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  • What is it about transgender people on the inside that makes them feel dissatisfied? How do they see other men and women?

    Do they only identify with genders/sex because they only see those genders/sex from an idealistic point of view or do they see them as good and bad? What do they actually identify with: The interests? Or is the body itself? I’m like a kindergartner when it comes to this stuff. lol


    Natahlia Lysse Zaring, Trans goddess from the moon of Endor.
    41 Views · Most Viewed Writer in Transgender with 180+ answers

    What is it about transgender people on the inside that makes them feel dissatisfied? How do they see other men and women?

    I can't remember a time when I wasn't female. I can remember a time when I assumed everyone was female, and I remember a time before I knew the word female, but never in my life have I even wondered if I might not be female. And this is despite almost everyone in my life growing up insisting that I wasn't a girl, but rather a boy. This is despite knowing nothing about trans folk or transitioning.

    There’s never been something on the inside of me that makes me feel dissatisfied. I've never thought I was born “in the wrong body.” My body was born with some wrong parts, and those parts have made life harder for me than for others (also, eww at testosterone poisoning), but it's my body and it's not a wrong body.

    I've suffered trauma and abuse because of my body; I've suffered trauma and abuse because of reasons besides my body. And despite all that, it's still my body.

    Gender dysphoria is a real thing, and it is nothing like “dissatisfaction.” It is a term used to describe an array of strong, pervasive, and often crippling negative feelings that relate to presenting as or being perceived as the wrong gender. It can also be incited by having or not having body parts related to gender.

    Imagine if you woke up one morning and everyone started treating you as if you were a different gender than you are. Everything about your body is the same as it is now. But everyone insists that they know your gender better than you. At first it might be annoying or frustrating, but eventually it would likely become debilitating. That is part of what gender dysphoria is. Now imagine that you woke up one morning and your genitalia was a different configuration. But it feels like you still have the configuration you have now. You don't even realize something is wrong until you touch or see that area on your body, and you feel a wave of nausea and disorientation. That’s not how that’s supposed to look. That’s also part of what gender dysphoria can be like.

    Trans folk don't switch genders or anything silly like that*. Most trans people have always been the gender they are, they simply pretended to be the gender they were assigned. Refer to the individual trans person about their personal narrative, but trans people are the gender they say they are, just as cis people are the gender they say they are.

    Trans people don't see men or women any differently than cis people do. Cis men are men, and cis women are women. Trans men are men, and trans women are women. It's seriously that simple. If you are ever confused, just treat a trans person as you would anyone else with the same gender. Chances are that you’ve already done this, because a lot of trans people are visually indistinguishable from cis people. It's not tricky, it's not unusual, and it doesn't require you to modify your life. It just requires you to understand that sometimes when a doctor assigns a child a gender, they get it wrong.
    *there are genderfluid, bigender, or genderqueer people who do switch genders, but this happens regularly with them and is an expression of their immutable gender. For further information about nonbinary folks, check out the Nonbinary Genders topic.
    Written Jun 5

    Rebecca Billy LGBTQ+ cultural competency trainer and advocate for safe spaces
    384 Views • Rebecca has 60+ answers in Gender

    I know a lot of transgender people--I mean a lot--not like a dozen but maybe a hundred--and interact on a regular basis with at least a couple dozen--and I have never met one that had an idealized idea of gender. In fact, I think trans people generally have a much more sophisticated and accurate view of gender than most people. So, while it is possible for anyone to idealize a gender, I think trans people by and large do not. Even if they did idealize gender, that's not what causes them to be trans.

    Many trans people have body dysphoria and do have a strong feeling of being trapped in the wrong body. This is not the same thing as the kind of body dissatisfaction that cisgender people feel, because it has nothing to do with perceived attractiveness. I know plenty of trans men, for example, who are perfectly fine with being fat and bald even if someone harasses them for it, as long as they are correctly perceived as being men. Of course a trans person may have body dissatisfaction or other body image issues in addition to dysphoria, and I think this is quite common, especially among trans women, in that perceived attractiveness, thinness, and the "feminine ideal" have much to do with being female in our society whether you're trans or not.

    But it's not just about how one appears or even how one feels in one's physical body--although that is a very important issue for many trans people and for the transgender community as a whole. Some trans people don't experience body dysphoria, or don't experience it to nearly the same extent as another trans person might. Trans people are just as diverse as cisgender people, and all of their experiences as a trans person will also be influenced by their personality and sense of self. But, even if they don't experience body dysphoria, they are still transgender. No matter how their body is shaped or their chromosomal makeup, if their true gender is different from the gender they were assigned at birth, they can be considered transgender.

    Cisgender people (those whose gender identity matches with the gender they were assigned at birth) often have a hard time wrapping our heads around the concept of transgenderism just because we've always taken our gender identity for granted. The idea that our gender might not be what other people have always thought it to be at first seems alien to us. As we begin to grow in our understanding, we can learn to empathize with the idea of "being in the wrong body" by associating it with other ways people have might have expected us to be different than we are. Perhaps we had parents who pressured us to enter a career that we have no interest in nor aptitude for, perhaps we have different political leanings than everyone in our family, perhaps we don't believe in the faith we were raised to believe in. And those of us who felt pressure to conform to very narrow, restrictive gender roles might empathize a bit more, even if we have only ever challenged the roles, not the gender itself. But we can get hung up on the idea of body dysphoria sometimes to the point that we can't understand transgenderism as a concept outside the context of a person's body.

