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the meaning of dysphoria

We might be tempted to think that because we are satisfied with our status as a transgender person that the term gender dysphoria doesn't apply to us. After all if we are not unhappy how can we be suffering from anything.

First let's remember that current medical term for the transgender condition involves the use of the term and what we do is apply some form of treatment method to reduce the amount of distress the trans person might feel.

Often this distress is first felt in the form of rejection from family and then by society in general so that, even if the person themselves is fine, the slings and arrows of those around them are keenly felt.

Unless you eliminate your dysphoria entirely through a full gender role transition, it is never easy to live with one foot in each camp. I know if I have made plans for an outing and that is suddenly interrupted then I get anxious and a little frustrated. Therefore my dysphoria ebbs and flows throughout the days, weeks and months and I manage it the best I can.

I don't shy away from applying the term gender dysphoria to myself because it really does describe a type of yearning more than a dissatisfaction. It describes well how my mind wonders what it would be like to fully be the other gender and as long as I am not that gap remains. This need not mean that you would be happier closing this gap but I simply acknowledge that it exists.

If you don't aim for a full transition then what you are doing is managing your dysphoria. Every transgender person employs their own combination of techniques. If one were suddenly to remove these methods the person would very quickly move into distress and inability to function.

The older person has the added challenge of having to redefine themselves completely often past middle age. This is why many hesitate for so many years before acting on their dysphoric feelings. They manage until everything else stops working.

Maybe let's not think of gender dysphoria as a measure of dissatisfaction with our birth sex as much as an indicator of the yearning we feel to be the other gender. The degree to which you can manage without any medical intervention is then a reflection of its strength.


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