Do You Consider Gender Dysphoria to Exist?
This sparked off some interesting point including one from Greenishdragonfly. I thought it was particularly informative. So with here permission I've copied it here.
Yes It's real, I think the mechanism can be something like this. This is a theory in process and may not be the same for everyone, but it's what I've observed from having been in the trans community.
- Receive a great many gendered messages about what you as a man or woman are supposed to be like.
- Receive a lot of messages about what a male of female body is for, and how it's perceived.
- Feel terribly uncomfortable with these messages and that they do not apply to you, but subconsciously internalize them because they are so pervasive and you are so young.
- Apply these internalized ideas to your own body as it grows, like the self-objectification we see in teenage girls*
- Suffer terrible feeling of shames, cognitive dissonance, hyperawareness, and discomfort, as you try to hold on to the notion of yourself as a full human being and balance it with what society has told you your body and role is.
- This is your relationship with your body. When you were forming concepts of what your body is, these were the only building bricks available to you.
- Mistake your own concept of your body for the physical reality of your body.
- Identify with your own traits that you have been told do not belong to your own sex, or are not acceptable in your own sex.
- Identify with people who seem to embody these traits and get social acceptance and praise for them.
- Project like mad onto the bodies and roles of the opposite sex, which feel fresh and possible because they do not hold the same baggage for you as your own.
- Feel completely unlike your peers of the same sex, because they all seem to be much more at ease with their sexed bodies and gender roles than you. Resent them for this and consider them lucky. Also envy people of the opposite sex, who are allowed to be what you want. Consider that it must come easy to them and they must enjoy it. If they don't, consider them ungrateful, because you would enjoy it, and therefore have more right to those bodies/roles than they do.
- This feeling of alienation and lack of belonging from your own body/sex and social gender role can be somatised and experienced as physical pain/discomfort.
- What you are identifying with in the opposite sex is the traits that you have internalized as being male/female that you recognise in yourself. ie "I am nurturing, nurturing is female, men are not supposed to be nurturing, women are nurturing, I must be a woman". This happens at a subconscious level because it's built of concepts we internalized really young, so most people don't have self awareness of it and don't want to have self awareness of it, because of the feelings of relief and belonging it brings them.
- What people are identifying with in the opposite sex is only the socially sanctioned, accepted face of what those bodies and those gender roles are supposed to be/look like. They want that social acceptance of the traits they have. This is the validation of identity you always here about.
- In order to do this it requires ignoring a lot of the experiences of men and women, especially those outside of the socially acceptable face of wo/manhood. The fact that other people feel pressured and constrained by having to be this way must be ignored, because the person already decided earlier that the reason they were not like others is that others are fine with their bodies and gender roles. This is where the contempt for 'cis' people comes from, but they need the concept of 'cis' in order to hold themselves apart from it and identify themselves as other.
- A whole lot of lack of understanding or denial of social systems and how we develop as part of them is going on here, but the cognitive dissonance is easy to hold, because people with dysphoria are already suffering from cognitive dissonance, but at least this type feels good and seems to offer direction.
That's all I've got for now, it's a bit rough and doesn't cover everything.