Reader Q&A: Do I or Do I Not Have Gender Dysphoria?

Transgender Questions

Edits made July 2018

Welcome to the another installment of READER Q&A on the | Transgender Education & Resources website.

This is a regularly featured segment in which I share with you conversations I’ve had with readers (as well as watchers of my YouTube series ASK A GENDER THERAPIST) in which they ask questions and I do my best to answer them.

Let’s get to the question… (edited for length)

Hello Dara,

I’ve been questioning my gender for around a year now. I’m not sure if I am transgender or not, and I needed some advice on whether or not my experiences/feelings were that of gender dysphoria. 

Ever since I was a kid, I had the hunch that something was different about me… I remember I made this one doodle titled “diagram of a naked woman” (its contents were self-explanatory) and I made fun of the curvaceous female anatomy, unaware of my pubescent destiny.

Girly pink dresses grossed me out, but so did ratchet skater boy attire. I never said “I’m a boy” or tried to pee standing up, which is the main reason that I excluded being transgender as a possibility for me. I always saw myself as kind of genderless. Sure, my parents would want me to be a “good girl” and all that, but I just sort of agreed because I didn’t know there was anything else I could have been.

(As) I listened into the puberty education video for girls in health class, I didn’t think puberty would apply to me. Yeah, sure, I was told I was going to be a “lady” someday and bleed out of my vagina and grow a nice pair and get fertile childbearing hips, but I didn’t really believe that. I thought I was somehow exempt from the female puberty.

When I started menstruating, I had a constant, subtle, unnerving confusion. I got that “wait, what?” feeling as I finally realized my anatomy. I always felt that my figure wasn’t inherently mine, but I felt that since I couldn’t really change it to what I envisioned, I’d have to make do with wearing my baggy clothes.

(In high school) I was the black sheep in my all-girl’s school: from personality to gender expression. I went through a phase where I wanted to lose weight in order to achieve what I now realize was a more male-appearing figure. Every guy I dated or danced with, I tried to out-man them. I insisted on driving, paying, leading the dance. After I went to prom with a guy, I knew I wasn’t cut out for the dating scene; I liked girls better anyways. But even in the butch lesbian community, I felt like an outsider, even though I fit the definition to a T.

High school was also the time I started expressing androgynously. But when I put on my masculine clothes, I looked in the mirror and was disappointed because I didn’t look like a guy, just a girl in guy’s clothing. The first time I bound my chest down, I squeezed myself with an ace bandage until I was flat. I threw on a shirt, looked up in the mirror, and almost cried because I looked so complete, so me. My first thought was “Oh, so that’s what was wrong”, and I spent the rest of the night euphoric, now that I looked like me. The part that topped it off was when I used makeup to contour and highlight my facial structure from soft curves to masculine angles. I still keep those selfies, and I feel so whole and happy when I can present as male, or even androgynously.

And now, fully post-pubescent, this body is here for good. Looking back, when I started dressing masculine, I felt so incredibly complete. That happiness when presenting as male made me realize that I wasn’t happy being female before. Someone asked how I would feel if I could never change my body, if it would stay female like this for the rest of my life. The second she said that, my heart dropped into my stomach, the dread just overcame me. And when I put on my masculine clothes, I expect to see someone male or androgynous in the mirror, but I’m taken by surprise every time I see my reflection–a girl in guy’s clothes. It’s like my figure ruins how I present myself.

I know this sounds very much like dysphoria, but I still have doubts. I was never an inherently macho person, never wished I had a penis, never had all-male friends, never had that trans narrative. When I compare myself to the guys that have these experiences, I doubt myself for ever thinking that I might be trans. And at this point, I just don’t know anymore.

I’d appreciate any advice or opinion of my possible gender dysphoria. Thank you so much.



Hi, E—

Firstly, I want to assure you that the question on your mind is one that I hear more often than anyone else: “Am I Really Transgender?” which can sometimes also be known as, “Do I really have Gender Dysphoria?”

