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Not Trans enough?


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Alright so, I know this is a fairly common question that a lot of people ask themselves when they start considering the possibility of transition. I'll be looking at my feelings on the matter in depth with a gender therapist in a couple of weeks, but since the opportunity is here, I would love to get some feedback from other people that have faced this question themselves. Here goes...

I am a masculine person, both socially and physically. Even though I was assigned female at birth, I am tall and broad-shouldered with a small chest, and I was "misgendered" as male at many different stages of my life. When I was younger and felt that being female was a fact I had to live with, this made me feel terrible and wrong, but I did nothing to actively change anyone's perception. While I would occasionally lament that I didn't fit in with society's perception of a female, when I looked in the mirror I never thought I looked bad or ugly. 

 

Enter roleplay, video games, and escapism. I was introduced to the mind blowing concept of non-straight sexual orientation through fandom and suddenly the amount of time I spent thinking about Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo didn't make me feel quite as weird anymore. I had the opportunity to write and embody male characters and the disconnect between my physical self and the happier versions of myself that I was able to express online grew wider and wider. I was still a very outgoing, social person. I ran clubs for other geeky people in my area and got into a terrible habit of wearing bulky tshirts and broomstick skirts in what looking back is the perfect embodiment of my gender presentation confusion, but "gender identity" was still an unknown concept. I tried on other labels, mostly having to do with sexual orientation and the kink community in the earliest efforts to make sense of why I was so strange compared to girls my age. 

 

I learned what it meant to be transgender in the LGBT support club at my all women's university. At that point in my life I was an out, proud "gold star" lesbian despite the fact that my only lasting intimate relationship was with a woman who interacted with my male roleplay characters in the bedroom. Even then, it didn't click. I supported my trans brothers in the same way I supported everyone else in the community and continued on through some of the most confusing and self-destructive years of my life. 

 

I didn't (and don't?) want to be transgender, and I fought myself for YEARS. Even now, I keep dithering back and forth to what I feel are less extreme changes. Maybe I'm genderfluid? Maybe I'm transmasc but not fully a trans man? Maybe the fact that I'm okay with a more androgynous aesthetic and have reservations about possibly starting HRT means that I'm not "really" a trans man?

My experience doesn't fit the typical narrative. While I have experienced gender euphoria (especially when people call me "bro" my fricken heart, dude) I didn't suffer the sort of dysphoria that, at least medically, seems to be the very core of what identifies someone as trans. I keep telling myself that I don't "need" to transition, yet I look back at the last decade or so of my life and see how unhappy I've been. 

 

So that's where I am, and here's my question. Am I trans enough? 

If you made it through all that, thank you. :)

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  • Forum Moderator

JK the answer lies within!  From what I read you are.  In reality the question might be better asked without the "enough" because what is enough for one person may be too much for another.  You get to decide your status.  A good therapist will not tell you that you're transgender but will help you determine if you are and help you determine how far you need to go to be happy.  But the choice is yours.  You're here and that's a great start.  Don't beat yourself up over a label.   Enjoy yourself. 

 

Jani

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24 minutes ago, Jani said:

You're here and that's a great start.  Don't beat yourself up over a label.   Enjoy yourself. 

 

Some excellent points in there, especially when it comes to dropping that "enough". Thank you, Jani. :)

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I think if you are happy with the more masculine parts of your body already and you don't want to be more masculine then you don't need to do HRT. For me I have always loved my more masculine hands, broad shoulders, and the fact that I put on muscle easily, but I have a lot of chest and voice dysphoria and I wish my face were a little more masculine which is why I decided to transition. If you can already pass it makes sense that you may not have much dysphoria, but I do think there is something very important about the euphoria you do feel. I considered myself genderfluid when I was still trying to figure out where I was because there were a lot of times I'd have too much going on in the rest of my life that I told myself I couldn't really deal with gender right then so I'd suppress my discomfort. I was also so used to trying to avoid thinking about my discomfort that it was like second nature to suppress it. I think labels are really tricky. I think there may be a chance I could be transmasc, but I know I want to look like a man and I want to be seen as a man so I identify as a trans man. I think a very important question to ask yourself is have you ever truly identified as a woman? That was one that helped me determine that I wasn't genderfluid or at least not encompassing the full spectrum.

