Summary: Having dysphoria is the main symptom of being transgender, so is it possible to be transgender without experiencing gender dysphoria?
Dysphoria is a feeling that transgender people have when they are not happy with their body, mannerisms, or way of life. More specifically the parts of their body, mannerisms, and lifestyle that are specifically related to their birth sex. An example is someone who was born a male but identifies as female may feel dysphoria set in when they look at parts of their body that they deem as masculine, or wearing male clothing, or talking and acting like a male, or even walking through the men section of a clothing store. All these things are the hallmark of what makes someone transgender.
However, the question is asked, “Can you be transgender without dysphoria?” You will hear from some individuals that they identify as the opposite sex, yet have no dysphoria, which is the main symptom of being transgender. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to be transgender, more specifically transsexual, without having gender dysphoria.
The whole premise of being transgender is to ultimately transition in some capacity to alleviate gender dysphoria. While there may be other ways to alleviate dysphoria, transitioning appears to be the most effective. While dysphoria can still exist, it’s lessened by a social transition, such as changing name, wearing different clothing, and going out into the world as the ideal self, in addition to hormone replacement therapy, and even surgery. Some people have varying levels of dysphoria, but dysphoria to some degree is always present with someone who is transgender.
Being transgender isn’t a fad, nor is it a trend, rather it’s a very small group of people who struggle with their identify, often since childhood. The reasons dysphoria creeps in is because the person doesn’t feel right as the sex they were born and instead feels like the opposite sex. If the physical body is male, but the mind is female, this incongruity is what causes dysphoria.
Transitioning is what the remedy is for gender dysphoria. Without dysphoria, the person is not transgender. Some people can manage their dysphoria via other means, or transitioning by a minimum amount, but the fact still remains that dysphoria has to be present for the individual to be transgender. What they do about the dysphoria on the other hand is unrelated to them being transgender. For instance, if a person decides to not transition for whatever reason, whether it be social acceptability, health concerns, or even fear, and they still experience dysphoria, then they are transgender who chose, or is unable to, transition. However, those that claim to be transgender, who may transition, but do not experience dysphoria, are not transgender. They may fall into a related group within the transgender spectrum, since transsexual is the technical term for someone who is “born in the wrong body” so to speak. But, they are not transsexual.
In order to be transgender, more specifically transsexual, one must experience gender dysphoria which impacts their life to some degree. The amount of dysphoria someone experiences will depend on the individual, as does what they intend to do about it, transition or not, and how far they are willing to go. Regardless, we should each respect one another and learn from our differences since we are all unique.
Let me know how this works for you. Have a great day!
This was a question I got quite often (back in the day), and the answer has finally come to light – no, one cannot be transgender without dysphoria. I feel society has become more and more accepting of transgender people, which is great, but some people may exploit that to draw attention to themselves. These people claim to be transgender but experience no dysphoria and may not even transition. These people may make other transgender people who actually do transition look bad to other people, brining down the entire community.