- August 13, 2019 at 9:39 am #36096Deanna LundParticipant
I am not transitioning and honestly don’t think I fully understand the need to do so. Like many members of CDH I had some exposure to crossdressing when young, in my case very young, but I experienced a significant escalation of the desire in my 64th year of life. I have several good friends on CDH/TGH who are, or desire to transition from male to female. WHY? I have heard the term gender dysmorphia bandied about and while I understand the definition the underlying cause seems more in the realm of metaphysical than natural. I don’t mean that it isn’t real, only that the who of what we are may be determined by both a physical and a metaphysical aspect. The physical is the chromosome pairing called the genotype usually XX female and XY male resulting in the phenotype. But where is the gender identity defined? I don’t know and finding out is impossible because of the volume of conflicting studies by “experts.”
I have read comments by CDH/TGH friends who were in crisis due to bouts of severe dysmorphia without understanding them, then I watched The Danish Girl (TDG). TDG is a movie about Einar Wegener a male Dutch artist who develops a severe case of gender dysmorphia brought on by wearing stockings and women’s shoes while posing for a portrait his wife was completing. The dysmorphia begins as an attraction to crossdressing but builds within Einar until only Lili is left. Lili Elbe, Einar’s femme identity undergoes the first GRS in the 1920’s. The experimental surgery had great risks and a painful recovery and was performed in two separate surgeries. I won’t spoil the movie by revealing the end results but I urge everyone to watch the movie. That recommendation comes with a major qualification: BEFORE YOU WATCH THE DANISH GIRL YOU MUST HONESTLY EVALUATE YOUR EMOTIONAL STATE AND DETERMINE IF YOU AT A PLACE TO DEAL WITH A SERIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH GENDER DYSMORPHIA! IT IS A POWERFUL EXEMPLAR OF A SERIOUSLY DYSMORPHIC LIFE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. IT IS AN IMPORTANT BUT NOT A FEEL GOOD MOVIE.
The events depicted in the movie happened nearly 100 years ago. On the one hand I was struck by how much has changed since then but a lot has not.
I do not understand dysmorphia any more since seeing TDG but I understand what my dysmorphic friends are experiencing.
- December 3, 2019 at 11:16 pm #53674DeeAnn HopingsParticipantFREE
I saw the movie shortly after it was released and it was a sad experience. I think I mostly felt that way because I knew that it did not turn out well.
However, what struck me was the intense desire Lili had to reconcile her body with her mind. Given that the technology was essentially nonexistent at the time, she knew that she was facing extraordinary risks, but she felt she had to do it. As I understand, only about 30% of trans population has confirmation surgery. If everyone faced the same risks today that Lili faced, I would expect that the numbers would be much lower.
As a concept, I always though the gender dysphoria was fairly straightforward. It is anxiety driven by when our bodies do not match our mental vision of ourselves. In a broader sense, perhaps some of us deal with ambiguity, or mismatch, better than others. Hard to say.
For me, I identify as transgender and non-binary. Either I do not have dysphoria or is quiet enough in the background to not need attention. But, eventually I came to the realization that my gender identity is not completely male nor completely female. It incorporates elements of both and looking back over my life, it seems to have always been the case. I just chose to ignore or suppress it. While I have essentially transitioned socially, I have no plans to do HRT or surgeries.
I consider myself fortunate that I do not have dysphoria. If I did, I would have to decide either what to do about it or figure out how to live with it. Neither choice is easy and as I said elsewhere, everything that we do, or do not do, has consequences…
- August 17, 2019 at 4:32 am #36249CamiAmbassadorAMBASSADOR
I don’t believe anyone not afflicted with Dysphoria can truly understand it, I struggle myself to explain it to friends and family.
I will say it goes way beyond what you described with two boys seeing a girl and one wanting to be one.
The feelings are devastating, Soul crushing and indeed heart rending, I know I suffer through them on a daily basis and any number of factors can set me off.
