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Happier as the Opposite Gender?


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I'm a member of a well-known mental health forum. And recently I had what, at least for me, was an interesting (private) exchange with another member. I won't go into the details of the "conversation" of course. But in the course of our private messaging back-&-forth, I mentioned my life-long struggle with gender dysphoria. In the member's reply to my message, among other things, he said he had never thought about whether-or-not he would be happier being the opposite gender. So in my next message to him (along with carrying on our discussion in general) I observed that, for me, gender dysphoria has not been a matter of whether-or-not I would be happier being the opposite gender. It has been, for lack of a better word, a compulsion... something I simply had to express in whatever way I could. And when this other member messaged me back he again mentioned he had never thought about whether-or-not he might be happier as the opposite gender. 

 

I never sat down with a pencil & paper & wrote down all of the good (as well as bad) points about being male versus all of the good & bad points about being female & then decided I'd be happier being female. I simply always felt, from farther back in my childhood than I can even remember it seems, that I wanted to be / should have been female. Of course to my knowledge neither the term "gender dysphoria" nor the term "transgender"  had even been coined yet. And I had no way of describing what I felt. (I did know though that it was something I must absolutely keep to myself... which I did.) I just felt, instinctively, I had to do what I could, whenever I could, to try to give myself some small sense of feeling female to relieve that constant aching... that compulsion inside. Not doing so was simply beyond my power to control. However it seems as though cis-gendered people (I'm taking a broad-brush approach here I know) seem to assume gender dysphoria is the result of some kind of process of conscious choice: "Okay, so I have 20 good things written down here about being male. Oh! And I have 30 good things about being female! So I think it'd be better if I were female. But I'm not. Bummer...!" 😖

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Personally, I've always felt I was female. I just feel better now that my outside more closely matches my inside. Pros vs. Cons never really occurred to me. That may or may not be normal. I have a friend who said, "But your PRIVELAGE!!!" when I told them I wanted to transition. If that's the price I have to pay, I'm happy to pay it, you know?

 

Hugs!

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You got me thinking about this stuff again… oh well. 

I’m not really sure how to explain it, but growing up I always felt that I had girl tendencies.   But it was something I had to hide.  I spent most of my life overcompensating for this, always afraid I’d be found out.   I had never even heard of “transgender” (50’s & 60’s).   

When I think back on it, I did really think that I would be happier as a girl.  But of course I assumed that was impossible.  


So I ran like hell from it.  I was an awful transphobe and couldn’t even consider it until I was facing a life crisis and finally dared to take a peak.  That was when things began to fall in place.  

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this is pretty much the same for me and in retrospect for me it seems like im not transgender yet not quite cis gender too im 16 now going to turn 17 soon this year but i think maybe why ive felt like im trans is because jealousy of girls being more free on some things like clothes but then theres also the me trying being a girl in games i play where i could choose to be a boy or girl and i like choosing girl more maybe its just i hate the limits thats put on boys but for now it does still feel right even accurate to what my actual gender is but only by about 2% the other 98% i guess basically what gender i put for me here because gender apathetic and bigender to me is pretty much the same im going to find out more about both soon though

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Heather Nicole
8 hours ago, Overalls Bear said:

whether-or-not I would be happier being the opposite gender

 

I haven't started any transitioning, only just started seeing a gender therapist, and I still wrestle with a lot of self-doubt. But for what it's worth, this sounds like a pretty good description of how I've periodically felt for a long time (and much moreso the last several years.)

 

Since I was a kid I'd occasionally play thought games of "What if I was a girl?" And I've had many thoughts of "I would have been better off as a girl", or "Gee, if I was a girl I would so totally..." and later on, more "I wish I had been/could be a girl", "I wish I had a body like that, could get to wear that, be openly interested in that, openly act that way, etc." Kind of like a Pinocchiette, wanting to be a "real" girl.

 

I don't know that, for me personally, I would have described my own feelings as an instinctive need for "some small sense of feeling female" to relieve an ache. But then again, I hadn't really thought to consider looking at it that way before. So I find that interesting. I haven't really done a pros/cons list of "male vs female" per se, but I did start a list of "transition vs don't transition" pros/cons. For me, the "should transition" side turned out to be too big and unbounded to be meaningful, while the "don't transition" side quickly evolved into a list of worrys/concerns I had about the idea of transitioning that I've been gradually picking away at.

 

I guess the real takeaway is that even though individual details always vary, there are many people who nonetheless still deal with what's ultimately much the same thing. And we're here for you.

