Gender dysphoria is a feeling of inner conflict between the gender you identify with and the body that you have. This is a really common thing among trans people (although not required to be trans). For example, I often wish I had narrower shoulders, a curvier frame, and no facial hair. On my rougher days I feel shame, embarrassment, or anger because I want to look as feminine on the outside as I feel on the inside.
Congratulations on coming out as trans! I know that’s gonna sound sarcastic, but I swear it isn’t. Even if you’ve only come out to yourself, you’ve done a brave thing, and I’m proud of you.
Being trans is especially hard at first. The way I got through was finding resources, role models, and community. There will be many more resource lists to come, but here are the basics I think every trans person should know about.
The legal process of changing your name and gender marker can be an extremely complicated and time-intensive. Many of these steps are intertwined, making the order of operations important. This article will cover how I would approach this process in my home state of Oregon. This process may vary by location (visit http://www.transequality.org/documents for policies in each US state), but hopefully this will help to show the general outline of the process.
- Not explain yourself
- Put yourself first
- Pass if you want to
- Not Pass if you don’t want to
- Like things that are stereotypically your assigned gender
- Like things that correspond to your gender identity
- Hate things your identity is supposed to like
- Feel sexy as hell
- Love yourself
- Accept others’ love
- Feel like you deserve that love
- Treat yo self and have a fun day
- Use whatever voice you want
- Be fluid with gender
- Be frustrated and impatient with the present
- Feel stressed out and overwhelmed
- Hope for the future
- Feel scared
- Ask for help
- See a therapist
- Be proud of yourself
- Take a break and relax
- Not know what the hell you’re doing
- Explore yourself (physically and emotionally)
- Make mistakes, lots and lots of them
- Play dress-up anytime, anywhere
- Say goodbye to those that hurt you
- Forget the bastards from the past
- Miss people you left behind
- Be queer and stand out
- Go stealth and blend in
- Tell someone to apologize
- Expect the correct pronouns
- Try on a new label every day
- Have a messy, wordless gender
- Control your own pace and transition
- Cry, scream, or punch a pillow in the face
- Take up as much space as you damn well please
- Strut your stuff like a badass motherf*cker
- Fake confidence until you find your own
- Spend time with people like you
- Take a walk by yourself
- Smile at the mirror
- Stand up for yourself
- Feel what you need to feel
- Change the world forever
- Resist by just existing
- Take one step at a time
When I’m sad, I watch videos and tv. Unfortunately, trans people aren’t always treated very well in popular media. We’re often depicted as the freaks, the punchline, and the ultimate strike-out when a guy tries to pick up a girl. We have enough shitty things happen to us in real life; we don’t need more of it. That’s why we need more media that makes us feel included, worthy, and empowered.
One of my favorite examples is Her Story, a YouTube mini-series. This show “looks inside the dating lives of trans & queer women as they navigate the intersections of desire & identity.” You can watch all six parts for free at herstoryshow.com or on YouTube.
Gender is a complex concept describing how a person sees and presents themselves. This includes many different components, all of which exist on a continuum. We will touch on five of these components and some of the more common expressions of each.
Having a penis can make it hard (pardon the pun) to present as femme. Whether it’s to lessen dysphoria, perform in drag, or feel safer in public, people smooth and shape their crotches through a process called tucking. This post will be very NSFW because I won’t be beating around the bush (sorry).