Trans 101: Ep 7 – What is Dysphoria [CC]


[intro music] Hi and welcome to another episode of the trans 101 series today we are going to talk about what is dysphoria Now I did make two videos on what is gender dysphoria as a diagnosis for children and for teens and adults this is the more medical aspect and understanding the diagnosis criteria Today I’m going to talk to you about what it feels like to have dysphoria and I’m going to try to explain it to you as best as I can It is very hard to kind of explain how you feel and have other people try to understand it especially when it’s something such deep rooted as gender dysphoria So what is gender dysphoria? Well it’s basically when you feel like your gender is not the gender that you were assigned at birth, all right So if you were assigned female at birth and you feel male, but your body does not appear the way that you need it and feel like it should appear you have gender dysphoria and you need to do something about it Now that’s like a basic kind of medical way of explaining it, because that’s what you need for medical diagnosis, but I’m gonna try to put you in my head and show you how I feel. All right I use this metaphor all the time, a lot of people like this metaphor. So I’m going to explain it to you. So I want you to close your eyes, or don’t I want you to imagine something for a second, okay. I want you to imagine yourself at a zoo and you’re in a cage. It’s one of those cages with the bars like that. On the other side of the cage you see a mirror and it’s kind of far away and you see yourself how you’re supposed to look, all right And when you are looking at yourself in the mirror through these bars you’re seeing who you are supposed to be, you’re seeing yourself so you see yourself either, I would see myself as male and as who I know I was supposed to be my entire life, all right and so it it’s really trapping right? You can’t get out of this cage. You can’t do anything about it. Well once you start to transition, all right, and that’s what i needed to do for me. I needed to go on hormones. When I went on hormones one of the bars went away and I was able to kind of reach my hand kind of close to touching that mirror which was fantastic. And then I needed to have surgery, in order to feel comfortable and to feel more like myself. Another bar went away And that bar went away so much that now there is a space that I can actually squeeze myself out of that cage and go to where the person that I know I’m supposed to be is and when I collide with that person that I’m finally I, I that’s me, it becomes one person and it becomes me there are also little bars things like being able to change your name legally, being able to change your gender marker which makes it easier for you to escape this cage This is my transition. Now there are some people who don’t need to do any of this. They are in this cage and they have dysphoria and in order for them to escape this cage and go near the person and become that person that they were supposed to be. Some people just need to change their name. Some people just need to go on hormones they don’t need surgery. Some people need to have surgeries. Some people need to be on hormones and have surgery and change their name and all of these other things Everybody’s cage is different. Everybody’s transition is different. You can’t say “oh you’re gonna go on hormones, you’re gonna have surgery, and then all your dysphoria is gonna go away you’re gonna be outside of that cage” It doesn’t work like that Everyone’s transition and everyone’s dysphoria is different So for me being in that cage was haunting, it was horrible. I was in that cage for, for nineteen years And it was debilitating. And when I started hormones at nineteen, like I said one of those bars went away I was still in that cage. I still felt uncomfortable. I still wasn’t the person that I wanted to be but as the years went by and I started to look more like the person I’m supposed to be, some of the bars started to go away And then when I had top surgery one of the bars completely disappeared and I was able to sliver my way out. Sliver? Slither? Slither my way out of that cage. And allthough I still do experience dysphoria at times I’m outside of that cage and that cage to me was the biggest barrier my entire life. I always felt like there was something different, something wrong, something off about my life I never realised it was because I was in a cage and yes obviously I’m talking about an, an emotional cage in my brain, but once I was able to realise I was trans it started to “oh I’m in a cage!”, “oh, these are these things that are happening”, “this is why I feel this way, that’s why I feel this way” so being able to kind of transition my way into what I needed to do, I opened up the door and I, and I got myself out and I still see that cage and I still see it, because sometimes I do still experience dysphoria in certain things and I’m like “oh, god I hate being trans because of this” and a lot of it has to do with like legal things, like legal work, paper work that hasn’t been changed or um people misgendering me for some reason like the dysphoria comes back but the main box I know I’ll never, I’ll never go back to that box because I was able to escape it I was able to do what I needed to do in order to be me at this point in my life right now Now that doesn’t mean that dysphoria is not gonna come back. I do have bottom dysphoria sometimes and um sometimes I don’t, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It fluctuates a lot with me. That doesn’t mean I go back in and out of that cage. It just means that there’s another barrier now that’s kind of presented in front me that kind of goes away sometimes, but then it’s presented in front of me, and then it kinda goes away So I know that it might be kind of like a very hard way to conceptualize what dysphoria is, but just imagine yourself in a cage and not being able to get out. That’s literally what it feels like, because your body is not feeling like who you are and not looking like who you are on the inside, and who you know you are supposed to be And please don’t conflate this with body dysmorphia. This is different. We’re not talking about “oh I hate the way my body looks, I need to change it” This is not that, this is gender dysphoria. This is needing to transition because the way that you see your gender on the inside and the way that you identify does not match the body that you are presented with. It’s not the same thing. And if you want more information about that literally just look at the gender dysphoria diagnosis. I made a video about it which I’ll link in the description below. Hope this video helped clear your mind a little bit onto what dysphoria is and how it is experienced. Obviously this is only my experience. I don’t represent the entire trans community, but this is just how I have felt it. Ummm and I know I am like making light of the subject and I’m kind of talking about it but it is, it is hard all right and there’s depression and anxiety that come with this and it is, it is horrible and debilitating and being able to free yourself from this cage doesn’t change your depression and anxiety but hhoo does it alleviate dysphoria, does it alleviate depression, anxiety. Absolutely. Especially if the depression and anxiety are linked to your gender dysphoria. And how you are being seen in society. Anyways thank you so much for joining me. I will see you later. Have a great day, bye! [music]

