Dysphoria itself is sometimes strange to me, so it’s hard for me to judge the relative strangeness of various aspects. So here’s an incomplete list…
- My voice. It’s deep and resonant. Not very typical for women.
- My height. I’m tall for a woman.
- My shoulders are broad, and my rib cage is larger than most women’s.
- My hips are narrow relative to my body, though body fat redistribution has helped give me a little bit of curves.
- My breasts – they’re smaller than they would have been if I hadn’t gone through testosterone poisoning, plus my frame is larger, so they look even smaller still, relative to my frame.
- My feet. It’s hard to find cute shoes in my size.
- My hands. They’re larger than most women’s, though they have slimmed somewhat.
- My genitals — vastly improved since I had bottom surgery!
- My inability to have a period
- My inability to get pregnant and carry a child.
- My hair – it’s thin and while I’ve had some regrowth since getting rid of testosterone, I still get self conscious about it.
- My forehead
- My brow line
- My nose
- My jawline
- The skin on my face – it still grows hair, well beyond female typical.
- Missed experiences. I never got to:
- Go to a sleepover
- Develop close supportive friendships with other girls
- Go to homecoming/prom in a formal dress (I didn’t go to prom at all)
- Wear a wedding dress to my own wedding
- Hang out with girl friends at the mall
- Wear a bikini to the beach (yeah I can do it now, but it isn’t the same as when you’re young)
- Learn how to be a girl like most girls get to
- Play with makeup when it isn’t as embarrassing to make mistakes
- When in a women-only space, I still sometimes feel like people think I might be intruding
- When other women talk about shared experiences, I usually have no first-hand experience.
- “When I was a little girl…”
- I sometimes feel really awkward inside my own body – I worked so hard to suppress the instinctual way my body moves to make sure it was only moving in “masculine ways”, and allowing it to move naturally just doesn’t feel right… yet. This feeling can become heightened when I observe other women who are obviously well in-touch with their bodies – dancing, exercising, even just grocery shopping can trigger this dysphoria.
- I feel very vulnerable in today’s political climate. My rights and even my identity feel like they are at risk at all times.
- If someone were to challenge who I am, the burden falls to me to prove that I’m a woman, when other (cisgender) women don’t have to worry about that.
- If there were a situation where police had to become involved, I have a very real risk of being mistreated by those police officers. And if I were to be incarcerated, I am at risk to be placed with the male population, where I would almost certainly be assaulted.
- I can be fired, evicted, and even killed in most states with little or zero consequences for the person who does these things to me.
- I deal with doubt, depression and anxiety which are largely due to the ways that I am treated/mistreated by others because I’m transgender
- I have to spend astronomical amounts of money, time, and energy on just getting myself to a place where most other people naturally exist.
- I still feel like an outsider or even a pariah in most places.
All that said, I’d never go back to the way things were. I am a woman who happens to be transgender, and my life has become worth living because I accepted and embraced this truth.