Gender dysphoria is a complicated thing, and it varies from person to person. We usually see transgenders dealing with gender dysphoria. But the truth is non-binary people who aren’t trans, also experience gender dysphoria.
Confused? Read on.
What is Gender Dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria (GD) is the term coined for the distress a person experiences caused due to the difference in one’s sex assigned during birth and gender identity. Furthermore, it is popularly believed that transgenders are the only ones who have gender dysphoria.
“Clinically significant distress” is the critical element of gender dysphoria, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
Up until 2013, gender dysphoria was termed as “gender identity disorder”. But this was modified to GD, due to the obvious stigma around the term ‘disorder’.
Many studies like, studies of twins, points out that genetic along with environmental causes could be the reasons for gender dysphoria. Certain researchers and transgenders vote for declassification of this condition. Since this diagnosis successfully re-establishes binary gender model and pathologizes gender nonconformity.
Treatment for GD, as we all already know, might be to help the person throughout the process of gender expression transformation. Furthermore, treatment to assist these changes can include surgery or hormone therapy. There is a requirement for psychotherapy or counseling also, as part of this treatment process.
Gender dysphoria and gender non conforming are not the same thing, not even close. Gender nonconformity is nothing but not agreeing with the gender binary. These people do not specifically match the male or female gender norms.
Describing Gender Dysphoria In The Way Which Involves Non Binaries Too:
The non-binary people who don’t want to transition to the other biological sex, should never deal with gender dysphoria. Hence the ones, who claim to experience it, are just trying to be cool by making use of trans-language,
This is absolutely not true, and has led to many “transtrender” debates and arguments. This sort of sordid bullshit is obviously expected from cis people. Therefore it is downright hurtful, when trans folks believe the same.
People who are against transgenders are called as transphobes. And they always love to spew shit like “It’s just a feeling that will fade away”. Despite all those studies which indicate a possible scientific reason for gender identity. Sigh.
But why do trans people who are binary, fail to understand that some do not identify with the gender binary? I mean, it’s just like how they do not identify with their assigned birth gender.
DSM-V, interestingly described gender dysphoria in the way which involves non binary people too. DSM-V listed having the same feelings as opposite sex or alternative gender which is different from one’s birth assigned gender, under “symptoms”. The others in this list are craving to be treated as or strictly identifying as the opposite gender.
Many Non Binary People Agree With DSM-V:
Several non binary people confirmed that they have experienced similar kinds of dysphoria as others. For example, they are absolutely okay with their genitals but not body hair. Many non binary people are comfortable with only some parts of their body and not all.
A Facebook survey, which called out all the non binary people, revealed that there are many non binary people who experience gender dysphoria. This survey was conducted by Tris Momone, a gender non conforming person. “Within a week I got all the results back, and it turns out I was right — non-binary people do have unique experiences with dysphoria”, wrote Tris on The Establishment.
Most trans people experience gender dysphoria right from puberty. However, this seems to be the same case for non binary people too.
“I figured something was off [at age] 10,” said Kay on the survey, “but it wasn’t cemented until someone called me a man around three years ago, and I involuntarily cringed.”
“I was ‘not like other girls. Always knew this,’” added Naseem, “but didn’t start experiencing dysphoria until I hit puberty, which began around age 9. By 11, when I started my period, I had 100% developed dysphoria. By 14, from the beginning of high school, I was already saying that I should have been born a boy. Called myself ‘a gay man in a woman’s body.’”
Amy said, “I didn’t feel like I fit in with girls or women from the time I was maybe 8 or 9, but I didn’t fit in with boys, either. I didn’t know being gender fluid was a thing until I was in my late thirties. It explained a whole lot.”
Gender Dysphoria Was More Mental Than Physical For Many:
Some people who took part in the survey said that, gender dysphoria is more of a mental experience that physical in nature.
“I have a very androgynous body, so it quite suits my gender. I’m lucky. But I was forced into femininity for so long and it caused me great distress. I’m genderfluid and sometimes feel feminine, but other than that I never dress feminine, so as not to put myself in a position to be dysphoric. It would trigger my mental illness symptoms, which are anxiety and dissociation mostly”, said Jude.
They feel uncomfortable with only some parts of their body. “I love my breasts most of the time,” said Amy, “and I would never want them gone. But I absolutely do wish I could alternate genitals, and I would love it if I weren’t so curvy. I don’t mean fat (even though I am). I mean smaller hips, less hourglass.”
For Kay, dysphoria is chest centric. Danielle said that their dysphoria led to eating disorders. “I wanted to attain a small straight waist like my male friends,” they say, “but my body was and is curvy.”
The Intensity Of GD:
Nearly all the partakers confirmed that the intensity fluctuates on basis of circumstances. Ingrid said, that their dysphoria is between 5-10 on an average. Amy said that sometimes they feel “100% comfortable,” and sometimes they “don’t even want to be seen.”
“My dysphoria fluctuates almost hourly,” said Daylin. “I feel fine, look in a mirror. Not like what I see, and my day is ruined. The good thing is, I seem to have the ability to turn off my dysphoria subconsciously when I’m going to work. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s obviously very useful.”
Similar to many trans binary people, some non people undergo transitioning: medically. Ingrid and Daylin took hormones and hope to someday get bottom and top surgery.
Some are still not sure about transitioning. “If I decide to have children,” said Naseem, “I would ideally like to breastfeed, and there doesn’t seem to be enough informed doctors to do a top surgery in a way that would allow me to do so.”
Let’s all hope that one day medical professionals will take gender dysphoria in non-binary people with some seriousness. And provide required medical care. Let’s also wish for the day when non-binary don’t need to face transgender accusations.