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34 minutes ago, SL said:

I think a very important question to ask yourself is have you ever truly identified as a woman? That was one that helped me determine that I wasn't genderfluid or at least not encompassing the full spectrum.


Thank you. That question hits, for sure. I can immediately answer "no" but it's definitely something I'm going to spend time processing. It feels really validating to read your conviction in how you identify. Rationally, I know there are a range of experiences and that everyone's situation is different, but it's difficult to accept when I feel so far from the norm. I also feel extremely privileged to be passing without really trying (especially if I don't speak), which is holding me back from claiming an identity that I don't feel like I've earned. This too is irrational, and I have received nothing but love and support from the community thusfar, so I am hoping therapy will help me address this.

If there were a pill that would change my female body into a perfect cis male, I would take it in a heartbeat, but I've done a lot of research on medical transition and I'm not entirely happy with the results that can be achieved (especially bottom surgery). I suppose I'm more afraid of being stuck somewhere in between than in a satisfyingly masculine female body.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience. It's really helping me sort through what I'm feeling.

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KathyLauren
21 hours ago, JK said:

I didn't (and don't?) want to be transgender,

...
My experience doesn't fit the typical narrative.

...

I didn't suffer the sort of dysphoria that, at least medically, seems to be the very core of what identifies someone as trans. I keep telling myself that I don't "need" to transition,

...

Am I trans enough? 
 

 

Hi, JK.

 

None of us want to be transgender.  No one chooses it.  There is no such thing as "trans enough".   If you are, you are, that's all.  And only you get to decide if you are.

 

Admittedly, the trans-feminine experience and the trans-masculine experience are a bit different.  I only know about the trans-masculine experience from reading forum posts.  But, from what I know of it, the experience you describe fits the typical narrative perfectly.

 

Just like there's no such thing as "enough", there's no such thing as the "right sort of dysphoria".  Everyone experiences dysphoria in their own unique way.  Your experience doesn't need to match mine or someone else's to be valid.

 

Whether or not you need to transition...  Ah, that is the question.  And only you can answer it.  Not everyone needs to transition at all.  Some people need to transition socially, but not physically.  Some need to transition a bit physically, but don't need all the treatments that are available.  Each of us is unique, any you are in charge of yourself.

 

The only thing missing is clarity.  For that, I would strongly recommend seeing a gender therapist.  They won't tell you whether or not you are transgender, and they won't tell you to transition.  What they will do is to guide you on a journey of self-exploration to find out for yourself who you are, who you want to be, and ho to get there.

 

Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

 

Kathy

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Hi JK,

 

The trans people that are on YouTube or in TV documentaries always seem to have a perfectly clear view of the path that they wish to take.  They have usually known that they are trans from an early age, and they transition and pass easily.  The videos portray the image that they want you to see, which may well not tell the full story.

 

If you read through this forum, you will see that there are many people like yourself, for whom the reality is not as clear cut. 

 

Robin.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, KathyLauren said:

The only thing missing is clarity.  For that, I would strongly recommend seeing a gender therapist.  They won't tell you whether or not you are transgender, and they won't tell you to transition.  What they will do is to guide you on a journey of self-exploration to find out for yourself who you are, who you want to be, and ho to get there.

 

Good luck, whatever you decide to do.


Thank you Kathy. I really appreciate you taking the time to address some of my fears. A lot of what you've said are things I know deep down, but the doubts are still there, flaring up and making me question everything. Thankfully I have found a gender therapist that isn't terribly far from my area and I have a virtual appointment in... 13 days now, not counting today! I know it's not going to be a simple process for me to figure out what's best, but the support I'm receiving here and from the one friend I have confided in are helping so much to quell the raging anxiety that I have been feeling since I started to accept the possibility. 

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27 minutes ago, Robin said:

Hi JK,

 

The trans people that are on YouTube or in TV documentaries always seem to have a perfectly clear view of the path that they wish to take.  They have usually known that they are trans from an early age, and they transition and pass easily.  The videos portray the image that they want you to see, which may well not tell the full story.

 

If you read through this forum, you will see that there are many people like yourself, for whom the reality is not as clear cut. 

 

Robin.