Right on the heels of that is usually, “Just how bad is my Gender Dysphoria, and what should I do about it?”

Although the final answer is yours and yours alone to conclude, I’d be glad to offer a few thoughts to you on this.

E—, you may feel silly, weird, or “crazy” for having to ask yourself these questions.

But keep in mind, there are a lot of people out there who are quite comfortable with their assigned gender at birth. In fact it really doesn’t even occur to them to think about it.

The fact that you are asking yourself these questions means that, on at least some level, you might have Gender Dysphoria.

Let’s look at one of the “official” definition of Gender Dysphoria, as stated by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

(Gender Dysphoria) is broadly defined as discomfort or distress that is caused by a discrepancy between a person’s gender identity and that person’s sex assigned at birth (and the associated gender role and/or primary and secondary sex characteristics).

Let’s break this down into a few steps.

1. You were assigned the gender of “female” at birth. Are you completely comfortable with this? From what you have describe in your email, I’m going to guess your answer is “no.”

2. The next question to ask yourself is, “Why am I not comfortable with this?”

There are some people who feel fine being seen and known as the gender they were assigned, because their minds and bodies match that gender (think of it as it being a coincidence that their genitals happened to match their felt sense of gender).

But that doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with the gender role expectations that have been placed upon them, and that they might desire to reveal either more masculine or feminine qualities than they already have been.

There are others who experience a definite disconnect between the gender they were assigned at birth and the gender they really experience themselves to be. And there are others who feel a disconnect that is more moderate in its experience.

The two strongest indicators of this discomfort is the level that someone feels by how they are seen socially (i.e. in your case you are seen socially as a female), and the level of discomfort someone feels with their physical body and the way it functions (i.e. you having a physically female body, including going through menstruation).

Another indicator that is a little more difficult to figure out, but still very relevant, is the way you think and feel. Feeling like there’s something “not quite right” about the way you process information, experience emotions, respond to sexual thoughts, etc.

Check out this image that @CassieBebop was inspired to create after reading this blog post:

3. To what level or degree of discomfort do you experience the areas mentioned in #2?

That’s right, there are countless ways that someone can answer “yes” to the question, “Do I Have Gender Dysphoria?”

That’s because every individual is different. If it were a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, you might place your body dysphoria close to a 10, while your social dysphoria may be a 7, and your “mental discomfort” score might be more like a 5 (just throwing out numbers here).

Bottom line is, there is no “right or wrong” way to be trans, or to have Gender Dysphoria. It covers a very wide range!

That includes your question about whether or not you have Gender Dysphoria because you haven’t fit into the “typical male stereotype.” There are many, many experiences of what it means to identity as male in this world. There are also many different trans-narratives out there, and yours is just as valid as anyone else’s.

It also sounds like you were raised in somewhat of a “genderless” home, which means you may not have noticed extreme gender discomfort as a kid. The fact that your discomfort became more noticeable during puberty is of more importance to note.

Remember, be careful about comparing yourself to others—doing that too much will stand in the way of you finding your truth.

Comparison is the thief of joy. – Theodore Roosevelt

Let’s sum things up.

From what I hear you saying in your email, you feel strongly that you do not identify, nor want to be identified, as female. How far towards the “male” side of the spectrum will you end up wanting to go? Take it a step at a time, and pay close attention to how it feels as you move farther away from female and more towards male (keeping in mind there is an entire nonbinary spectrum as well!). Eventually you’ll find your “sweet spot.” 🙂

Before I go, here are a couple of additional resources for you:

How Do I Know if I’m Transgender? is a video I made that gets more into the process of getting closer to figuring this out

Matt Kailey wrote a great post regarding this topic on his blog Tranifesto called “Gender Uncertainty is Stressing Me Out!

Not All Transgender People Have Dysphoria—And Here Are 6 Reasons Why That Matters by Sam Dylan Finch

Trust your instincts, E—, and seek out support from those who understand and encourage you.

