted to all such things. The realization that I might be transgendered was ignited and has been growing stronger with the passing of each new day. I have done much investigation into transgendeerism and now know beyond any doubt that I am a MTF transwoman. So how do I experience that? It is there at all times, whether I am awake or asleep the thoughts are always swirling in my head and my heart. I have told my wife and she is trying to wrap her head around the concept and I will have to let others know including those I work with. So life is interesting and is only going to get more so. I will keep everybody posted as to how this journey goes.

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    • #118924
      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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    • #118804
      Elm Kline

      As far back as I could remember I never felt like I fit in with what was expected of me. I was tall for a girl, too loud for a girl, too unafraid for a girl. When I was in middle school some bully girls began to tell me that I looked like a guy. I knew it was an insult and it hurt and embarrassed me but some part of me liked it, I started to embrace that in what little ways I could. I started to wear neutral, baggy clothes and started hiding under hoodies. As I got older I felt more and more pressure to be pretty and to be the ‘correct’ kind of girl. For a while in high school I really tried to do that but everything felt like a costume and like a performance. I have never had dysphoria surrounding my chest or privates but every time someone says ‘girl, young lady, miss’ it just feels wrong. I know that a lot of trans people’s experience is that being misgendered is painful and emotionally damaging. That has not really been my experience, its more just ‘incorrect’. For a while it made me feel like I am ‘not trans enough’ but I am starting to realize that not everyone experiences gender dysphoria the same way.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #118553

      Hi Hillary, thank-you for the question, I’ll add my little story. I lost my parents at 8yrs, abandoned. I had no mother/female figure while growing up, so what I was..what internal gender…was a mystery to me, and of no interest to anyone else. My gender dysphoria started at around 12yrs old with puberty, that masculine transition caused a deep disgust of myself to the point of not accepting any me. I became anorexic too. I have always worn my hair long (mid chest length) that I use to disguise my face whenever possible. That got me in plenty of trouble at school. Until 17yrs I didn’t have to shave so no need to look in mirrors, so I never did. That has been the case ever since, I have to prepare myself before looking in a mirror even now. Shaving foam on before looking in the mirror. As a transwomen in transition…it is still there; and I know I don’t look the same. It comes in waves rather than constantly now. When I see the women I am becoming, I’m so happy. If I’m caught in a photo and I see it…I crash into a deep depression which can last for hours. I just can’t bear to look at the outside of myself, especially if caught off-guard. It is a real self loathing, seeing male characteristics on my face and body is just unbearable. I’m hoping when I am fully transitioned, it will fade. I read that actually it doesn’t for many but feel for me it will.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #117989

      I’ve known from a early age that something amiss in all my life I’ve never felt happy with myself or my body, even know when I look in the mirror i usually say you ugly b…..tard I try to keep myself as feminine as I can and if at all possible were female clothing even if they are androgynous looking plus I do things like moistures and use hand cream plus as hair free as possible plus I only wear female underwear 24/7 I don’t have any male ones at all I first realised my self when I read true selves understanding trassexulism when I realised that I’ve been in the wrong body all my life which in itself gives me gender dysphoria in addition some years ago I was diagnosed with multiple scoliosis which as given me more to be depressed about all in all when I think about it all I have some very dark thoughts.

      And think will any of it get any better some days I think not it’s then I think what’s it all about I’m married and have a great deal of difficulty speaking to my wife about it even though she knows about Christy  if any of you out there know  what I can do then please tell me.


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