Q&A: Dealing with Gender Dysphoria

February 19, 2018 ·

The TransAdvocate Q & A is where we answer your questions. If you’d like to submit a question, go to our contact page and send it in.

Today’s question is:

I’m pre-transition and my gender dysphoria makes my life miserable. I’m not in a position to transition yet, so how do I deal with my dysphoria?

Answering today’s question is Cristan Williams and she writes:

Basically, I’ve handled gender dysphoria in the same way I’ve handled PTSD after a sexual assault. From what I’ve seen, working with gender dysphoria like one might work with PTSD can help. Judging myself didn’t help. Being compassionate with myself helped. Part of what that looked like was honoring what my limits were, having boundaries, and engaging in self-care.

For me, I was never able to command myself to feel differently – especially with something as visceral as PTSD or gender dysphoria. I found that a great deal of my suffering was caused by my unskillful strategy of trying to force myself to somehow feel different.

Letting go of trying to control something like PTSD or gender dysphoria through force of will and instead honoring the fact that my emotional ‘scars’ were very real and that they can and do hurt from time to time was a lot like putting down a bag of bricks that I’d been carrying around. Gender dysphoria is part of the trans experience. There’s no way around that. For me, self-care looked like being judicious with the people who I chose to invest my time and attention in. I needed to know that they would understand that I really did suffer terribly with gender dysphoria and that it meant that I had to make accommodations for that reality.

For me, working with either PTSD or gender dysphoria looked like learning to be aware of what was going on emotionally inside my body. For me, I took up a practice of meditation because I found that trying to force PTSD or gender dysphoria to be something other than what it was made everything worse. I’ve noticed some do well with meditation while others connect to their body states in a more kinetic way such as running or painting. The point is that as I learned the contours of my pain, the less it seemed to be an enemy. As the relationship with my pain became less adversarial, the more I was able to tolerate, understand, and skillfully engage with it and listen to the truths my heart was trying to tell me.

So much of the media landscape focuses on transition as if it was all about pills and surgeries. Pills and surgeries are the easy part of transition. The hard part is doing the emotional work. A skillful mental health professional, a support network, listening to my needs, learning boundaries, and self-care is what helped me get through my transition.

What does "transphobia" mean to you?

Do you write about issues affecting the trans community?

Submit articles for publication on the TransAdvocate here.

 

Next Post

SBF: Children have rights Mr. Perkins

The Slowly Boiled Frog is biting commentary from David Cary Hart reflecting upon issues affecting the LGBT community. Tony Perkins will argue vociferously that a fetus has rights. Mr. Perkins doesn't seem to think that a teenager has any rights at…
Read
Previous Post

Dylan Forbis: Out Trans Man Running for Texas House!

We've seen out trans people running and winning elections throughout the nation recently and today the TransAdvocate welcomes our guest host Dylan Forbis, an out trans man running for a seat in the Texas House! Subscribe to the TransAdvocate Podcasts…
Read
Random Post

Queerty Racism And Transphobia On Display Again

There's no love lost between me and Queertyas many of you longtime readers are aware of.  I've written more than a few times about the failures Queerty regularly gets into when it comes to race and trans people.It seems this…
Read
Random Post

If its an Effort to Undermine Trans Progress, You Can Bet There's a Gay Marylander Behind it

And so, apparently HB 235, the Maryland trans bill that no trans people who actually need the practical protections of civil rights law actually want, has been ramrodded through the House Health Government and Operations Committee with amendments. And yet...…
Read
Random Post

HRC's Project Win Back, Part II

I recently wrote about the lead role the Human Rights Campaign took in the historic transgender hearings, and it looks as if their project win back strategy is coming to fruition. The Human Rights Campaign has hired ordained Baptist minister…
Read
Random Post

The Transadvocate Video Podcast - 1/23/09

Today I'm starting a new feature to the site, it's a video podcast of the The Transadvocate. I'm testing this out, but tentatively I'll be doing it live at 1pm Eastern/12pm Central every Tuesday through Friday. Below is the Ustream…
Read