It’s not a desire to transition it more of a need for self preservation and of wanting these horrendous feelings to at least subside somewhat.
We don’t transition out of a need to feel beautiful, sexual or to get in touch with our more feminine emotions like Crossdressers do.
However feminine they may feel when dressed it’s femininity derived from a Males brain and what their perception of what that is, Which not wanting to be offensive to anyone anywhere is light years away from a Male born with a Female mind imprisoned in the wrong body.
Thanks for the article though, It did answer some questions for me, maybe not the ones you intended but I personally thought it was very well written.
Deanna your a wonderful friend and I thank you for your insights ..Love always xx.
- August 20, 2019 at 3:41 am #36333
I was reading an article from someone reporting to be a clinician that transition for euphoria is just as valid as for dysphoria. I’ll be honest and say that coming out and being able to express myself was euphoric. I get it with the pink fog thinking analogy, but I had dealt with all the negatives years before. What was to ground me then. I do experience dysphoria from time to time as the battle to be me in day to day living continues to rage (you know the setbacks I’ve had), but it is the positive that propels me forward. It’s the knowing how amazing life can be when experienced in truth. I truly was a shell, but am now the woman I had hidden and I know I need to be happy to keep this fight up.
- August 17, 2019 at 4:01 am #36245Sarah DanielsAmbassadorAMBASSADOR
I guess until your journey is that of those seeking to make a change such as this then as a casual observer you can never understand the compulsion. Its like the marathon runners or mountaineers, their motives and reasons are their own and for non runners or climbers foreign.
Just as a Trans person may look at CDs and ask why not go further.
Food for thought and a provocative piece for sure.
- August 14, 2019 at 6:03 am #36132Deanna LundParticipantFREE
Thank you all for your responses! I am not a cis woman. I am a cis man born in March of 1955 and baptised in June of 1955 in Salem Mass at a church a block from the witch house. I include this for no particular reason other than it strikes me as odd as we lived 200 miles away.
I was born with a lot of hair which my mother allowed to grow out so by the time I was 2 strangers often told me/my mother that I was a pretty little girl. Shortly after I turned 2 my mother cut my hair evidently due to the gender confusion though that part of the story is murky. I do know that my grandmother was furious that my curls had been cut off. As I am writing this I am also connecting things I have connected before. When I was 10-12, my grandmother encouraged me to “dressup” in her old clothes. I enjoyed doing that very much. In my 20’s I experimented a bit with crossdressing, taking a girls bathing suit, pinning it to a t-shirt which I put on. (The bathing suit was too small for me). Then I would look in a mirror and say, “I’m a pretty little girl!” Was that a memory from my toddler and dressup days? I think so as I didn’t then and don’t now want to be physically a girl though girl is much more fun to say than boy and FeMale contains iron while Male does not.
I do not consider myself trans but a crossdresserthough I do find the nomenclature confusing.
My reason for posting this to help me understand though I am not sure that is possible. I understand wanting to cross dress, and in my case I think I uncovered its origins. What I am interested in is the part of self that leads to crossdressing and gender or body dysmorphia.* Is that part of personality which the evidence is we are born with, or environment, or a combination? Where is ones sexuality connected to ones body?
Nothing in my post should be taken as disapproval. It is purely curiosity in search of understanding. Forget about the experts! They useless as it is all speculation. In this case the definition of ‘expert’s as someone with a briefcase 100 miles from home, fits.
Two little boys sees a pretty little girl ith pigtails in a pink dress. One boy thinks the little girl is cute, the other wants to be her, why the different reaction?
