It’s been over a year since my “coming out” post and I’ve been giving the issues it discusses a lot of thought lately. At the time I said I didn’t have any gender dysphoria and wasn’t trans. It didn’t explicitly state that the second statement was a conclusion based on the first, but it’s pretty strongly implied.
That is not a cooincidence. At the time, I thought dysphoria was part and parcel of being trans, and that all trans people had it. At the time, I also had a very limited understanding of what gender dysphoria is.
On deeper reflection, I do experience some degree of gender dysphoria. Towards the end of my post, I get all angsty about not being able to be myself, to wear the clothes I want to, to style my hair the way I want, to (openly) do some of the stuff I enjoy. That’s an example of the dysphoria I do experience.
It’s not crippling. It’s not so bad that I have difficulty functioning, and, mostly I can just ignore it. (Which I am thankful for, many people have a much more difficult time with these things than me, and I feel for them.) But ignoring things doesn’t make them go away.
Over the years, there have been subtle signs. (Including a lot of the stuff mentioned towards the end of my previous post.) When I started playing tabletop roleplaying games, the first character I created was female. A significant portion of subsequent characters have been female as well. Nearly all of my video game avatars (when given a choice) are female.
I recently started a game, was initially going to make a female character, had a weird feeling that I shouldn’t, and made a male character instead. Literally the first time I used the in-game character customization feature, I changed my character’s features to be more feminine.
On the other tentacle, in the Super Mario franchise, I prefer to play as Toad, the most ambiguous character in a cast of fairly strongly gendered protagonists. I’m also not saying that all people who cross-gender roleplay are trans; I’m sure most of them aren’t, this is just something I noticed in my own behavior as I dug deeper into my feelings.
Over the years, I’ve told myself that it’s so much easier (and safer) to be a hetero cis male than a lesbian trans female. The fact that I even have to occasionlly remind myself of this is telling.
That said, I wouldn’t describe myself as trans-female, or a trans-woman. Trans-feminine (which is a term I only recently came across) seems more accurate. Deep down, I am more effeminate than is considered socially acceptable for my assigned gender. I generally hide it, but feeling forced to do so does cause me some degree of distress.
I have pretty severe social anxiety, and while I’ve embraced the fact that I’m weird and a geek, I still feel the omipresent pressure to fit in. As the song says, “I wish that I could be like the cool kids.” The views of my friends and family make this even worse.
I don’t think there’s a single person I’m really close to that is actually accepting of trans people. Even of those that aren’t outright anti-LGBTQ bigots, there are none I’m sure of. If I were to transition (whatever that might mean for me), there’s a real possibility I might loose everyone. There a few friends I don’t see very often and some acquaintances that I pretty sure of, but that’s it.
And that scares the hell out of me.