For about a week now I’ve done a lot of reading, and watching youtube videos about being transgender. There are two very common threads in 99% of these stories. The first is gender dysphoria, and the second is the young age of the people who have transitioned.
Both of these major things are in almost every single video/blog/article/reddit post that I’ve come across, and neither of these things fit me, which has caused no small amount of confusion in my own mind. Let me try to explain, though please note that it is after midnight and I just took some nyquil due to a really bad cold, so I may not make much sense in my loopy state.
I will tackle Gender Dysphoria first. This is the biggest one, as it is what most, if not all transgender people feel. It is the feeling that you are the wrong gender. This usually presents in a discomfort in your own skin, specifically centered on the areas of your body that represent your gender (face, breasts, genitals, etc), and comes with no small amount of social anxiety due to your discomfort.
Now, I definitely have discomfort in my own skin. I dislike being around people, I don’t like to be touched, I constantly feel like people are looking at me and judging me, and most of it is centered on my body. My confusion comes into play because I don’t know if these feelings are because I am uncomfortable being a woman, or because I am uncomfortable being fat (or both).
Most of my discomfort centers on my very large stomach, ass, legs, arms, breasts and my face. I feel like people are constantly looking at those areas. I wear very baggy clothes and feel most comfortable in loose fitting clothing like sweat shirts that cover the problem areas. I do know my breasts are a very big part of that, and I know that I have never had them. I actually used to (when I was younger and stupider) wish that I would get breast cancer so I’d have to have them removed. While I do wish that they were not there, I am no longer stupid enough to wish cancer on myself (probably due to seeing my grandfather waste away to it).
What I have in terms of confusion is whether it is entirely my weight, or also my gender causing this discomfort. If (no, when!) I succeed in losing weight and reaching my goal weight, will my discomfort go away, or will it still be there? Do I have gender dysphoria?
I am also a sex repulsed asexual. I dislike sex, I have zero sex drive, and the idea of any kind of sexual encounter makes me sick, anxious, and extremely uncomfortable. I don’t like being touched, even by my own family. I don’t like people sitting too close to me, I don’t like people touching my arm when they talk to me, or hugging me, or even brushing up against me. I share this because I also wonder if it even matters if I have gender dysphoria. If no one is ever going to be close enough to me to touch me, do I really care what my body is like? Does it really matter?
The second issue is age. The vast majority of the videos I’ve seen are of people who started their transition process as teenagers, or at the oldest their early 20s. Yes, you can search youtube and find 30, 40 and even 50+ people going through transitions, but those are few and far between (there is a very touching 50+ year old one I saw).
I can’t help but ask myself if I am too old for this. Add to that the asexual aspect and it makes me question whether it is even worth it. I’d be risking a good job, my family, my life for something, it better be fucking worth it. And I can’t help but feel like it wouldn’t be, or shouldn’t be, or I worry that it’s not, or that I will regret it. Some of the changes can me reversed, and some can’t.
If you go on testosterone, then come off it, certain things are permanent, like the deeper voice, and whatever receding happened to your hairline, and of course if you got surgery to remove your breasts those wont magically grow back. So what if I regret it?
Between being older (33) and also not suffering the severe gender dysphoria people talk about, really makes me question if this is or isn’t something I want. I suppose that’s part of what the therapist is for. But I wonder is my social anxiety, my asexualism, my dislike of being touched, all related to my weight? Are they all related to gender dysphoria and it’s just not obvious to me? Are they related to nothing at all? Am I crazy?
I hear these stories from trans men (and women) where they talk about being uncomfortable as their birth gender from a super young age. They show before pictures of them as young kids already dressing and appear and presenting as the gender the identify with before they even know what gender dysphoria and transgender is.
I think my biggest fear is that this is just another bandwagon for me. I “practiced” (and I use that term very loosely) wicca for years, but only did so to get attention. The same went for being goth. I wanted people to look at me, to be confused and intimidated by me, to ask me questions about myself. I actually sought out arguments so that I could defend my point of view from perceived attack. This wouldn’t be the first bandwagon I’ve climbed on to, and it wont be the last. So I am scared to go through such a drastic process when it could just be another phase, resulting in mounds of regret due to what was lost.
I am going to do the smart thing. I found a therapist that has worked with transgendered before, and I plan to lose weight before I make any decisions so I can see what weight loss does to my mental health and my issues such as anxiety, asexualism, etc. If after I lose weight I find I am still feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, perhaps by then I’ll have worked this all out in my mind and know how I feel.
For right now it’s all just a jumbled mess of thoughts and emotions I just don’t understand, and don’t know how to pick apart.