The State Of My Dysphoria and Hanukkah Miracles

transgender-in-bathroomThis month, I celebrated my two-year anniversary of top surgery, and my one year anniversary of my nipple revision. My chest is not perfect, but it is perfect enough for me. It is a little uneven. I have a small dog ear under my armpit on the left side (that I somehow didn’t notice because I was worrying about the size and height of my nipples). The scars are visible across my chest. I look like I had surgery.

If I took testosterone it might not look as wonky when I’m shirtless. I’d have more muscles, a little less curvature, and maybe some chest hair to normalize it. Since I’m not planning on sunbathing or going topless in public, it will do. It looks great (I look great) with a T-shirt on. Even a thin light-colored T-shirt. I’m happy with it. Every day. It is a miracle.

I’m relaxed about my chest, except when I’m in a locker room, or when I’m getting an EKG from someone who doesn’t know my medical history. When I’m dressed, I completely forget about it until I find someone staring at me trying to figure it out. Face, chest, face, chest, face, question mark. It feels natural to me. It doesn’t always look natural to them.

Donna was concerned that my post top surgery euphoria would be short-lived. That my dysphoria would resurface and I’d focus on my face or on my bottom, that I would be restless and dissatisfied until I completed a binary transition. Even though I did not experience bottom dysphoria, and I never considered phalloplasty, I shared her fear.

Throughout my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood my dysphoria was triggered, and still is triggered, by anything that made me look girly/feminine/female. A bad haircut, the wrong glasses, clothing that was clearly designed for girls/women, lace, pointy shoes or sneakers, tights, anything in pink, and anything that accentuated my curves. Including my breasts. It was all about clothes and my silhouette. Not about my private parts.

The only time I am conscious of my vulva is when I am naked or wearing a women’s swimsuit. To keep dysphoria at bay, I swim in board shorts or loose trunks, and I wear a rash guard on top. I just stopped using the (women’s) locker room. I have no desire to pack, or wear an STP (stand-to-pee). I might feel differently if I was trying to use the men’s locker room or restroom.

My genitalia do not define my gender, and I can’t quite imagine what they’d look like if they did. Maybe I’m in denial. Maybe I’m only avoiding situations that induce dysphoria. I’m tip-toeing around it at the gym.

I work out in Brooks men’s 2-in-1 running shorts (boxer brief liners). They are mid-thigh, loose, and no-show. I feel like myself in them. Now that I’m wearing my gear to the gym, to avoid the locker room, I’m noticing how many people, men and women, work out in tights/leggings. Tights/leggings that show the whole package, that leave little to the imagination. I won’t wear anything that clings to my hips or gives me camel toe. Plus, leggings (even men’s leggings) are too girly for me. I prefer a little ambiguity.

I have two requests for additional Hanukkah miracles. First, I’d like a pair of stretchy, but loose, warm track pants that I can wear over my shorts. Short inseam (27″), with zippers at the ankles so I don’t have to take my sneakers off and on. Side and back zipper pockets. In black, charcoal, or navy. Inconspicuous logo or no logo. Machine washable, durable, with no pilling. I’d also like a swift end to the Trump/Pence Presidency.

Notes: l haven’t had to deal with my period in over 10 years, thanks to a hysterectomy. I’d probably have some bottom dysphoria if I still menstruated. This piece “Saying Goodbye To My Period” is about one trans man’s experience of getting cramps after he fully transitioned.

This week’s photo is from George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. It was part of a project called “Free To Pee@GBC“.

 

 

11 thoughts on “The State Of My Dysphoria and Hanukkah Miracles

    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      Donna loves leggings and wears them with tunic tops. Purple, magenta, pink, black. She also wears capri leggings to the gym. I wouldn’t be caught dead in leggings, tights, or leotards. Even if there are big tough guys who wear them.

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      1. Lesboi

        I dislike capri pants even more than leggings. There’s just something about them that aggravate me. They kind of remind me of Captain Kirk’s pants. I dunno. Candace does not wear leggings but she does wear capris in the summer. To each their own I guess.

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  1. J.D.

    I just got a period today. Yuck! At my age I keep hoping each one will be the last. I’ve only had ~5 this year. That’s the only genital dysphoria I have. I have a lot of dysphoria about my fat ass and wide hips but I can live with it until I get a miracle windfall of cash.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      So glad I don’t get mine, eventually your well will run dry. I still don’t completely understand the connection between overeating, suppression of trans feelings, hips, and dysphoria, but I know there is a deep connection. I lost about 35 pounds (on Weight Watchers) about 6 months after I realized/accepted that I was trans. Getting slimmer definitely made me feel more masculine, and less like I was hiding. It wasn’t easy, but it was not nearly as impossible as the other times I tried to lose weight when I was still in denial. I used to hate how I looked when I was heavy. Oddly enough, when I lost weight (before top surgery) it made my dysphoria worse because I thought my breasts were more prominent. Dysphoria just sucks.

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  2. halitentwo

    Face, chest, face, chest, face, question mark – I laughed out loud! Exactly. I thought it would bother me more to have people be more confused, but honestly it doesn’t. Their confusion is their problem, not mine. And I am quite comfortable with my chest. Finally. I still really wrestle with my desire to start T. Even the threat of male pattern baldness isn’t deterring me like it once did. My silhouette is so much better. But still I see the slight curve of hip. I wonder, too, if I’ll ever be satisfied. I deeply appreciate your writing, your sharing of your journey. I hope you receive your hanukkah miracles . How do you feel about leggings/long underwear under shorts? It works for me with hockey.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      At the gym it looks dorky on the men (hockey is different). It is the same problem I have with jumping rope (like a boxer not like a girl) – I’d have to really wrap my brain around a male image and project it onto myself to make it palatable. Meanwhile I’m looking for track pants, or I’ll keep wearing cotton sweatpants until the weather breaks and I can wear my shorts without an extra layer.

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  3. Simon

    Thanks, again for a great post. “Throughout my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood my dysphoria was triggered, and still is triggered, by anything that made me look girly/feminine/female.” Yep, me, too. It is comforting to know that there are other people like me out there!

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