 

That reminds me, there was a philosophy class I once took, and at one point a particular analogy was discussed. I don't remember the context, but the whole idea was about a whole group of blind "men" standing around an elephant. Each blind person standing around that elephant was touching and examining a completely different part of the elephant, the trunk, the tusks, the legs, the tail, etc. So every one of them, when asked what an elephant is like, had a completely different, and often contradictory, description of elephants. But in reality, they were all correct, as they were all giving accurate descriptions of how an elephant appears from various different angles and perspectives. I've been coming to believe that's a very suitable analogy for the experience of being trans.

 

8 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

I have a friend who said, "But your PRIVELAGE!!!" when I told them I wanted to transition.

 

Ugh, I could rant forever about "privilege".

 

I really do feel for women who feel marginalized or rejected because of their gender, I do. But for me personally, as a 38 year old AMAB who's never passed (or tried to pass) as female, I have a TON of emotional baggage as collateral damage from the whole gender war I never asked to participate in.

 

For me, being male has only ever meant living a life of constant, pervasive, limitation, constraint, judgment, and unfounded accusation (guilt until proof of innocence). (Oh and I definitely don't have an income advantage over anyone.) And that's always hurt. Bad. Especially since I know I never asked to be male. So for me, the idea of "male privilege" would be laughable if it wasn't so incredibly hurtful.

 

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On 11/16/2020 at 10:18 PM, Heather Nicole said:

For me, being male has only ever meant living a life of constant, pervasive, limitation, constraint, judgment, and unfounded accusation (guilt until proof of innocence). (Oh and I definitely don't have an income advantage over anyone.) And that's always hurt. Bad. Especially since I know I never asked to be male. So for me, the idea of "male privilege" would be laughable if it wasn't so incredibly hurtful.

this is what i mean by limits also i dont know much bad things about being a girl but there's a lot of bad things i know about being a boy but if your gender says your a boy then your a boy if it says your a girl then your a girl but overall other people dont get to decide what the right gender label is for you 

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On 11/16/2020 at 10:18 PM, Heather Nicole said:

For me, being male has only ever meant living a life of constant, pervasive, limitation, constraint, judgment, and unfounded accusation (guilt until proof of innocence). (Oh and I definitely don't have an income advantage over anyone.) And that's always hurt. Bad. Especially since I know I never asked to be male. So for me, the idea of "male privilege" would be laughable if it wasn't so incredibly hurtful.

 

This resonated with me. I never felt I experienced much in the way of male privilege either. (Perhaps I did & I didn't realize it?) It certainly never showed up in my paychecks either. 

 

I've never felt comfortable around men. Somehow it always seemed they sensed there was something "different" about me even though they would have had no idea that, inside, I was waging a never-ending struggle with my gender identity.

 

It actually started as far back as high school where I was bullied verbally, emotionally & physically by a gang of older boys. They had no idea I was struggling with my gender identity. (I didn't either really. I simply knew I had to do what I had to do whenever I was alone.) They simply picked up on the obvious fact that I was small & clearly vulnerable... any easy target. And they took full advantage. 

 

My bullying went on for four years. Everyone knew what was happening (including school officials & my parents. But nobody cared.) I've never felt comfortable around men since that time. But then I actually don't feel all that comfortable around women either. So, consequently, I just keep to myself. 

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3 hours ago, Overalls Bear said:

This resonated with me. I never felt I experienced much in the way of male privilege either. (Perhaps I did & I didn't realize it?)

This might be hard to explain, but I think there is an amount of "male privilege" we don't realize before transitioning.  I raised 6 daughters and some of them are now my closest allies.  I was talking with one of then some time ago and mentioned how I am now very careful about where I go and when.  She said "welcome to the club, it's like that for me all the time."   Made me realize some things.

 

3 hours ago, Overalls Bear said:

I've never felt comfortable around men.

Yeah, I understand this.  I've always preferred the company of women.  And it wasn't because I was trying to "hit" on them.  Guys can be such jerks.

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1 hour ago, Jandi said:

This might be hard to explain, but I think there is an amount of "male privilege" we don't realize before transitioning.

 

I think it is the nature of privilege that we are not aware of it when we have it. 

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1 hour ago, KathyLauren said:

I think it is the nature of privilege that we are not aware of it when we have it.

 

Very true. I still don't miss it. I'd rather live as part of the underclass than plod out my days as a miserable male.

 

Hugs!

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1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

I still don't miss it. I'd rather live as part of the underclass than plod out my days as a miserable male.