It seems I can attach pics here but not sure how. I will try to in my profile if allowed
- August 14, 2019 at 9:37 am #36135
Deanna, you are asking the hard questions that almost no one and maybe no one has the answers to them. Part of the issue with understanding where gender resides is that it is a spectrum, and no two people are the same you can only draw generalizations of similarity. You can speculate that it is physically in the big toe, but why are there transgender people who have no toes? Same for any of the physical parts of the body. Cant possibly be in the sex organs for the same reason. What about the mind? Well I have never seen a study where the mind is slowly cut up physically or otherwise on a control group of transgender people in hopes to figure it out. However there were crazy people who drilled holes in their heads to cure insanity in the past. This of course only leads to destroying the brain and in many cases cured nothing and in cases they said worked really just left blithering idiots who really weren’t there any more. My personal thoughts if there is a physical component it is in the DNA in some sequence of code, however I also put great stock in Karma and the Soul as well. They might even have directed the DNA in the 1st place.
In either case or in the current medical world, gender can not be cured with any method known, it is like trying to cure a rat from being a rat, it can not be done. However if the rat was born without a tail this can be fixed. So if a man was born with breasts and a vagina, he can be fixed, same goes for a woman born with a penis. But as stated gender is not so black and white, can you be half a man? Or half a woman? 34% of one? And if you are, will doing body modification fix any dysphoria associated with this gender desolation with ones physical self? In many cases it can, as this has been proven, and a few it can not.
How society views this whole thing is a completely different ball of wax.
Ps. Maybe I do live 100 miles away, it does not mean I am even close to being right.
PPs. You were such cute little kid. 💕
1 user thanked author for this post.
- August 14, 2019 at 8:48 am #36134
There is scientific evidence that there is a physical connection to all of this including detailed MRI imaging that shows brain similarities between transgender and cis people of the same identified gender. How things connect is an entire field of study of its own. We won’t solve it here. There are so many possibilities as to how this comes about and science is really just scratching the surface, but it’s there.
- August 14, 2019 at 3:01 am #36128
Deanna, I’ve noted that there are a myriad way in which people deal with this gender variance thing we are talking about. You may have confused body dysmorphia with gender dysphoria in the terminology you chose. Both do happen in our community, but the film was about Dysphoria IMO.
I can tell you that knowing Lili’s eventual outcome and the medical advances made since then had me prepared to deal with the film more objectively on the rest of her story. I found myself smiling and enjoying most of it and certainly identifying with the obvious dysphoria that was compelling her to seek the treatments she did. It was like a mirror to me and helped me realize I can achieve what I need and with todays technology enjoy a life as my true self. To be certain I was definitely on an emotional roller coaster as I watched it and even that in itself is something I relish now, but mostly I felt like a butterfly gaining wind beneath my wings. Now I watch it when my lifes headwinds try to hold me down.
- August 14, 2019 at 1:41 am #36126Stephanie KennedyParticipantSILVER
Hi Deanna Thank you for your post. I find it to be interesting but very provoking. I agree with Dasia .Never has the word dysmorphia been brought up or even considered in my case. If it was, it was dismissed. Dysphoria is the diagnosis. My crossdressing started back as far as i can remember. It was not just passing it stayed with me almost every day of my life. My satisfaction would come on the form of a image and a feeling of acceptance if i could get that just fot a moment I was satified for that moment. More than satified euphoric in some cases. I found out i could eleviate some of my dysphoria by masterbation. but only temporarily may be two hours. The thought or image i recieved when i dressed as a girl excited me. Similar to when i saw i cute woman. I not only was atttacted to those woman physcally but emotionally. I wanted what they had that attracted me. It could be as simple as a hand gesture or a walk , the outfit. I understood how they felt when wearing a cute outfit. Not just the outfit the make up, the hair, the smell every thing they put in to give that image they wanted for that day. I was attracted to it and wanted it for myself. I was envious. I would try to recreate that image if i could. I wanted the feeling also. I knew the feeling i would get from being considered a