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Coping With Dysphoria

| Oct 22, 2018
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Gender dysphoria: “The distress a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. In this case, the assigned sex and gender do not match the person’s gender identity, and the person is transgender.”

Now that that’s out of the way. . . .

A Facebook friend recently asked for guidance on how others cope with gender dysphoria. It’s something I have wrestled with, and continue to do so every day. I spent decades denying my true identity, and I had a closet full of reasons, including physical ones.

Let me zero in on just one example: my legs.

I have long, decently shaped legs. I’ve had several women tell me post-transition that they think they’re one of my best features.

Unfortunately, their surface isn’t too attractive. Both legs have a lot of dark spots from poor circulation. Even though I’ve lost two hundred pounds and improved my health dramatically, the spots haven’t gone away. One leg also bears large scars from a bout with cellulitis many years ago.

For years I told myself I couldn’t transition because of my ugly legs. I couldn’t wear dresses or skirts without revealing them, and I didn’t want to be stuck in slacks all the time.

Then, one day, as Claire was starting to assert herself, her voice told me, “Silly….don’t you know this is what leggings and opaque tights are for?”

I looked long and hard at my assets. I have been blessed with long, slim fingers, so I invest in acrylic nails and professional manicures to accentuate them. I have also been blessed with good skin, so I’ve now adopted a skin care regimen to keep it youthful for as long as possible.

There are some things I can’t change, and I’ve learned to accept those. I’m six feet tall. For years, I saw that as a barrier to transitioning…then I started noticing all the six-foot tall women in the world. My shoulders are too broad, my neck is too short, but I can’t do anything about that. Same with my size 12 feet.

My therapist said something to me this year that made me think. She suggested that sometimes, when I might think I’m being read as trans, it might simply be a case of people judging me by society’s rather arbitrary and unfair standards of female beauty. That helped me deal with dysphoria… that helped me a lot.

But you know what helped me more than anything? After I went public, my story generated some media attention. The social media trolls came out, including one guy from California whose FB profile picture showed a shaved head, a thick neck, and a California tan. He offered the highly original comment: “Dude looks like a linebacker in a dress.”

One woman chimed in: “I was born female, and I look like a linebacker in a dress on my good days.”

But the one I loved most, the one that caused people in my office to come in asking why I was laughing so hard was this:
“So what? You look like a sunburnt thumb!”

Don’t mess with us, boys. Don’t mess with us. It won’t be a fair fight.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul

Claire H.

About the Author ()

Claire Hall was born and grew up in a large city on the left coast and has spent most of her adult years in a beautiful small coastal community where she's now an elected official in local government after spending many years as a newspaper and radio reporter. In her space time she loves reading, writing fiction (her first novel was published by a regional press a couple of years ago), watching classic Hollywood movies, and walking.

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