All the best,


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  • Heather Brewer

    December 8, 2014 at 4:47 PM Reply

    I really appreciate that you’re able to share this conversation. The unpacking of the exploration and needed processing of this question is so important. It’s not black and white, but very complex and unique to the person doing the exploring, as well as their contexts. Thank you for holding that space. And for the reminder to not compare. “Comparison is the thief of joy!”

    You rock, Dara.

    • Dara Hoffman-Fox

      December 8, 2014 at 8:48 PM Reply

      Thanks for your comment Heather, it means a lot to me coming from a fellow therapist!

    • Drusila

      May 21, 2019 at 8:58 AM Reply

      I felt the same way as Dara felt..and your response has really made sense to me .Thanks so much,

  • Emma

    December 9, 2014 at 7:55 AM Reply

    What a brilliant question to share with your readers!

    To E, I want to say that your experience is a lot like my experience, just in the reciprocal sense. It took me a long time to realize that what I was experiencing was gender dysphoria and to fully realize my transgender nature (you can even read my experience two posts ago entitled “This Trans Voice: The Truth Will Set You Free”). Since accepting that I was suffering from gender dysphoria I now know what I can do to alleviate that suffering, which is why I’ve decided to make the transition to female so that I may better express my gender identity.

    I think it’s good to note that Gender expression is something that is 100% an individual experience and although we like to think that there is a true male or true female gender (as in a spectrum with two finite end points), there are really as many genders as there are people to express them. Not every male or female (even cisgender ones) will express their maleness or femaleness the same way and even if you try to nail down what exactly is female and what exactly is male, your list of attributes might vary significantly from anyone else’s list.

    As such, I believe the true liberation from gender dysphoria is to express yourself in whatever way feels good and right to you. You don’t have to meet anyone’s expectations except for your own. You don’t have to fit anyone else’s criteria for what transgender means because gender and it’s expression is always subjective to the person experiencing it. Your transgender experience may be very different from another’s but that doesn’t make it any less legitimate.

    At least, that’s the way I see things.

  • J.D.

    March 10, 2015 at 2:42 PM Reply

    This story could have been mine (except I’m asexual), especially:
    “But when I put on my masculine clothes, I looked in the mirror and was disappointed because I didn’t look like a guy, just a girl in guy’s clothing.”
    I don’t try to present as male but my clothing choices are more suitable for a male body and the reflection is always a bit of a shock because it doesn’t fit the mental map of my body that I feel as I move.

    Growing up in the ’70s and ’80s I didn’t know there was anything outside the gender binary and I didn’t think I could do anything about it although I often thought I wanted the T&A “amputated”. A few months ago I learned about non-binary people and transitioning to something more neutral. Boom! I knew that fit me without a doubt. I can look back and see dysphoria at every stage of life after early childhood. I have spent countless hours since fall reading and remembering and analyzing. While I’ve come up with many ways other people might question if I have dysphoria (“Why do you have long hair?” “Why do you participate in a female sport?”), I haven’t had a single thought that I would be better off if I don’t transition. In no way has 30 years of my adult life been better for having a blatantly female body and in a lot of ways it’s been worse than it could have been.

    Dara, you are giving excellent guidance.

    E–, it’s up to you what you do but don’t doubt your ability to decide your path in this.

    • Juliana

      October 25, 2015 at 6:49 PM Reply

      “the reflection is always a bit of a shock because it doesn’t fit the mental map of my body that I feel as I move.”
      That’s exactly how I feel!!!!
      The image in my head is so different from the one I see in the mirror and sometimes I get so frustated because I think that I’ll never look the way I want to look.
      I don’t indentify as male, but I’m not so sure I’m 100% female. I get very sad and angry and confused sometimes.

