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Transgender or Gender Dysphoria?

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  • #120212
    Janus
    Participant

    Lately all I feel like is covering up by body and not wanting anyone to see it. I was bullied in seventh and eighth grade so throughout my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I spent my time healing. I had lots of fun in high school and I joined the gymnastics team in the summer of my sophomore year. Even through the years that I was bullied in seventh and eighth grade, the idea of gender identity never crossed my mind, I was happy to be me. But after I had to quit gymnastics (runs from july through nov.) in late October two months before the end of the season because I had to help out at my parent’s restaurant, I’ve been getting the memory of the time in late august after gymnastics practice when a guy was sexist to me. during the time, he thought i was wearing a leotard to sexually stimulate men, i didn’t really pay much attention to him since i was still in gymnastics at that time and my teammates were very accepting and i forgot about the incident. in fact, even when i had to quit the team, i still wasn’t really affected by it. However, during march on my junior year at high school there was a guy who told me that i was worthless and weak as a girl and that girls don’t workout and play sports. i think this triggered the memory of what happened in the sophomore summer. when the summer of junior year rolled around, i couldn’t wait for it to be winter b/c i kept thinking that i wasn’t safe as a girl, that i needed to change my gender. towards winter, i thought i would be more comfortable since i was wearing sweatshirts and keeping my body hidden, but that nagging thought still stands. i grew up in a rough neighborhood and disguised myself as a guy when i was younger and moved out of the neighborhood when i was ten. currently, i’ve been very defensive, afraid to be hurt and covering up my body, afraid someone will judge it. there are times when i act like a guy and feel much better, but underlying that is still a fear that i’m not safe as a girl. furthermore, my parents are a bit patriarchal and they tend to think girls shouldn’t bench press, but i do it anyway. they say girls shouldn’t work out or be scientists, but that’s what i want to be. i want to be strong and confident and there are times when i am confident, but then my parents or someone else will say i’m being too prideful or say something mean. i just don’t know who i am anymore at times. when i pretend to be a boy and be strong and athletic or when i act like a girl and be athletic and strong people give me different impressions. i’m just tired of trying to find acceptance, trying to find which gender i fit in. also i despise gender roles in society, the idea that girls can’t be as financially sound as guys or be good sports people is annoying. to me, i rather be the person who is strong, climbing trees not afraid of being scratched and being competitive. i think the term “tomboy” is a bit insulting to girls and also the princess complex that girls should be princesses and guys should be superheroes.

    #120216
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shirley:

    For the longest time I didn’t feel comfortable being female myself. At times I felt like I was male, even though biologically I have always been female, XX, born that way. I associated female with weakness and male with strength and hated being weak. I wanted to be strong, hence I wanted to be male. I felt uncomfortable wearing feminine clothes and shoes and preferred comfortable clothing. Was never much into make up or fixing my hair and such. I now realize strength is available for girls/ women and boys/ men. Traditionally, in modern society, men had the societal power, in the family and outside the family. Much had progressed in this regard. But obviously,not everywhere.

    Here is how I view the issue now: female/ male is a biological distinction, one produces eggs (born with all the eggs ever produced) and the other produces sperms (during puberty and onward). There are some differences in muscle mass and distribution but that is not significant in modern high tech life. Other than that, you make your own rules, be what you want to be, wear what you want to wear. Climb trees if you want.

    Don’t make your life about being female OR male. Take yourself outside the gender controversy.

    anita

    #120246
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Shirley,

    Biologically, men are 20% stronger than women. However, it is easy for a strong woman to defeat a weak man! We are strong women. In ancient societies there was a place for us. In Scandinavia lore there were Valkyries and shield maidens. In fact, scientists recently unearthed burial sites where half the warriors were female!

    So when an average Joe sees a woman he instinctively knows can “take him”, The Patriarchy rears in his dim-witted head and he (tries) to bully us.

    When people would imply about me possibly being a lesbian, (usually because they’re threatened or couldn’t have me) I’d reply, “I know what you mean. I tend to attract very masculine men. Typically I dated people who look like Vikings or ride motorcycles.” And now I can scare them off by adding, “My husband will be here any minute if you want to meet him.” 😉

    Blessings,

    Inky

    #120607
    Janus
    Participant

    thanks a lot anita and inky;) anita, may i ask, how you got over the view of women as being weaker and thinking in biologically terms between them? i like that idea and i want to work toward it. i like your humor, inky. thanks for sharing that some of the warriors were female

    #120615
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shirley:

    I want to answer your question with a fresh brain that I hope to have tomorrow (you probably won’t be reading this anyway until Friday after school)/

    Till the morrow-

    anita

    #120671
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shirley:

    I want to attend to the title of your thread first and then answer your question.