cute, feminate female.. Its a wounderful feeling very exciting. If you ever saw the image of a pretty female running through a high grassed field with her hands over head holding a pretty piece of soft clothing that she has just removed . She is feeling free, excited and happy She loves herself and loves the feeling of being a woman. Thats the feeling i want. If i have to physically change my body i will do it. A simple example would be if i saw a woman with painted toe nails and sandals and I could recreate that image on my body i would get excited and be happy my anxiety would pass temporarily. I have arrived at a time in my life i do not want temporary relief anymore. I just want to be happy all the time when i look in the mirror. I know i can be beautiful, cute and pretty. It is just going to take work. I did not get the basic body to start. So it is going to take a lot of work, time and money. My frustration is i am running out of time. I have enough money just to survive. Just when you think you have it. There is another hurdle to overcome. Thank you again for your post and your time. Luv Stephanie
- August 13, 2019 at 9:02 pm #36117
Well… I decided to watch The Danish Girl as suggested. Very good movie BTW, showing the emotional side of transition for a MtF. Most of us have spent a long time trying to understand our selfs, so it is easy to relate to Lili and her gender dysphoria, many times have I felt like her, cried like her. However the parts of the movie that struck me the most were actually of Gerda her spouse, very rare the emotional impact of those sounding the transition process are explored, the movie would have flopped without this aspect. And parts where Lili is exploring herself, I could not help think, “That selfish Bitch!” “Where did all her love go???” But then in perspective I understand she is just exploring self just as I have done. Her wife was super supportive, and there is zero chance Lili would have made it so far with out her, most likely locked up in a nut house by the phobia of the times.
What to take away from the movie? What did I take away from it? Sure it was a tear jerker and I cried, but I knew that would happen. Sure I knew what Gerda would go through and I am glad they got it mostly right. I also know all Doctors are quacks, every single one of them in the movie would have hurt Lili beyond recognition in one way or another. However I believe someday I will think back to this movie and the life of Lili, and I will be able to use some of her emotional strength by the idea that she existed, and did the impossible, and that I can do it too.
Thank you Deanna, thank you for turning me toward this movie.
- August 17, 2019 at 8:43 am #36257
Interesting side note to the real life Gerda Wegener, they glazed over this in the movie but she drank her self to death 9 years after Lili died in fits of depression. She tried but failed to marry again and moved far from where the horror took place.
Also interesting is that Lili here self was 49 at the end and she and Gerda had been married for 26 years, before they got annulled.
- August 14, 2019 at 5:51 am #36131
Hmmm… looks like I skipped the dysphoria issue all together in my post. From reading your review of the movie Deanna, I can see some of your possible confusion. Dysphoria of course is defined as: A state of feeling uneasy, unhappy, or unwell. Attach gender, body, grief, etc to the term and you apply dysphoria to the term.
So what does it mean? The real question is where does dysphoria come from? If you really want to understand dysphoria this question that must be explored. The fact of Lili cross dressing was not the cause of her dysphoria, only a trigger or reinforcement or stair step if you will. She was actually dysphoric way back when she kissed a boy but very little. Then as life went on the steps added up more and more till it became overwhelmingly huge. But the root is still not that she kissed a boy or even wore an feminine aprin. Could the root be genetic? Environmental? Spiritual? I personally think for any transgender person any of these or combinations of them could be the root/s. No matter what of course the root is, dysphoria is similar to an addiction, growing and getting more potent over time as each stair is taken. The effect or strength of each step depends on the individual, and in some it never effects then at all.
The solution to dysphoria is elusive, some having what they want solves this problem, some it does not, just look at the barbie girl or ken guy or is that they did not know what they wanted? Some people can drink dysphoria away, I know a lot of PTSD folk who do this, basically ignore it and kill the thoughts with other substance, I personally think many crossdressers use dressing in this fashion as a way to coop with dysphoria. However if the root is not treated the dysphoria will continue. For a lot of transgender people the way to treat the root is gender reassignment.
Just my non medical opinion.
