Living With Gender Dysphoria

There is high percentage of trans people living with gender dysphoria. For some it can be quite crippling. While experiencing dysphoria, the daily routine turns into an obstacle course of triggers, and a flash flood of emotion. For someone experiencing dysphoria, something as simple as taking a shower can cause distress. It can be difficult to imagine how much this can affect someone if you haven’t experienced it. We do our best to explain to our loved ones what it’s like but they are often left unable to understand. Even more often they make the dysphoria worse by invalidating what we are going through.

Dysphoria affects everyone in different ways and has varying intensities. Some transgender people don’t even experience it at all. It is also important to understand what dysphoria is and what it can do. Gender dysphoria is when someone’s biological sex and gender identity don’t match. They experience discomfort and distress because of this. Gender dyshphoria is a recognized medical condition but is NOT a mental illness.

For me, I have been battling gender dysphoria for several years. I have made a lot of progress but it’s something that I continue to struggle with. As recently as a few months ago I was at an all time low. Every time I’d look in the mirror I would have to hold back the tears because of my own reflection. I started to be late for things because I would become obsessed with certain features and I couldn’t bring myself to stop staring. I’d become so hopeless and there have been many times it stopped me from going somewhere because it felt too horrible. The biggest triggers for me are facial hair, and my broad shoulders, which I am still working on. Even now I let few people in my company on my lazy days when I’m not shaved or don’t have any makeup on. I also never go out without wearing makeup unless I’m going to have the hair worked on.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 8.07.21 PMTreating Gender dysphoria could be easy if transgender people had access to the proper resources that are offered. The problem that many of us face  is the level of understanding and acceptance where we live. In some places the cost of the procedures and treatments is completely unreachable. Though most of the surgeries are now considered necessary, many are still turned down for coverage. I live in the United States where the policies vary state to state. If insurance wont cover the procedures I will need to find a way to come up with the money. It’s around $35,000 just for the surgeries I need to have done to feel comfortable in my skin. This doesn’t even include the cost of hair removal or hormone treatments. The desperation some of us go through when faced with these facts can be devastating. This is why the suicide rates are so high amongst the trans community, aside from the hate crimes and discrimination of course. I cannot live in a body that makes me cringe and I have been low enough to consider ending it myself. I’ve been trying hard to reach my goal but sometimes it feels as though the end is nowhere in sight. I have started having a hard time sleeping and focusing on anything but having these things done. I just want to get there so I can finally start living my life!

We have made a lot of progress even just this year alone. Our visibility is at an all time high and people are starting to finally understand. But until we gain access to care for all trans people we still have quite a lot of work to do.

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