    The title of your thread is Gender Dysphoria. I looked at Wikipedia and it reads there: “Gender dysphoria… is the dysphoria (distress) a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth.” It also reads: “Symptoms… may include any of the following: disgust at their own genitalia, social isolation from their peers, anxiety..”

    The following is true for me as I look at my history: I was unhappy with my body as far back as I can remember and in particular I was unhappy with the visible female parts. Basically, I wish I didn’t have those. I wished I was like those dolls I played with- no such parts. I didn’t wish to have male parts; I just wished I had no sex parts. During and after puberty, my unhappiness, disgust and shame over having female sex parts got more intense. I did experience a lot of anxiety over this and I stayed away from female peers, not wanting to hear about their female issues, didn’t feel part of it. I rejected my own female parts as well as other females.

    I wasn’t born with those feelings. I was shamed. It was drilled into me that sexual activity (in any circumstance) is disgusting, and women acting sexual are very shameful. I carried on this shame with me throughout my life, suffering for it for many, many years. I covered myself best I could, wearing loose fitting clothes (they also felt more comfortable, especially in the heat and humidity), and I was in no way a “girly girl.” I am still not an (older) girly girl. I still wear loose clothing but I am in my over five years of healing from shame, including bodily shame, starting with my first competent psychotherapy in 2011.

    Healing for you is possible too. If you are feeling distress about your body, any part of it or all of it, it is very possible to heal from it, and the earlier, the better. It is not required to change to an extreme; it may not be desirable or even possible. But it is possible to reduce your suffering by a whole lot and it is possible to come to peace with your body, being female and being post puberty.

    As to your question: ” how you got over the view of women as being weaker and thinking in biologically terms between them?” – my desire to be a man- like was not for sexual purposes- it was for the purpose of being emotionally strong, as social convention promotes that men are stronger. I wanted to be emotionally strong, that is successfully assertive, having control over my life, being active, not passive, being the leader in my own life, not being submissive to my mother, not being her punching bag and at her mercy.

    What I learned in the last few years is that being a man does not at all mean being emotionally strong- it simply is not the case. Men and women are equal in this area. Men are expected to be strong and they pay the price for it by (statistically) dying younger. Learning this, took away from my desire to be like a man. I am learning that I can be strong as I am. Building my own emotional strength is key.

    At this point, being a woman vs being a man does not mean much to me. I view myself as a person. Just a person- eggs or sperm production is irrelevant to me since I have never taken advantage of those eggs- did not become a mother and would not plan to be one even if I wasn’t too old for that.

    Did I answer your question? Please let me know your thoughts and feelings about any part of what I wrote here, if you have more questions for me regarding what I wrote here, or regarding your particular experiences, please ask. I would like to help you any way I can regarding this issue.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 2 months ago by anita.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 2 months ago by anita.
    #120679
    Janus
    Participant