 

 

 

Hey Robin,

I think this absolutely contributed to some of what I was feeling. When I started questioning, my first instinct was to go into research mode. Until I joined this forum, that had been mainly through listening to the experiences and advice from the trans YT and tumblr communities. Ironically, I think I became less sure of who I was as the differences between what I was feeling and what I was hearing became more and more solidified. Really appreciate you calling this out. 

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  • Forum Moderator
Charlize

Thank you for such an honest and self searching post JK.

 The "enough" issue is one that could have chased me forever, and still may pop up from time to time.  At one point there was an attempt to use trans* as a definition for any who had gender issues.  That seemingly eased the "enough issue" for me.  HRT, dress, activity, or surgery issues had seemingly not only demanded certain steps but also kept me from finding peace with myself.

 Like you i had experimented with virtually every kinky activity but never was comfortable.  Being here and expressing myself as i also read of the journeys of others has helped immensely.  Today i can go to the market in a knee length skirt, unpack groceries and then jump on to a tractor and forklift a pile of lumber from our mill onto a crusty old union shop steward's truck.

 I've had some great therapy, am on HRT, after surgery but the most important thing is that i know i am enough.

We are here and can help each other to find that enough for themselves.

When i first got here i was told "I've got your back"
 

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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3 hours ago, JK said:

 I also feel extremely privileged to be passing without really trying (especially if I don't speak), which is holding me back from claiming an identity that I don't feel like I've earned.

I know you may not need to hear this since you said it is irrational, but just in case it helps to hear someone else say it: there is no earning an identity, it is simply who you are. There are different ways to be any identity. There is no right or wrong and there are tons of trans people who don't medically transition either because they can't for health reasons or financial reasons or they simply don't feel they need it and it doesn't make them any less trans.

 

3 hours ago, JK said:

If there were a pill that would change my female body into a perfect cis male, I would take it in a heartbeat, but I've done a lot of research on medical transition and I'm not entirely happy with the results that can be achieved (especially bottom surgery). I suppose I'm more afraid of being stuck somewhere in between than in a satisfyingly masculine female body.

I feel this one hundred percent. There have been a lot of advances made, but bottom surgery for trans men still has a ways to go. I would love to have a cis penis, but I think I want to wait it out to see if any more advancements are made. Between my anxiety surrounding surgery and the cost, I want to make sure I get exactly what I want and as of right now that doesn't really exist. Eventually I may settle for metoidioplasty, but settling still isn't ideal. The in between is scary so I guess you just have to decide what's worth it for you. At least with top surgery the only evidence is scars which can fade.

 

YouTube channels definitely make it look like all rainbows and butterflies. I have endometriosis and PCOS so finding stories of what it's like to transition with those issues has been very difficult. I think part of the issue is that the trans community still isn't that palatable in the majority of society so if you want your story to be heard, you have to make your story as palatable as possible. There is also probably more gatekeeping on youtube or tumblr because they are still potentially catering to cis audiences. 

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1 hour ago, Charlize said:

the most important thing is that i know i am enough.

We are here and can help each other to find that enough for themselves.

When i first got here i was told "I've got your back"

 

Wow, thank you so much. Hearing your experience and how at ease you are with yourself now is some heart-squeezing stuff. I might have cried a little.. Okay, I did cry a little. This is an emotional time. ❤️ Thank you, so very much. 
 

1 hour ago, SL said:

there is no earning an identity, it is simply who you are.

 

It does very much help to hear someone else say it. Thank you. 

I have a long way to go in figuring out what's right for me, so for now it's a matter of reminding myself that it's okay to take my time. I feel you 100% on both the surgery and media points. Hopefully some advancements are made in both areas. 

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Hi JK,

Many of our journies -- mine included -- have had us trying on different labels over time, and ultimately learning that the label isn't important. My acceptance of and comfort with myself is what's important.  I've settled on  non-binary which, for (AMAB) me, means I've concluded that I needn't strive to pass as female. I'm on HRT because after careful thought I believed it would help align my physical and mental self with my gender identity.  And it is indeed doing that, I'm happy to report. 

 

There are so many wonderful folks here, each unique in their own way. And I celebrate that!

 

With best wishes on your journey,

 

Astrid 

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