“That’s just your personal experience. I get a very different story from the trans people I follow.”
This is what I have heard when I have tried to describe dysphoria as the mental health issue it actually is. This is the morass of popular allyship and anti-analytical activism that does little to actually help those caught up in gender dysphoria, due to the denial of the actual personal experiences – not just of one person, but of many. At times, it feels like you’re drowning in it, helpless, and not even your closest confidants dare break from the social herd and throw you a life preserver.
But a wave of voices is rising, and helping tremendously.
Maria Catt has made a video about her experiences.
Kat of destroyyourbinder followed suit.
Max of Born Wrong added another.
CrashChaosCats has been writing powerfully.
Equally remarkable, GuideOnRagingStars has put out a dysphoria survey on tumblr and has been posting responses. The Redefining Dysphoria tag on her blog now offers the experiences of a growing number of women who have all worked with dysphoria in a myriad of ways, all of them sharing a common narrative of being separated from their acceptance of femaleness through trauma, through mental health issues, and most often from the cruelties of a world oppressive to women of all ages.
This is not just singular, unique, personal experience. This is not one person’s perspective. This is a gathering of women finding the strength to speak their truth through all the forces against them, internal and external. This is us finding that strength through each other.
I cannot find words for how grateful I am to hear these voices.
If you feel you are alone and silenced, watch these videos, read these testimonies, and know you are not alone. Even if you cannot speak right now, others are speaking for you.
And if you are out there clinging to the popular trans narrative, that transition is the only answer, that gender is real, that we all need to be put in our proper boxes with our proper labels and just shut up about everything else – listen. The wave is rising, and with any luck, will wash us all to safer shores.