    • Rae

      January 12, 2016 at 3:00 PM Reply

      E- and J.D.,

      Yes! Like you, J.D. I grew up in the 80s and there was not much information about being non-binary back then. For years I have not been very comfortable dressing “girly.” My mom dressed my sister and I in cute little dresses and I liked being flouncy and froo-froo, liked sparkly things. Purple is still my favorite color. However, I always disliked the attention. I just liked the way the fabric and lacy things looked and felt. It was more about my own personal experience of the clothes, than how they looked on me. When I was a little girl, due to media and movies, I thought being sexy was having curves and wearing sexy clothes. So, when I was 5 I thought that’s what I wanted to look like when I grew up.

      However, I realized as I got older I felt my body was not masculine enough–rather too feminine. Since I was about 8 or so I liked to dress in jeans and a t-shirt more than in frilly clothes. Especially after puberty I realized that I envied male bodies, their small hips and flat stomach and flat chests. So, when I looked in the mirror my idea of what I should look like did not match and it made me so upset. I just looked like a girl in guys clothes! I still have this frustration.

      For years I thought that I was just insecure about being a sickly, scrawny girl that boys didn’t like. Nobody ever flirted with me or anything. So by the time I was 8 years old or so I had decided I’d follow the “If I can’t beat them, join them” theme. I didn’t want attention as a female, anyway. However, I did really want to be “liked,” I wanted someone to find me special, and I felt so upset and left out. So in my teen years I thought I was just being boyish because of that. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that there was more to it.

      I realized I didn’t want to be overtly male, so much as less female. Thus, I have tried to be more androgynous, short hair and more neutral clothes. Somewhat baggy clothes to cover up my large chest and curvy hips. I want to wear vests and other things, but they just don’t look right, since my chest is so big when I bind it it just looks weird. I was rather upset a few years ago when I realized how jealous I was of my best friend and his slim, lithe, lean-muscled build (not too much muscle, mind, but still there, still masculine–just not overtly so, overly huge, barrel-chest and whatnot).

      As an adult, the past few years, I have seriously considered whether I was transgender. However, I do actually still like sparkly, frilly things. I have just denied that part of myself for a very long time. I have had to look at myself, really look, and be honest. Having done so, I am even more confused. I want a male body, even to the point of wanting a penis sometimes, yet I am very giggly and girly in my personality! I also WANT to be female and act female-sexy for my life-partner, dress all cute and stuff. But they are the ONLY one that I want to feel so attractive for–nobody else should be looking, much less appreciating. 🙁 I’m so confused!!! How can I possibly want to be both? I can’t identify as either male or female all of the time. For years I have said I am a human being, that’s how I want people to see me.

      My parents don’t understand how I can not want to be pretty and dress nicely, when people often tell me how attractive I am, how much of a “knock-out” I can be. They know how uncomfortable it makes me and they want to understand because they love and care about me, but it’s just incomprehensible to them. Unfortunately, I can’t really explain it myself.

      J.D., like you I am on the asexual spectrum. I discovered the term over a year ago that I am demisexual. I have also heard about non-binary, besides androgyny. I have always been quirky and a bit strange, but only as an adult have I realized how non-normal I really am in some things. Now I have words to explain things to myself and others, but I still don’t know where I fit. If *I’M* so confused, how in the world can my family and friends NOT be even more confused?! WHAT THE HECK AM I?!!

      Based on this e-mail and response, I guess I have struggled with dysphoria for nearly 30 years, I just didn’t have a word for it. I’m also quite heartened to see that even though my issues and self-awareness don’t match other people’s, I shouldn’t keep comparing myself to others. Instead I should keep searching in myself for what is the true me.

      Thank you, to E- for being brave enough to ask, thanks to all of you who have commented, this has been very eye-opening and helpful, and thanks to you, Dara, for being here and providing information. I was so glad to discover your site last month.


      • J.D.

        January 14, 2016 at 12:24 AM Reply

        I had top surgery last August and it has made me enormously more comfortable in my own body. Highly recommended for anyone who wants it after careful research and consideration.

