Gender Euphoria and Gender Dysphoria

Posted: December 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

Gender transition is a confusing process for me. I have long periods of movement towards femme. Then suddenly I find myself in a period of retrenchment. I am at war with myself. I have been going to parties in femme or high femme and I have felt completely accepted, more accepted than I ever felt in butch. I feel euphoria. Then the next morning I wake up and face the prospect of going out in the world and I get deeply depressed.
I desperately want to go out in high femme. I want to express myself. I want the people I interact with to know that I am a girl, yet the prospect fills me with anxiety and despair.
For the past three days I have found myself in front of the mirror waffling between femme and butch. Femme does not feel safe when I am vulnerable, but dressing butch feels like a self betrayal. The discrepancy between the euphoria of being high femme in safe spaces and dressing more butch in daily life is too great. Paradoxically, when I break though a new barrier of self-expression and feel greater acceptance of femininity, it is followed by deeper despair, because I want to be femme all of the time. Going back and forth is heart wrenching.
In the past, the solution has been to push through, to embrace femme and to come out more fully. But, it is hard to always bring up the strength, to take pride in my gender otherness. It is like swimming upstream. If I relax and stop struggling I am swept back into boyness. I get so tired sometimes.

  1. andi says:

    it’s all about support, and a fair bit of bluff.

    you take a step, repeat it a few times until you get comfortable with it and regain some confidence, then you summon up all your courage and take another step

    as for the highs and lows – that comes with the territory. personally dressing slightly more andro in my day to day life took some of the edge off for me. people thought i was weird, but you soon stop caring about that.

  2. Taylor says:

    Sweetie, you’re gonna kill yourself if you internalize an identity that’s based on external ideas of gender. It’s a war you can’t win. You are who you are, regardless of what you’re wearing. You have to know that deeply and truly internally. There will always be dissonance between the culture and your true self, even (perhaps even more so) if you’re post-op, and that is just pain that must be, and can be, lived with. Think of women who lose both breasts to breast cancer or people born intersexed. If you’re a girl, then you’re a girl, regardless of your gender performance, and we all have to perform, whether we’re comfortable with our gender or not. Acceptance by the collective will come based on who you are, not how femme or butch you present. It just takes time. Don’t harden – be flexible as you take this journey. You don’t have to get anywhere; you may not know what this is all about for some time.

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