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plasticity

If gender dysphoria is best described as "gender expression deprivation anxiety" (and I feel it is- thank you Anne Vitale) then what happens when we don't deprive it? In other words, would allowing young children free reign over their gender expression help to eliminate or at least reduce the desire for transitions down the road?

This is something I have pondered for some time.

By now I am convinced that the pull towards the other gender is mostly biological in nature but if we feed it through more leniency in societal expression are we averting some transitions? I believe that for some people this could be the case. Make no mistake in that I am completely and ardently pro transition, but I wonder about those who are sitting on the edges of full blown transsexualism and how they could be helped.

Living in two gender roles is challenging. I know because I am doing it but what if we removed that need completely by liberating everyone to be themselves in their manifestation of gender? One wonders. Some of us in this world are born transgender but, judging from what we see in society, it clearly manifests itself in varying degrees of intensity (thank you Harry Benjamin). The liberation of gender expression which will be the next big societal challenge, should help those of us who seem to straddle the fence between man and woman.

Don't get me wrong. By now I am fairly certain that I could live comfortably in the role of a woman but what if what I need more of is plasticity in my gender expression such that I am not obliged to choose a side?

Irrespective of what each of us decides, having more tolerance is never a bad thing and this one area in great need of it.


Comments

  1. "If gender dysphoria is best described as "gender expression deprivation anxiety" (and I feel it is- thank you Anne Vitale)..."

    I was certain Ms Vitale was correct when I was unable to express my gender identity. For the past year I've not experienced any expression deprivation and yet I do still feel gender dysphoria from time to time. For example, when I see and hear women laughing and just having a good time I often feel envious of their lightness of being vs. mine, with my high forehead, square jaw, and moderately feminine voice which I must control so consciously.

    Last night while driving home I happened to hear Brene Brown on an NPR show called 1A. As she often does she talked about shame. I suppose my feelings are more related to the remnants of my shame of my gender identity and gender dysphoria, otherwise called transphobia.

    It's tough to shake off, hard to know what to do to ameliorate it!

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    Replies
    1. I am not entirely sure what to do about it Emma. I have some of the same remnants myself and I don't think we will get rid of our entire history of struggle with our gender issues and erase it. I work on chipping away at things knowing that things are much better by comparison and that it is better to be partly free than tied up in a straight jacket.

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    2. I understand, Joanna. To some extent I think I'm experiencing what most (all?) people have to a greater or lesser extent: a feeling of not being good enough. Perhaps being trans provides a focal point for that uncertainty that cis people, who experience their own shames, don't have.

      We sometimes hear the advice "fake it until you make it" but I've been advised that faking it risks continuing the feelings we had all along as we faked being the gender we weren't in the hopes that that would somehow take care of it.

      The key, I think, is to allow oneself to be vulnerable, to be authentic, holding our heads high... regardless. Others sense this and generally provide positive feedback. For those that don't, well, who knows what's going on for them.

      Brene Brown reminded us last night that "courage is going ahead and doing things when we can't control the outcome."

      Uh oh, there I go again, getting all philosophical! I tend to do that... :-)

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