I’ve noticed more and more, as I get further into my transition, that my body dysphoria is increasing. As a kid, I was never fond of my breasts and never had a strong attachment to them (albeit they are rather attached to me). But I can remember not wanting them, largely due to back pain and just general disassociation with them. I took more pride and desire to magnify biceps, neck and thigh muscles (muscular look, not feminine). Those feelings have always been there for as long as I remember (although I didn’t know why nor did I want to question why). That all said, I have to admit being surprised as to how much more that disassociation would grow now that I’ve been on T nearly 8 months now. Some might say that if I had only the right kind of body image support at a younger age my present path wouldn’t have happened.
But I doubt it. I had lots of body image support. My family was always supportive of the person I am and always made me feel comfortable about the person I was. I just could never be comfortable. I was always awkward about who I was and never quite seemed to get it. I suppose it was that feeling of not belonging to society as a whole. I couldn’t understand how people were ok with themselves and how they dealt with this disconnection. Today, I finally understand what the connection to one’s body feels like and what I need to do to feel complete.
This doesn’t come without doubts. Certainly I wonder whether this is the path for me. That’s normal. I do think that not having doubts can be detrimental because it just assumes everything will be solved by whatever drug. That isn’t the final answer but may be part of the answer. For me, thus far, it has been. I also suspect that surgery may be part of my path (at least top and hysto). The top surgery would be more than my trans desires; simple pain relief is a big factor there as is breast cancer prevention (there are some studies that indicate that testosterone in a genetic female body can contribute to causing breast cancer).
And yet, I still ask: am I making the right choice? I pass more. I feel more comfortable with myself and who I am. I’m more confident about the person I am, even in public. Part of me wonders “why me?”. Why couldn’t I have been happy with the way I am? I don’t think it’s wholly nature or wholly nurture but rather a mix of the two. Certainly gender is partially socially constructed (i.e., society determines what the accepted gender of an individual is) but it is also personally constructed (i.e., how we perceive and present ourselves to everyone else).
To me, to transition, means that I get to sync up what the personal view is with what the societal acceptance is. Granted, there are times when I may face some challenges but I have found that it’s less likely to happen for an FTM than compared to an MTF. I suspect some of this (actually, most of this) is tied into misogynistic views and male privilege thought (i.e., an MTF is giving up privilege, thus weak and thus challenging the existing system & potentially becoming a threat). I also have noticed more challenges to those that choose to be stealth, are discovered to be trans/non-cis-gendered and thus, become the target of rage because of a feeling of being lied to, deceived, etc. To me, a cis-gendered person won’t be able to understand the whys of something, especially if it’s hidden from them. It could be a sense of privilege being stripped from them (i.e., they feel that they thought they knew what gender a person was and that thought was comforting).
Perhaps since I’m still at that grey area of life/transition where I’ve got one foot in the old door and one foot in the new that I don’t face as much of a challenge. In fact, one of the things I’m finding as I spend more and more time in the new is this lack of challenging who I am. I haven’t shaved my goatee/beard and no one has issue with it. Much like some others I know, I rarely seem to face overt discrimination or challenge. I’m not sure why. This certainly doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. I know it does. I suppose I should be thankful that I haven’t had to face it or, perhaps, not having to face it overtly.