- August 13, 2019 at 5:43 pm #36109
You were asking for some reasons why some trans folx would transition. Not all trans folx do transition nor need to. I can give you my perspective in a few different ways. If you click on my name here, it’ll show you my articles. I wrote many you may find some answers in, but one in particular, is called “The Way of my Transitions”. Generally, I transitioned because living as the man the world thought I was was an awful, restrictive, demeaning, and contemptible existence for me. I was often chided by cis men for being too caring, too bouncy in my walk, and they misinterpreted my desire to hang out with other women as me trying to take those women away from them sexually and romantically when it was actually just me being me and chatting with other women. Also I transitioned for the clothes, for my proper body parts, and for the hair. I love my hair long and femme styled! While I could see how some may not gain from transitioning, for me it’s made me happier and feeling much more myself. I never found my “male” genitals gross, but the way my mind interprets my sexuality having “female” genitals just makes sense. Of course, I’ve always longed to have a man’s gentalia inside of me hopefully without it tearing me apart and hurting. Does that make sense? I enjoyed The Danish Girl. I do differ with your opinion on Lili’s “sex change” and the concept overall. A trans person is born that way. It’s an innate human condition. The person may or may not know it, depending on the level of repression in their culture, but it’s innate. Lili was always Lili on the inside and she risked everything to be herself. It was an amazing movie tarnished only by the fact that a cis man played her. That was a shame! If you like to watch movies about this give the University of Minnesota’s Transgender Oral History Project a try. There you’ll be able to listen to over 200 Trans folx tell their stories. The interviews are usually about an hour each and are very insightful.
- August 18, 2019 at 6:05 am #36278Danielle FoxParticipantSILVER
Dasia, Hey sis, you have echoed my dysphoria to a T. For me everything to do with being a woman is not about hating my genitals. It’s more about being the person I know I truly am. Puberty was traumatic for me just because I grew hair where I knew I shouldn’t have hair. I loved playing football in Jr High and High School but the locker room was disgusting, so smelly I wanted to vomit, big hairy muscled beasts with so much testosterone that the air was electric with the ozone after a lightning strike! If it weren’t for the fear of reprisals I would have left the team. I hung out with the girls. I preferred their company more than the guys and my comfort level teasing underclassmen was zero. Soft heart, cry when sad or hurt, concern for wild and domesticated animals when they are hurt, compassion for everyone and most of all I wanted to go to pajama parties with the girls. I felt so out of place. I ended up in the military which modified my outward behaviors and put my inner self on hold.
Yesterday my wife and I went to a salon an hour from home so I could buy a wig. This was her idea and I was floored because she supported me as her husband but not as much for Danielle. I picked out my perfect wig. I wore the wig home and loved the experience. Once home I took a long appreciative look in the mirror. The makeup my wife had done on me before we left was perfect. It made me look feminine and beautiful. With the wig on I recognized this woman staring back at me. It was I who looked out! My face and body just relaxed visibly and the joy was overwhelming. I cried such tears of joy as I had not done in decades. One more item to throw into this is the fact that this past Tuesday we had a serious talk. We don’t know if we will end in divorce but if we do we will remain friends and I can choose a doctor and start HRT. Our counselor suggested a few doctors to look at. I look forward to the future with open eyes and a joyful heart. Love ❤️ and hugs 🤗 to all of my sisters who have walked this path before me. Gender Dysphoria is not a concrete set of nomenclature with specific requirements to be met but a general overall feeling. The level of the feeling can be so distressing that if not found and treated suicide is an option. If you are considering this as your only option please seek help immediately.
- August 13, 2019 at 5:27 pm #36099
Deanna, I’m a little confused, are you a trans or cis woman? From your perspectives it’s clear you could use some help in understanding trans folx. The condition assigned some trans folx is actually not called “gender dysmorphia” but is gender dysphoria. Here’s a link:
Gender dysphoria – NHS<cite class=”iUh30″ style=”color: #006621; font-style: normal; font-size: 14px; padding-top: 1px; line-height: 1.43;”>https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gender-dysphoria/</cite>
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