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Comments

  1. I like your cage metaphor. I always thought of it like I was a tiger trapped in a kitten suit, being smothered by it. Transitioning is the process of clawing my way out. Rips in the suit, like the disappearing bars of your cage… I like whole series. Thank you for making it.

  2. My biggest fear with transitioning is that I may not turn out the way I want to or things can go horribly wrong if I transition… I'm so scared and yet not doing so feels horrible too.

  3. This might be a weird question but is it normal to have dysphoria so bad you feel sick/faint? Whenever someone talks about the female biology i start to feel incredibly uncomfortable because i hate the fact that i have those organs, ive managed to distract myself from it for the most part but ive fainted for real 4 times now and counting. (all 4 were in class and it was really embarrassing lol)
    Mostly i just get dysphoria in small amounts but whenever someone starts talking about the female organs in detail i faint, but im totally ok with fx the heart.

  4. 😂 while scrolling through all the comments you get so much hate on the way you described dysphoria! I think you explained well I feel the exact same way as you, just the thirteen year old version!

  5. this was super educational to help me understand my boyfriend. but just to add, body dysmorphia is not as simple as "i hate my body i want to change it"–that could easily describe someone WITHOUT body dysmorphia. it is often accompanied with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia which are serious illnesses. and it's actually kind of insulting that that's what you watered it down to to make a point about what you're talking about. otherwise, good video

  6. Chase you're amazing and you and your videos have helped me so much with my gender identity and understanding myself better! (I haven't quite figured it out yet, but I know I will eventually) Keep being an amazing person and an inspiration to us all!

  7. For me it’s more like a translucent wall that I haven’t started to chip at yet much, but I know once I do I will start to be able to see myself more clearly

  8. Hii Chase, first of all, your channel is great! i learnt a lot about trans people throughout your videos. I am not trans, but I am very interested in the topic because, as a feminist, I believe that it is really important to get to know all that can be related to gender in order to understand it. Also, although I am not trans, I do have a lot of similarities with trans guys. I am a cis girl, but I have always been a «tomboy», as everyone says, and I think that, personally, I have dysphoria even though I'm not trans. The feeling that I get when I imagine my self wearing a dress, for instance, looks like dysphoria for me. It is not that I just don't like it, it is different. My question is: do you think cis people can suffer from disphorya?

  9. thank you you earned a subscriber I appreciate your definition and I just may use this video to come out to my parents I think it's a wonderful way to sum it up thanks for all your help keep up with the good videos!!!!

  10. with the cage thing
    I feel like getting my binder released a bar & I thought it was big enough to squeeze through but now im stuck between family acceptance & getting a packer

  11. Thank you so much for these videos. A friend of mine started their hormones a few months ago and this is helping me understand alot 🙂

  12. That was a beautiful metaphor Chase. I just want to tell you how much this series means to me. Thank you for sharing yourself. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  13. But like, what if you can’t see how you are supposed to be in the mirror yet? That’s what I’m struggling with. I don’t know who I need to be.

  14. I was out as trans in my 30s. Had a nervous breakdown and started back as a woman. I'm so confused now that I'm 40. I know I'm a man but omg my religious family will never accept me. But I'm dying inside. I have an appointment Monday with a psychologist who specializes in gender issues. I'm so scared.

