Dysphoria is the distress or discomfort that occurs when the gender someone is assigned does not align with their actual gender. I’ll provide a link to what makes me dysphoric and what makes me euphoric in the blog to provide information on those topics, and o how to look after yourself if you are feeling dysphoric.
Honestly? I don’t have a particular stance on this – because I’m not sure where I stand, but I do think I lean more towards the side of not needing dysphoria to be trans, or any other gender identity that isn’t cis. But, I will respect your trans identity whether or not you experience dysphoria. It’s a personal experience, its their gender identity, and you should respect the person who may / may not experience gender dysphoria. Because, unsurprisingly, there is no ‘wrong’ way to identify as trans / nonbinary etc – and you are valid either way. However, I do definitely understand that yes, dysphoria sucks, and I do experience it from time to time, so I do get where people are coming from when it comes to dysphoria and being trans.
In addition, falling under the trans umbrella isn’t always about experiencing a vile hatred towards your body and your gender identity – it can also be a positive feeling of finally living as your authentic gender identity. Ultimately, you feel as though you don’t identify with your gender assigned at birth – you probably fall under the trans umbrella in some way. Like I said before, there’s no wrong way to be trans!
Furthermore, you can experience dysphoria at different levels – and what I mean by this is that you may experience dysphoria at different intensities. So, for example, you may feel intense social dysphoria one day, but a low intensity of body dysphoria (this could be due to the fact that you’re wearing an outfit that affirms your gender identity, but individuals may still read you as the gender you were assigned at birth).
I also feel as though this has created discord within the community – we have much bigger and more important things to be fighting for in order to make the world a better, and more importantly, safer place for the trans community – so bickering about whether someone is ‘actually trans’ based on whether or not they have dysphoria or not seems unproductive to me – plus it seems a bit gatekeepy to say who’s trans and who’s not. But you need to consider what choices will make YOU the happiest – because that’s what most important thing when navigating your gender identity, because it’s confusing, complex and complicated. For those who may experience little or no dysphoria, please know that I think you’re not faking it – maybe you felt more gender euphoria than dysphoria, and guess what? That’s perfectly OK.
Overall, it’s all about what YOU want – you want to start HRT? That’s fine! You don’t want to start HRT? That’s also fine! Change your mind HRT? That’s fine! Additionally, whether you want surgery or not, just do what makes you the happiest – gender expression doesn’t correlate gender identity, and whatever you choose do with your gender identity, its valid and OK, as long as you’re happy!