    Thanks anita for sharing your story. before puberty, i often acted like a guy, but i wore skirts and didn’t really care. I wanted to be genderless, neither a guy nor a girl. after i hit puberty, i was okay with it, but i disliked the girls talking about how to make their bodies attract more attention from guys so i didn’t really associate with girls. also since i liked competitive sports, camping and doing strenuous activities, i had a lot of guy friends. i was never a girly girl either, didn’t care for jewelry, fancy clothes or makeup. i just wore casual, comfortable clothes and i still get annoyed at girls when they talk about ways to show off themselves b/c i value intelligence over looks. i didn’t really feel much of the social anxiety until march of my junior year. since the insecurity is just recent, it seems to come and go and some days, i can focus on myself as a person and other days i identify with females being weak. also i hate the societal ideal about how girls should have big bosoms and gluteus maximus which i don’t really care about. i read a quote once that “girls are like apples. the good apples are at the top of the tree. but the guys are too lazy or afraid to climb up to the top. so they pick the bad apples on the bottom. so the apples on the top keep waiting for a right guy wondering why they never get picked. but those girls that are at the top of the tree are special, they have to wait for the right guy to risk it and climb to the top of the tree.” i think i also connect with you when you say that you didn’t wish to be male directly, just to be classified with no gender. sometimes i see males at school trying to show off their strength and fighting and i realize i don’t want to be like that, neither do i want to be the female who shows off her body wishing her bosom was bigger b/c i don’t care about these things. i would much rather be intelligent than anything else. but my mind keeps thinking that i’m not good enough as a girl. i have a patriarchal family and my mom has an aunt who favors her son more than her daughter. she is often talking about how her son became a doctor while her daughter is working to become an actress. she thinks her daughter has her head in the clouds and that females can’t be studious as men. i don’t like my mom’s aunt’s remarks b/c i’ll do whatever it takes to be a scientist and she says that females shouldn’t be interested in true education. my mom has a bit of a short temper and i don’t like that. i think part of why i hate being female is that my mom is judgmental, pessimistic, temperamental, too materialistic, likes the fancy clothes (which i don’t care about). she also has a few minor health issues that are do to nutrition and exercise and she is very stubborn, since i always urge her to make herself healthier, alleviate some of it, but she doesn’t and then i hear her complain. i am not like my mom and i don’t even want to look like her. i am compassionate, open-minded, combining the science with the spiritual and a bit of the casual tomboyish side. my mom is also a bit patriarchal and i don’t like that. some of the things she says makes my inner bully seem to turn on. she doesn’t think i’ve applied myself well enough to school based on my sat scores and also she expects everything to be perfect in the 95 ranges. even if i have a’s and possibly one B, she will be mad about it and talk about how i can’t get into a good college. i’m searching for emotional strength as well and i have often thought that being male would help me be stronger, but i feel like the illusion of physical strength isn’t really real strength. there was a while when i thought i was great and confident after working out, but now i work out a lot and i still don’t feel peace with myself. the thing i want most in life is emotional fulfillment, to know myself beneath the labels. also when you talked about not becoming a mother, i think i am also like that. i think my career as a scientist would be a bit complicated with children and also i’ve always been better with the elderly than children. i like visiting nursing homes, speaking with the elderly and learning what they have retained from their life, i think it is quite insightful. also i feel a bit jealous of children in their innocence and happiness b/c i wish i could be like that instead of thinking of a lot of responsibilities and the complexities of the world. i want to make my world simpler again, to erase away the pain, insecurity, fear that i’ve learned and start with a blank state. i want to learn how to be a real person underneath the labels and to see myself not really in either gender, but as an evolved human being who knows exactly what their soul is. i was also drilled in my mind to not flirt or be involved in sexual activity either. even though ap biology and health class cover sex, my parents kept the doors closed to it. there are questions i wish i knew like how my mom felt when she first held me in her arms, if there are any genetic diseases that run in the family, things like that. but neither my parents show any interest or talk about it. they think that i don’t need to know about them, but i want to, so i can prepare myself better. and as a scientist, i want to study the genes and possibly find cures for them.

    #120683
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shirley:

    Regarding the apple tree analogy, here is what is wrong with it: you don’t have to wait for a man to pick you. This is part of the (emotional) strength I wrote about- you don’t wait to be picked; you pick! Waiting to be picked is passive and that is weak; picking is active and that is strength.

    And since you will pick, and not wait to be picked, there is no reason to dress girly-like or provocatively or to flirt. You will be doing the picking!

    Your last post made me realize that I too didn’t want to be like my mother, so I didn’t want to be her gender as well. That makes sense.

    Back to picking- you pick the values you believe in and leave your mothers and aunt’s values (or lack of) on the tree. Then you walk away from the tree. Your family of origin can have less and less of a place in your life. You can choose, one day, to no longer be there to hear what triggers your inner bully.

    You can be free to be and become more and more who you are (a person I like, value and respect!)

    anita

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 2 months ago by anita.
    #120723
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shirly:

    More thoughts, about actively picking instead of waiting to be picked: the good things about it, is if you are waiting to be picked, you are more inclined to follow social convention of what will attract men. There is a competition of sort: who looks better (and better is, by current social convention, like you mentioned- a bigger behind and breasts… the big-behind-is-attractive is, by the way, a more recent convention, heavily and successfully marketed). You don’t have to participate in that competition. You don’t have to look more feminine than others, so to attract the men doing the picking.

    When you do the picking, you decide how to do it. And I mean picking in any area- you decide. You go for what YOU value. You value a kind, intelligent, scientifically oriented guy- you approach him with your kindness, intelligence and scientific orientation. This will be the Shirley way, not the social convention way.

    In other words, you don’t have to develop a ..big behind (ha ha). Develop further what you already are and want to be more of!

    anita

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 2 months ago by anita.
    #120734
    Janus
    Participant

    I like your advice anita about not waiting to be picked, but picking actively by your own choice and not societal standards. when you mentioned the family tree and picking the apples of the values that mattered and then leaving the rest of the tree behind, that made me smile. i now have a vision of an apple tree and me picking the values that suit me and not the ones that society values. i will not be like one of the apples on the tree waiting to be picked by others and subject to societal standards, but i’ll be the light that shines upon the tree instead. i agree that true strength isn’t about looks or waiting to be picked, but having the courage to go out there and pick on your own. there is a quote i found on tinybuddha a while ago that says “be strong enough to stand alone, be smart enough to know when you need help and be brave enough to ask for it.” i think it takes courage to be your own person when society tries to push you in different directions, so you must be strong enough to stand alone when you need to, smart enough not to seek help if you feel you are falling into your inner bully and brave enough to speak out what you feel.

