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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Unifying Body and Mind?

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Author Topic: Unifying Body and Mind?
Kerra-AftonDelvin
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I'm here to pose a question; I hope it's appropriate to write about here. [Smile]

Simply put, I want to ask, does one have to be dysphoric about their body to consider themselves trans?
But, as with all challenging questions, I find there is a tad more to be discussed. I'm going to talk from a personal perspective, because that's all I know. However, I am open to, and in fact would welcome, replies and other people's perspectives and/or experiences.

I have often wondered if I'm a product of my upbringing, in that I'm not uncomfortable about nudity (and, specifically, my own nude body) and masturbation. These are things that my parents, and subsequently I, consider should not be taboo within society (of course, when the time and place is appropriate! [Razz] ).

I like being naked, at home, I just feel more comfortable like it; and I enjoy the sexual pleasure I experience from masturbation. In a way, one could say that I am comfortable with the physicality of my female body and that it defines me as a female. Yet, I viscerally wish to be a man. Most definitely in the social sense of 'male-ness', and quite possibly physically too.

Therein lies the root of my question, I am mostly pleased with my body as it is - it doesn't make me uncomfortable and I don't feel displeased as I look at it; yet I want it to be the body of a male.

I find it difficult to see myself outside of the gender binary: I often like to work within confines, so I don't feel completely 'Bigendered' (just to clarify, this my own personal hang-up and I have nothing against individuals who identify this way), though I feel this is the best way to identify. This conflicts with my gender identity at the moment: I see myself as female (biologically) but not a woman. But is it necessarily right to completely identify as trans seeing as I am not dysphoric about my body?

Sorry, this ended up being much more of a ramble than I expected. There's possibly a lot to address here, so feel free to answer what you want and ignore what you want. I don't want this to be just about me, either. I'd really like to hear other's experiences and opinions on dysphoria/lack of in relation to their gender identities, and how you came to these identities.

Thanks,
K.A. Delvin [Smile]

[ 05-11-2013, 04:06 PM: Message edited by: Kerra-AftonDelvin ]

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"When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don't seem to matter very much, do they?"
-Virginia Woolf

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Boxerlover
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I don't know what that means

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>insert signature here (I'm so clever ^^)

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Stephanie_1
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Hi there, Kerra-AftonDelvin. I want to make sure you have a chance for some back and forth conversation, but before we do that I want to ask you to take a look at an article and a post that I think will be helpful for you. Then we can take some time and talk back and forth about your post. I do want to say though that when it comes to identity, it's not black and white. By this I mean people tend to think that you have to be in one mindset, and you don't. Not everyone will experience dysphoria, In truth how every person feels and feels about and inside their own body varies so widely - and being we are all so very different makes that range make so much more sense.

Okay, so going to pass along this post and also this article here. Then when you've had a chance to read through we can have a chance for some good conversation here. Okay?

Boxerlover: It's okay to not understand a post, but when that happens there's plenty of people and staff that may understand it a bit better, so rather than posting you don't understand please simply leave it for someone that may or for staff and volunteers to ask for clarification if it seems to not flow together in a way that makes sense. Thanks [Smile]

[ 05-11-2013, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: Stephanie_1 ]

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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Molias
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In talking to other trans folks, I've heard people share a really wide range of body dysphoria levels, from "I need to access medical care as soon as possible because I worry about self-harming the parts I'm uncomfortable with" to "my body is fine and mostly separate from my gender." Body dysphoria is common among trans people, for sure, but I don't see it as something you must have in order to claim that identity.

Some people also only have strong feelings about certain body parts and not others; I'm pretty happy with my genitals, for the most part, but my chest did eventually become a very upsetting area until I was able to sort out surgery. And even with that, when I first started to explore my gender identity, my chest wasn't a problem area at all. Sometimes things can shift a bit.

Another example: I am very close to someone who had a vaginoplasty and was saying right up until the trip to the surgeon that they weren't super dysphoric about their genitals but felt like having that done would make their life easier in various ways down the road. It turns out that they're super-happy with the results and it was the right choice for them to make, but certainly I think it's safe to say that many people who are able to have that procedure done and choose to do so are motivated in large part by dysphoria issues.

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Boxerlover
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Oh....sorry, stephenie
...I just didn't know what that word meant

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>insert signature here (I'm so clever ^^)

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Stephanie_1
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Gender Dysphoria is a term meaning discomfort with an assigned sex and/or gender and/or the gender norms and roles associated with either. If you'd like to find out more about that you could take a look at the article link above. It's a great article and has a lot of good information.

Also? Anytime you're not sure of a word, you can always try our search function and it will lead you to articles and sexpert advice answers with the word in it.

[ 05-11-2013, 05:06 PM: Message edited by: Stephanie_1 ]

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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Kerra-AftonDelvin
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Wow, thanks peeps! [Smile]

I read through the post and article you linked me to, Stephanie_1, and I must say they were very good in both allaying my uncertainty about how I should identify and also making me realise I'm not on my own in how I feel.

I think I felt like this because a lot of the time when talking to trans individuals or seeing trans representation through the media or internet, physical dysphoria was a large part of how they came to identify themselves; now I see that this is only my limited view of the situation and that actually once I see/hear more from a wider variety of people I will be able to understand how to find a harmony between my mental and physical state.

It's great to talk about this openly, thanks! [Big Grin]

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"When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don't seem to matter very much, do they?"
-Virginia Woolf

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Heather
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I'd also add to this that I think it's sound to think of how many cisgender people have body image issues, to the point of dysphoria.

In other words, were our criteria for someone's gender identity based on whether or not they had dysphoria or other kinds of big-deal body negativity, that'd be pretty darn problematic given that it impacts every kind of gender and gender identity there is. It also is deeply prevalent among cisgender women, so.

We know by now that gender is about so, so much more than bodies or looks. For sure, that's usually part of someone's gender identity and presentation and the way they feel about their gender, but only part.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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