Thursday, June 21, 2012

Triggering dysphoria

Dysphoria is a concept well-known in the trans* community; essentially, it's the feeling that your body is wrong and those primary or secondary sexual characteristics are not part of you. It's very unpleasant to say the least.

I'm a cis girl (meaning, at birth they assigned me the gender of "female" and I am cool with that), so I haven't had occaision to feel it properly or in the constant, background-levels way that trans* people must feel it weighing on them at times.

I think I've managed to cultivate a feeling of dysphoria once or twice for a few seconds at a time which has led me to perhaps have some tiny twinge of understanding of what trans folks must go through every day.

I imagined being a man. Not in the "Awesome I can pee standing up and get all the jobs and not have periods and get paid more for the same jobs!" sort of way; in the way where everyone looks at me and calls me "sir", where my self is inside a big, hairy male body and everyone sees this as 'me' and just... accepts it. Where you go shopping and you buy pants and a button up shirt or t-shirt. Where you have a flat, masculine chest and a penis. Imagine actually HAVING a penis. Something growing out of your crotch, all... soft and bulbous. Imagine having to touch it and use it each time you go to the bathroom. Really imagine it and bring these feelings to the forefront of your mind. Focus on them.

The other way I did it was by buying a chest binder (something many men wear to hide their breasts). The first time I wore it and dressed in men's clothing and looked in the mirror it felt so... wrong on a fundamental level.

If you really concentrate on it, the feeling is HORRIBLE. I won't pretend to know or guess whether it emulates the trans experience, but it can definitely affect you.


  1. Interestingly, outside the trans community, "dysphoria" refers to a deeply low mood, the opposite of euphoria, and the sensations that one's body is wrong would be "dysmorphia".

    Also, where does one buy a chest binder? Asking for a friend.

    1. I got mine from underworks. It's a size too small really, so I'm considering buying another one. So if your friend wants a small underworks binder (lightly used) I'd be happy to sell it to them.