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Why must it hurt?

Guest JazzySmurf

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Guest JazzySmurf

In particular, why must it hurt to be mis-gendered?

This is something that I've been thinking about, off and on, and I want to ask this question to hear your thoughts. This is on the Buddhist forum mostly because of the style of thinking, but it may also be part of the Transsexual forum as well.

(1) Is it because (the-universal-)they are trying to hurt us? Some very well may, and some may just have made a mistake. Even if there was an intention of be hurtful via their words, must we necessarily be hurt?

(2) Is it because we are not really the gender that we wish to present? This may ruffle some feathers, but it may be worth contemplating. Even if it were true, how would being mis-gendered in this context necessarily lead to being hurt?

(3) Are we looking to people for approval of our gender identity? We are women, we are men, etc, yet is there still a little child in us that seeks approval from others? Is the difference between their judgment of us and our identity necessarily hurtful?

(4) Are we feeling the pangs of disappoint for not "passing" in our appearance? If we are, say, women, and did not happen to look like a stereotypical woman at some time, in somebody's mind, does that necessarily lead to being hurt when our "failing" is pointed out to us?

(5) Does it trigger dysphoria? Are we hard-wired to feel dysphoria and hurt when somebody mis-genders us, or is it a result of conditioning, perhaps due to the way we were raised?

(6) Do we feel lesser than people who did "pass" at that particular moment? Do we judge ourselves on based on how well we conform to societal norms of gender expression and then necessarily change it for the worse when some person "fails" us?

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  • Admin

Each of us is striving to know our own identity and to be secure in it. The misgendering shakes our sense of self identity and causes us to have disharmony with the parts of our mind we are still learning to harmonize. It is to us the accidental sharp or flat note that disturbes a musical phrase we are trying to compose in ourselves. We are re writing our own lives, and our composition must be played as we compose it, or it is someone elses work which we can no longer listen to without pain or grief.

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Hi Sam,

I'd leave off #1 for myself. The rest apply in some form or another, in some level of importance depending on the moment.

We always say we were misgendered. But, as an animal with animal instincts, people are not trying to "gender" the other person, but to "sex" them. So, people misinterpret our sex? Not really, just an innocent statement of a painful fact. Hence dysphoria, and all the displeasure that goes with.

We are in the Buddhism Forum... Perhaps that dysphoric reaction could be treated as a koan? Does the dog have Buddha Nature? Does the transperson have sex M, or gender F? Not a really good koan. But, to practice mindfulness in that moment, there is a lot to learn. I like to quote Patrick Swayze, "Pain don't hurt". Misgendering can be painful. It is our reaction to it that allows it to hurt. That's our practice.

Love, Megan

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Guest Jaques

I feel its the attachmentwe have to the body which causes the pain, if we didnt identify with the physical so much, i dont believe it would bother us - but getting to that point isnt always as easy as it might seem

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Guest JazzySmurf

How can we seek to reduce our attachment to our bodies if many of us are seeking to (hormonally/surgically) alter our bodies?

By the way, I'm mostly responding to posts here via koan-ishy type questions, but if you find it tiresome, I'm happy to carry on a usual discussion as well :-)

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Guest Jaques

OK, this is just how i feel about it - when I started to study buddhism, i began to study myself, really look inside to understand why i am as i am, think as I think etc - way way along this line, i began to understand the pain caused by attachment to anything, at that time, my "wrong" body - i learnt by experience that all the time spent agonising over it produced nothing positive and i suffered more. For me, i feel, i brought myself into my present body by way of karma, i felt i had to alter my physical body to "line up" with the way my mind was - to an extent this has helped me.

If id followed what i feel is truth, then having a male or a female body, with or without gender dysphoria, or if i had 10 heads, it would be of no consequence.

ergo - i suffered from gender dysphoria because i couldnt accept this is how it is "this time around" and instead of concentrating my mind on all the things that were hurting me, i could have said "so what" - its not about this, let it go and got on with whats really important.................i try to do this -though its easier said than done - and of course life isnt easy for anyone on this particular path - its that completely letting go thats the hard thing - i keep hanging on to "me". with the big EGO,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

and im not saying this is how anyone else should see it! - and no, jazzy smurf, i dont find your question tiresome :lol:

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Guest JazzySmurf

"What things are important, and why is it important?"


"Suffering comes from a belief that our condition is, somehow, eternal. If we think something is good or bad, then we bestow the concept of eternalness in our condition. For example, for behavior we may think "No, don't do that! / Let's do that!" before-hands or "I can't believe I did that! / Let's do that again!" afterwards. Also, for everyday life, we may think "I'm glad I'm young/making money/gorgeous/smart/strong! [perhaps secretly thinking, I don't want it to end!]" if situation is "good" or we may think "I don't want to be this! / How do I change it? / How do I cope with my situation?" if situation is "bad".

If we listen too much to chatter of good or bad, then we can lose sight of the purity of our being. Let's be still through the chatter and just see ourselves as we are; for example, being transgender is simply being :-)"

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Guest Jaques

When i say important things, i mean concentrating my mind on the things of the soul/spirit,so that what ever my external condition,being trans, not having this or having that, i dont suffer because they become less important - and yes i understand what you say "being transgender is simply being" - acceptance is the thing = but as i said before, its often easier said than done, lol!

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Guest JazzySmurf

Yeah, definitely :-) It is often the simple things which can be difficult. With practice, it will come! "At the beginning, nothing comes; at the middle, nothing stays; at the end, nothing goes" ~Milarepa :-)

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