  15. The worst episode i had of dysphoria was when i was being suicidal because my dysphoria was getting to be too much i needed to talk to a medical professional on what to do next and the first reponders almost showef up on my street. Nowadays my dysphoria rarely happens ever since i spoke to the therapist thst the doctors just have to deem im medically safe to start hormones and its mostly cured the depression. But its only a matter of time before my dysphoria strikes again

  16. I came out to one person and that one person is my best friend. This was yesterday. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to tell anyone else that I know but I’m here to say that I’m a trans male and I guess I don’t feel “trans enough” because my dysphoria isn’t what I usually hear other trans people mention. My dysphoria is really present in my voice and facial features, if that makes sense? But also very very heavily with the social aspect of dysphoria. I also have dysphoria about my chest but it’s not as intense as it is with my voice and face and social aspect. If anyone else feels dysphoria with their voice and face or socially, I’d really love to hear it so I can feel a bit more normal/valid.

  17. I have mild dysphoria and it sucks so bad because i probably dont have enough dysphoria to get a diagnosis but too much to just forget about it and be happy kjhsadkjs

  18. Thank you so much! I'm trying to gather the courage to come out as enby to my parents. I really want a binder and I've been looking into top surgery. Your metaphor is absolutely amazing.

    For me, a lot of my dysphoria differs daily, especially considering that I'm genderfluid. I go by a neutral version of my name, despite being pretty pronoun indifferent. The cage metaphor really felt right. For me, it feels a lot like my chest doesn't belong to me at all and I wish I knew it was okay to not "be a girl" when I was younger. I never have wanted puberty because of menstruation and breasts so for me, those give me incredibly strong anxiety, often to the point of making me nauseous and unable to leave the house without dressing in specific ways to hide this.

    I really don't like being referred to as female. It doesn't feel like it fits. I don't feel like I'm male either. I'm kind of a pendulum with weird barriers that keep it in place for awhile in a specific way.

    It took me a long time for me to realize I'm not female like everyone kept telling me I am. I struggle with using gendered restrooms, seeing my legal name, or even knowing my sex is female and that I will always be listed as female on my documents in one way or another.

    Sorry for the ramble! I just wanted to thank you so much for these videos. It is really helping me think over my dysphoria and transition process more.

  19. When I was younger I used to mildly wish I were born male, or at least with male parts. I also was a huge girly girl and was jealous of tomboys for some odd reason. These past few months though I’ve been having struggles regarding my female sex organs and would fantasize ripping out my uterus so I wouldn’t have to deal with periods anymore and I’ve been dressing more masculine but have been calling it androgynous. I don’t struggle with my chest too much, I hate it less than I love it but I still go through times of just wanting to flatten out (which is hard considering my weight). Most of my internal issues lie within the sound of my voice though. In my head it’s deep and raspy but when I actually speak it’s not how I would like it to be. I especially feel distress at work when I speak in a higher pitched “customer service” voice. Don’t get me wrong, I still love “feminine” things like makeup, dyeing my hair, and painting my nails solid colors, but I cannot tell you when I last saw a dress or skirt and thought that I would look good in it. I would much rather wear a suit or just pants and hoodies (like I’ve been wearing for almost a whole year now). Should I talk to someone about this or is this normal for a soon-to-be 17 year old?

  20. The way I describe my dysphoria is image feeling like a boy but everyone tells you your a girl so you go with it but once you got into your teen years you start calling yourself a man because you can see what a handsome young man you are but others can’t see it and when you look in the mirror you don’t see a woman you see yourself but as a man

  21. In Germany there is a word for this feeling you are feeling (other than dysphoria). It’s called „Fernweh“. To miss something far away from your current self. I started feeling SO much better after I started transitioning slowly, step after step. I was in such a deep hole it was such a dark place but now I actually feel like life is worth living for me. I feel good. I feel more confident and I feel more like me. I know I am doing the right thing! I don’t ever want to go back, I just physically and mentally can’t because it HURTS to think about it.
    Unfortunately my mother doesn’t understand and she’s sad and she feels like I am throwing my life away, even if it’s the other way around. Maybe is because I am less timid now?

  22. gender dysphoria made me rebel against authority and social establishment around age 12. Age 14, polytoxicomania, age 16, dropped out of school, suicidal tendencies, homelessness, poverty, depression, alcohol abuse, chronic back pain, unsatisfying love life, difficulties to keep a job, complicated relationship with my family, and, most people. Came out as gender fluid/gender queer at age 39, never felt better in my life, and social transition started, everything is going so much better than i could ever imagine, and medical transition starting soon, still on waiting list. If i regret one thing is that i should have acted on my dysphoria when i was a kid, tell my parents around 10 years old, use puberty blockers at 13~14, and start HRT at age 18.

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