 

Agreed 

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I could act "male" for part of the day, but I never felt male. How odd to say, as I didn't really begin my transition until I was 65! I was in retail -- a double whammy. First impressions are important in that field, and part of my "male act" was making sure the first impression was good. The other part was that women kept telling me I was attractive, and that also seemed to come in handy in retail.

Having transitioned, I realize now I was way too cautious and scared. I wish I'd started back in the Seventies. I have a tendency to overthink things, and this was one more example.

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1 hour ago, Georgette W said:

Having transitioned, I realize now I was way too cautious and scared.

Don’t beat yourself up about this, Georgette. Many of us in the community have had these feelings and justifiably so. Back in the 70’s and even the 80’s, it was a much different world. Finding acceptance in these eras was unimaginable. With no internet there was literally no information about this and the local library was no help. Finding another person like ourselves was almost impossible. Information is empowering. Things may have been much different if we had the options back then that we have today.

 

My Best,

Susan R🌷

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2 hours ago, Georgette W said:

Having transitioned, I realize now I was way too cautious and scared. I wish I'd started back in the Seventies. I have a tendency to overthink things, and this was one more example.

 

I suspect there was (still is) a lot of that going around.  I was the same.  But I just wasn't ready to face the world, and the world wasn't ready for me.  It's all better now.

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2 hours ago, Susan R said:

Back in the 70’s and even the 80’s, it was a much different world.

True.  Back then I didn't have a clue about being transgender.  Perhaps it would have made a difference.

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gina-nicole-t

Oh Lord back in 70's and 80's was it a different world. Sex and nudity was dirty, transgender wasn't even word in the language. Being gay was associated was having AIDS, and because of stupid people in out government at that time, people believed you could get it from every gay person in America almost by talking to them. (Head slap...) It would truly made a difference if we would have been able to get our treatment when we were young instead of having to wait. Especially those of us who had horrible parents. 

 

Gina 

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16 hours ago, Overalls Bear said:

I've never felt comfortable around men. Somehow it always seemed they sensed there was something "different" about me even though they would have had no idea that, inside, I was waging a never-ending struggle with my gender identity.

I connect with this part, OB.
I can't say I grew up feeling like I "wanted" to be a girl.  I did feel like I did not fit into the traditional male role... AND I also knew it felt REALLY good when I started to experiment at crossdressing in my teens.  I was unathletic and a bit feminine in build so I was constantly over-compensating to fit the only role I thought was allowed. 

 

Fast forward 40 years later .. and now I am confident in my self-identity and gender identity .. even though I am just at the very beginning. 
Its good to think through these things .. and even write them down.  Therapy is what helps me most.

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ElizabethStar

Pros of being male vs. female? My list for the male side is pretty short since overwhelming mental static is at the top. My mental capacity was reduced to yes/no answers. I became really good at problem solving and mechanics but I rarely expressed emotions.

 

I always knew, buried in the back of my mind somewhere, I would eventually transition but still tried to fit into the male world. I hoped I would be dust before it happened. I'm glad it didn't go that way.

 

15 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

Very true. I still don't miss it. I'd rather live as part of the underclass than plod out my days as a miserable male.

Absolutely. I wouldn't change it for anything.

 

7 hours ago, gina-nicole-t said:

Oh Lord back in 70's and 80's was it a different world. Sex and nudity was dirty, transgender wasn't even word in the language. Being gay was associated was having AIDS, and because of stupid people in out government at that time, people believed you could get it from every gay person in America almost by talking to them.

It was sentiment like this that sparked my internalized transphobia. If my memory serves me correctly it was at one point referred to as "the gay plague".

 

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I totally agree about the statements above about the 70s and 90s and I godfather and say until the 2000s. I am 68 and know I could not have tried to transition before and when I was working. I knew I was in the wrong body but barely was able to deal with the mismatch and knew those?around me would not accept me. Although nowhere near being a safe world it is now much more acceptable and I am so happy to finally not be afraid because the male world was not a happy one for me and yes I gave yes and no answers and couldn't express my feelings and the calmness I now have due to HRT has saved my life.

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7 hours ago, KayC said:

I connect with this part, OB.
I can't say I grew up feeling like I "wanted" to be a girl. 

Yes, whenever I write that I "wanted to be a girl", there's always a little voice in the back of my head that tells me that's not really how it was for me either. But I don't know how else to describe what I experienced growing up... at least not concisely.

