Hi everyone! This video is going to be about gender dysphoria as well as what you can do if you are struggling with your own gender identity. Gender dysphoria, also known as gender identity disorder, is when an individual is uncomfortable with the sex they were assigned at birth. This can mean someone who was born male identifies as female, making them a transsexual, or they could identify as another gender since gender is not binary, in that there isn’t just male and female. There are other variations. However, many individuals that struggle with gender dysphoria fall under the transgender umbrella. Also, despite the word ‘disorder’ being part of the name ‘gender identity disorder,’ being transgender is not a mental disorder in itself. Being trans can lead to unhealthy behavior that can be considered a mental disorder. But, it is not a mental disorder. I discussed this more thoroughly in a separate video that I’ll have an annotation and a link in the description. [Transgender Mental Disorder] That video can help clear up some of the confusion regarding being trans and having a mental disorder.
While everyone figures themselves out at different points in their life, many individuals with gender dysphoria know at a rather young age, some even being under the age of ten, some even under the age of five. However, when puberty begins to kick in, that is when the uncomfortability really begins to hit because the individual’s body is changing, but not in the way the individual feels comfortable with. Now, the thing to note is that many individuals may have no idea what transgender is, but they feel unhappy with themselves in some way. And the interesting thing is that there are many people that then identify as gay or lesbian because they think that is what this whole ‘not feeling right’ thing is about.
So for instance, someone who was born as a male may begin to feel dysphoric about their male sex. They may think, “Oh, maybe I’m just gay,” because they find themselves attracted to males. They come out to family and friends and being to identify as gay, a gay male. However, the real problem here is that they are not gay, but rather they feel as though they are actually a female, which would essentially make them straight. But the fact of the matter is that things are not always so clear on the surface. You have to dig a bit to understand yourself and what you really want. That is the first part of discovering you have gender dysphoria.
So, you have to ask yourself if you are happy with the sex you were born as. In other words, is the gender you identify as congruent with your birth sex. So ask yourself some of the following questions:
- Am I happy living my life as my birth sex?
- Do I identify as my birth sex?
- Do I ever question my birth sex and wish I could change it?
- Do I realize that my gender, and how I identify, is independent from my birth sex?
These are all important questions to ask. The last one is so you can realize that how you feel, what gender you feel you are, is not the same as what sex you were born as. So for instance, if you were born physically a male, your sex is male, but this does not mean you have to identify as male. You can identify as female or another gender if you truly feel as though you are, as well as express yourself independently of your birth sex. Again, ask yourself these questions and when you have an answer, question that too. I have a video that goes into greater detail about the difference between sex and gender, so I’ll have an annotation and a link in the description. [Sex vs Gender] That may help you out if you are unsure of the difference and allow you to understand that how you choose to identify is not the same as what you were born as.
Anyway, as an example, I will ask myself, “Do I identify as my birth sex?” The answer for me is ‘no.’ Then I may question that with, “Why don’t I feel I identify as my birth sex?” The answer for me is that I feel as though I am truly a female on the inside. Then I can come to the realization that I can be female, and express myself in a feminine way, despite being born male. And then I can look into options for me that can help me physically change my birth sex, male, into what I identify as, female. I did a video in greater detail about the stages of transitioning. So, I’ll have an annotation and a link in the description to that video for anyone who is interested. [Transition Stages] In that video I discussed ways you can start to make steps at becoming the gender you identify as.
Related to that video, the first step is to always understand yourself. Question yourself with some of the questions I shared just a moment ago, understand yourself on a deeper level so you know who you are and what you want. Only you can figure it out for yourself. You cannot ask someone else what they feel you should do if you cannot help yourself and get to the root as to why you feel this way and what you want to do. Learn about yourself, and most importantly, find a proper conclusion of who you really are. Because only you are able to change your life and can make the decisions that will help you love yourself and identify as who you feel you are.
Now I thought I’d share a bit about myself and my dysphoria. I pretty much knew I wanted to be a female under the age of ten. However, it was when puberty hit that I really started to hate myself and my body. I wanted to be a female so badly and would wish and hope for it every day and night. For me personally, there was never a point that I didn’t know I was trans. I may not have heard the term ‘transgender,’ but I knew I was female. I never thought I was gay because I was attracted to females. So technically now, after transitioning and identifying as a female, is when I was gay. I am gay because I am a female that is attracted to females.
Anyway, I starting making steps at becoming the woman that I felt I was on the inside. I did this, first by understanding myself better, realizing where I wanted to be and how I was going to get there. I went online and read about other trans people, and watched a bunch of other trans people online. Learning about their experiences helped me understand the process better and ultimately, myself. Once I had a clear idea of where I wanted to be, I came out to my family, started seeing a therapist, and later went on hormones and even had sex reassignment surgery to become the woman I envisioned in my mind that was me the entire time.
My dysphoria came from everything, my entire body. I hated being a male, I hated my male genitals, everything. This is something that can vary from person to person. You may feel dysphoria for how you look, and not your genitals. Some trans people may just start dressing as the gender they identify as, some may take hormones, some may get surgeries. There are all varying degrees so don’t feel pressured if you do not want to go through with something since everyone has different things they are uncomfortable with about their sex and what they want to change and how they want to transition, if they want to transition at all.
So for me, my dysphoria was lifted when I felt complete with myself, which was after my sex reassignment surgery. That is a major change, but beyond that point I have not had any moments of questioning my decisions, viewing myself as incomplete, or even worse, feeling as though I identify as what I am not. So, I feel myself, my mind and body is congruent, and I have no regrets. However with that being said, there was a few issues that I ran into after surgery. This was most likely because surgery is a major, life changing event. The first issue was mostly during the first year when I would wake up in the middle of the night and be filled with so much regret. It was almost as if I lost all memory of my entire transition and was like, “What the heck did I do to myself?” I would be terrified about, not only the surgery, but my entire life and the decisions I’ve made. I felt like a fool. All of this was also influenced by other issues I was experiencing at the time, primarily with my mental health. But, I managed to overcome that and it hasn’t happened since, and on the rare occasion that it does, it’s to a much lesser degree.
And the other problem I experienced, which really only happened once, maybe a second time to a lesser degree, was when I was in the middle of helping my grandmother with something that I believe I helped her with in the past when I was a male. In the middle of helping her, I dissociated into this former male self from many years prior. I had all memory of what I did to myself and my body but I was male me again. And all I remember doing was that I froze, didn’t say a single thing, and my grandmother looked at me and said, “What’s wrong?” And, all I could do was slowly back away just completely confused and out of it and terrified. The entire event lasted maybe ten or so minutes before I felt pretty much back to myself. But, it was terrifying for the simple fact that it felt I was back living as a male again. All those negative thoughts and memories, the dysphoria, everything was back and it was scary. But anyway, I made it through and have not had any regrets or issues since. So, definitely realize that there may be times that the dysphoria will come back.
So in conclusion, gender dysphoria is when you are questioning your gender identity and feel as though your birth sex doesn’t match what you identify as. It is difficult coming to terms with, but only you can know for sure who you really are and can get to the concision of what you want your life to be. I hope this video was informative and helpful. Thanks for watching!
I personally do not like the terms ‘gender dysphoria’ or ‘gender identity disorder.’ Especially the latter since it implies a ‘disorder’ when it comes to being transgender, which is far from what it really is. Nevertheless, being unsatisfied with my own gender identity when I was a male has been the most difficult thing in my life. It was filled with so much self-hatred. Yet after I transitioned, all of that subsided and I was able to address the other issues. It was only until I began to love and accept myself that I managed to overcome much of what I was dealing with at the time.