    And this is what confuses us so much. After all, gender is about more than just the physical. We know it's not just about our genitals. It's not just about our chromosomes, either: whether we're XX, XY, XXY, or one of the other chromosomal types is something most of us don't even know. And, even after learning that transgender people's brains have been shown to be more similar to the gender they identify with than the gender they were assigned at birth, we don't really understand what that means except in the broadest of terms. After all, people are still struggling to understand the implications of the similarities and differences between male and female cisgender brains.

    If we have the sophistication to recognize that gender is socially constructed--as any person who's felt restricted by gender stereotypes does, whether they admit it or not--then we may start to question why gender transition is even necessary. Shouldn't a transgender man be able to act like a man, think like a man, and feel comfortably like a man regardless of his anatomy and outward appearance? Shouldn't a transgender woman have the same freedom? Is it even necessary to have a concept of gender? Why can't people just be themselves?

    Those are complicated questions and they exist in the realm of theory and ideas. Transgender people may spend a lot of time thinking about them (they usually do) or may just accept the practical reality that the world we live in still operates as though the gender binary is real and strong and try to operate as much as possible within those rules. They might even support and believe in the gender binary and just want to be on the other side of it than what people have placed them on.

    The thing is, nobody is 100 percent sure at this point exactly what makes a person identify with a particular gender. It seems pretty arbitrary to me that I was assigned female at birth, identify as female, and am recognized by other people as female--statistically probable, maybe, but there's no obvious reason why I would be cisgender and another person would be transgender.

    I don't actually know why, when I felt pressured to conform to female gender stereotypes, it was obvious to me that I would reject the stereotypes and not the gender. While I have traits which some people might consider more stereotypically masculine than feminine, I never once felt that I might actually be a man. I have always felt like a girl, a woman, a female person. My sense of gender, of femaleness, is innate.

    For transgender people, it's the same, but different. It's the same in that it's innate. Whatever it is that makes me feel like a woman--that innate understanding of my gender in spite of any ways I might not fit the stereotypical female mold--is the same thing that makes my trans friends know innately what their gender is. They know it on that same level, in a way that we can't fully understand or explain, because we don't fully understand it about ourselves. But it's different for trans people, too, because they may experience confusion about their gender identity in a way that cisgender people don't. If people have told you your whole life that you're a boy, even though you don't don't feel like a boy but like a girl instead, that's going to take a little time to work out. And if you've never met another trans person or heard of the concept of transgenderism, if you have no vocabulary to describe your experience of gender, it can take decades to work out for yourself, much less to be able to communicate it to other people.

    So, yeah, the short answer is that we don't completely know all of the factors that go into someone's understanding of their own gender. It isn't the same for everyone. But there's research and discussion and a sharing of experiences that is helping us to understand it better, even if we can't wrap the explanation up in a tidy, short statement. But we also know that a trans person's gender identity is essentially the same as a cis person's gender identity--innate, never removed from social context, and composed of both physical and nonphysical aspects.
    Written Jun 4

    Naomi Lauren, genderqueer transwoman, thoughtful, Christian, compassionate, demisexual, geek.
    203 Views · Naomi has 90+ answers in Transgender

    Acceptance as a woman feels right. Acceptance as man HURTS!

    Can you conceive an emotional pain so incredibly intense, that you want to kill yourself just to end the pain? That’s what full blown gender dysphoria feels like.

    I am a transgender woman. Growing up, I knew I was supposed to be a boy. I tried hard to measure up to being a boy. From 7 years old, I knew that being a boy didn’t fit me, but I didn’t tell anyone.
    From 10 years old, I vowed that, “No one will find out who I am.”

    I secretly crossdressed from 8yo until puberty wrecked it. I didn’t even know the word, “crossdressing”. At 14yo, I saw a documentary about transsexuals (gosh I hate that word), and I knew that’s what I was, and that’s what I couldn’t bear to be.

    Internalised transphobia can kill you.

    Gender transition is HARD. If picking up “feminine” interests was enough, I would have done that. If crossdressing was enough, I would have done that. Anything to avoid transition to female!!!
    My interests, and my presentation, are a mixture of masculine and feminine. That’s a comfortable place for me to be. I can do that presenting as male or female.

    See also:
Naomi Lauren's answer to Can unisex clothing/fashion make any difference towards the acceptance of genderqueer people?

    Was I dissatisfied with my life, no! I had a wonderful life as a man, but that wasn’t me. The stress of living that wonderful life was killing me.

    How do I see men? They’re an odd bunch, but I do understand them. I always felt like the token female when I was in an all-male group.

    How do I see women? I always felt close kinship with women. Because I am genderqueer, I don’t quite feel exactly female either, but I am certainly not male!

    It’s not really about the body, though yes my body felt awfully wrong. It’s about being accepted as a woman. I NEED to be accepted as a woman.
    Written Jun 6 · View Upvotes

      August 1, 2016 10:26 PM BST