 

The reality is (was) I don't know as I ever really thought about the things I did one way or another. (Maybe I did & I've just forgotten?) For as far back into my childhood as I have any recollection there was simply one part of me that lived life as a more-or-less normal boy. Then there was this other (secret) part of me that took advantage of every opportunity to do things that made me feel female.

 

I don't know as I ever really even thought much about what I was doing if I thought about it at all. It was simply something I had always done & something I knew I both wanted to do but also had to do. I don't think it was ever really a choice which is why I often refer to it as a compulsion. 

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"Male privilege" got me thinking, always a dangerous pastime -- 

 

On 11/16/2020 at 8:18 PM, Heather Nicole said:

I have a TON of emotional baggage as collateral damage from the whole gender war I never asked to participate in.

For me, being male has only ever meant living a life of constant, pervasive, limitation, constraint, judgment, and unfounded accusation (guilt until proof of innocence).

I experienced it as living an unrelenting competition in an immense universal hierarchy in every facet. From school-yard fighting to board-room working, I could never appear "weak" or "vulnerable." My strategy was people-pleasing, trying to guess what "they" were thinking  about my efforts to emulate their "coolness," "excel" and imitate their behavior. For twenty-five years, my "coping" with my feelings of not being high enough on that hierarchy to allow meaningful self-esteem consisted of being a practicing alcoholic. Finding a modicum of self-acceptance has taken me literally decades in recovery.

 

Until the Covid lockdown in March, I kept my attraction toward my feminine side strictly top secret/eyes only from all the world, initially even including myself, and expressed only when alone in private. It has become less guilt-ridden and more apparent through the years, especially since my wife passed, kids moved out, and I got a very accepting dog. I've most often experienced my femininity as being a vulnerable girl/woman, wanting to feel those feelings and dressing the part, especially the shape-wear and lingerie. Now during my 7-month and counting quarantine, my self-definition has evolved from "cross-dresser" to "MtF transitioning on HRT."

 

I have been wondering if I could ever "fit in" or be "accepted" by cis women. It seems to me they grow up with a huge set of challenging experiences I never had, and never will -- finding ways of coping with their "vulnerability." Girls grow up in a world of boys and men constantly passing judgment on them as sex objects, and lusting after them. I certainly was such a boy and man, and I am attracted to women still, but much more respectfully. Early on, I guess the prettier they are, the higher on their own hierarchy; hence, more "privileged" -- the cheerleaders, prom/beauty queens and perpetual trophy-wives? But most of them grow out of it, don't they? I don't know what they know. 

 

As they advance into adulthood, marriage and careers, most of the cis women I admire seem to have accomplished their own degree of self-acceptance by excelling in much more meaningful occupations than "looking cute." There is no doubt in my mind, cis women face "headwinds" during that growth that cis men do not. Misogyny, job and wage discrimination, predatory males, "little woman" disrespect. They have to find ways to cope.

 

Maybe that somewhat corresponds with being a boy - man trying to gain upward mobility in the hierarchical world in which I grew up and lived until recently, trying to act "hip, slick and cool," competing to be "better than the other guy," and never, ever acknowledging vulnerability. Being the "manly-man."  

 

I think "male privilege" is not having to find ways to cope with these problems, because they originate with men. I guess I never will know how this feels for the cis women. Even though for most of my life I have tried to imagine it by dressing the part, I always could turn it off, just by dropping back into my male persona. They can not. So, I wonder how generous cis women must be, when they welcome trans women like me into their female orbits. I do not believe that most cis men can be so generous. 

 

Please forgive the rambling -- just thinking out loud.

~~Hugs to all my generous trans-sisters, Lee~~ 

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2 hours ago, Lee H said:

So, I wonder how generous cis women must be, when they welcome trans women like me into their female orbits. I do not believe that most cis men can be so generous. 

It's been my experience that women are much more accepting of me than men.

I have theories about this of course.

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1 hour ago, Jandi said:

I have theories about this of course

Please share, if you'd like.... How/where do you make friends with cis women?

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1 hour ago, Lee H said:

How/where do you make friends with cis women?

 

The same way you make friends with anyone else? You connect with shared interests and discover you enjoy each other's company. You do little things for each other to cement your friendship and share your lives and achievements.

 

Hugs!

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This has been my song this evening. I love it and connect with it on so many levels at the moment! I'm off to get some much needed beauty sleep, see if it will make a difference! 😜

 

 

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      Hi @Tasha Marie, welcome to the forums! 😊
    • ElizabethStar
      I do a little bit of electrical work but mostly low voltage stuff, phone wiring and alarm systems. I wear a skirt and carry a tool bag.    
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