    #120746
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shirley:

    I miss opening with dear Shirley, earth angel, but that opening is special to the longest running thread on tiny buddha. Don’t forget to go back to it. And continue on this thread, on the topic here anytime.

    I like your conclusions very much, best articulated here: ” i will not be like one of the apples on the tree waiting to be picked by others and subject to societal standards, but i’ll be the light that shines upon the tree instead.”-

    Please, do just that, live your life this way!

    anita

    #120757
    XenopusTex
    Participant

    Hehe Valkyries. See “What’s Opera Doc” for the Warner Brothers’ take on Valks 🙂

    Villages where half the warriors were women probably means that it was a small village:) Back in the day when combat was up-close and personal with swords, axes, etc., I’d bet on the average male warrior over the average female warrior every day and twice on Sunday if for no other reasons than reach and endurance.

    Here’s the thing: the feeling of “safety” isn’t about gender. On average, men are physically stronger than women as was noted. There are reasons for that beyond primary and secondary sex characteristics. If a man, XY, does not have the ability to make proper hormone receptors, the man develops with a sterile female body plan with average size and strength between that of a man and a woman.

    The other thing is that trying to come across as a “man” probably won’t make you anymore “safe”. There are differences in how men and women walk, there are differences in proportionality, and generally differences in size. I sometimes work with a woman who is 6’3″ tall, but, even with body armour on, it’s still pretty obvious she is a woman. However, with a Glock 41 and ~5 x 13round mags of .45ACP + 1 in the “pipe,” she’s somebody you wouldn’t want to mess around with.

    Not understanding the scientist thing. There are some jobs that I truly don’t think would typically work for women, but research isn’t one of them.

    #120838
    Janus
    Participant

    thanks for your input xenophusrex. i think developing emotional strength is the most important. like you said pretending to be male isn’t going to help b/c deep inside, the more i pretend to be a masculine, the more i’m not appreciating who i am as a person. i should focus more on who i am as an person, the whole of me and the talents i have rather that the letting the parts that limit me hold me back. sometimes i wish i was taller since i’m only 5’5” b/c i would like to have more height on me and look more domineering. a lot of my friends at school are taller and sometimes it makes me feel a bit insecure around them. we have our false notions of what gives us strength and power brought on by societal images when we should focus on who we are on the inside. even though males are stronger physically than women, both when they work hard can meet the same standards academically. but women receive less income than males do and also women are more prone to self-image issues to meet the ideal body type of society. i never want to be that body type and confined to such a limited view, i just want to be normal and self-fulfilled. i think part of the reason i hide my body is b/c i don’t want people to judge it. also anita, i think i will post on the other forum, look for a post.

    #120867
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shirley:

    A member, norit, posted on your thread but it didn’t record here. You can find it in Activity (more than 10 hours ago). It included an attachment. Here is a copy (the attachment didn’t copy):

    “Hi Shirley,
    I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties you’ve faced and are still facing. I don’t feel I can comment on ‘Transgender or Gender Dysphoria?’ because they’re not things I’ve had experience with.
    I agree with you, I too despise gender roles in society. Girls can definitely work out, or be scientists. Girls can be whatever they want to be. I hope it’s okay for me to share, and that these links work: your thread reminded me of the #LikeAGirl campaign, which is something I find quite empowering as a young woman –

    Fairytales always drive me nuts because they’re about the young princess being saved by the strong prince. Please, who needs a prince? We can save ourselves!”

    #121140
    Janus
    Participant

    thanks anita for posting norit’s post here:) i just looked at the #LikeAGirl campaign and I think it is quite inspirational. I agree that fairytales are a bit annoying b/c the princess always get saved by the prince when they are strong enough to save themselves. i also find romance videos and books a bit annoying b/c i think they are a bit sappy and also real-life isn’t really like a fairytale or a romantic comedy. i’m a bit like Holden Caulfield in “The Catcher in the Rye” when it comes to movies. I don’t like violent movies b/c there is enough violence in the world instead of making a movie about it. the media often annoys me with its views of things. people have portrayed ghosts as bad, but i think of them as lost souls who have crossed over, but they don’t know where they are. also i have always liked clowns as a kid, but the media makes clowns seem evil. there is a quote in The Catcher in the Rye” that appeals to me “About the movies, don’t even mention them to me, they’re all fakes.” I think books are better b/c the writer spent time with his/her thoughts and wrote the book.

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