        • Rae

          January 14, 2016 at 10:30 PM Reply

          J.D., believe me! I have been wanting top surgery for over 10 years. I have indeed seriously looked into it. However, I knew I couldn’t afford it as a graduate student. Then later I didn’t think my reasons were sufficient. I’m not always 100% sure I want to be all male. 🙁 From what I had read the past few years, you have to have proof, or so I thought. I am QUITE delighted to hear that in the new 2011 WPATH version 7 we can transition to non-binary, and in so-doing have top surgery! 🙂

      • Emma

        April 2, 2018 at 8:11 PM Reply

        you might be bi-gender! or you probably have figured things out!

  • Natalie

    May 1, 2015 at 4:57 PM Reply

    I love these! So interesting! If only Norway’s gatekeepers were as open as you…
    I also realised my mind dysphoria is at a ten O_o

  • Aqua

    July 3, 2015 at 4:35 PM Reply

    I was called a Tom Boy all through childhood. Puberty sucked because I wasn’t being or becoming feminine enough. I still played roughly, and skateboarded (by myself, of course…and still do…I learnt to enjoy being alone and wandering around at night).

    Some boys liked me, some didn’t. I VERY RARELY ever came CLOSE to being the ultra feminine women and girls in the media. That disturbs A LOT of women, trans or not. As for the boys and then men? No problem there. At all lol If one started hinting I should get in a dress, I just dumped them. Plenty of males in the world. I will always be ME. If that’s being called a tomboi by some catty bitch or fundamentalist, if it’s being confused as lesbian, if it’s being otherwise a ‘let down’ to Others: so be it. I simply don’t have time in MY life to spend addressing the bigotries in theirs. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to be FRIENDS with some superficial moron.

    I am naturally tall, tend towards broad shouldered and muscular, have a decent sex drive: but do I ‘look male’,even with long hair?

    Yep. Sometimes. Whatever. I have thought and wondered about GRS, but the costs and side effects seem over-whelming and stressful. Adding that to an already complicated life seems a bit too daunting. I’m still dealing with previous traumas that went on for years (no, not sexual abuse…lots of bigots ‘go there’ if you’re more masculine than feminine and it pisses me off, because they don’t care or wonder about the OTHER abuses I actually DID endure!)

    You can publish this post if you want, but I don’t want to be contacted by anyone. It can be overwhelming as I also have cPTSD and am autistic. I just want everyone to know: YOU are YOU…HOWEVER you choose to present yourself. In fact, the less you think of yourself having to ‘present’ to anyone, the happier you may come to be. And you have just as much right as,anyone else to be happy.So,fuck ’em. Seriously. They don’t matter.

    BTW, I have no idea if I qualify as Trans. I tried to go to a T party once, but a few looked at me funny because it’s also obvious after a glance I’m a woman and not in transition like many of them were….so, I left because it’s just one more ‘group’ that I don’t ‘belong’ in

  • Melanie

    July 13, 2015 at 6:49 AM Reply

    Thank you for this article. I’m just coming to the point where I am accepting that dysphoria is what has been plaguing me for my entire life – I’ve always known ‘something’ is different about me, and I’ve learnt to just not express myself and keep it all bottled inside. Sometimes all this intellectualizing the issue only makes it harder to communicate with an open heart – as a libra and very logical person, I’m about done with being rational – I’m ready to spew a rainbow and be dammed what shade hits you (although that’s not true at all – I care WAY too much and am way too sensitive to how my emotional output reflects off others, and I sacrifice my own emotions for just a few hours of peace way too often).

    I feel like an actor in my own life, now I just want desperately to be present and let my genuine self shine. Been crying a lot in private lately, and I’ve recently come to accept what is bugging me. I’m so afraid to share this side of me, and to let it out, and afraid of rejection – any advice for how I can approach and talk to my wife about this?

    FYI – we don’t have kids, she wants them, but I am admittedly terrified of fatherhood – what if my child is just like me, I don’t want to pass on this feeling of being cursed? what if I have a son who is a macho-man dude-boy who I really will not be able to relate to? I am sure my wife has knowledge of my level of discomfort in life, I love her dearly, and I know she wants me to feel happy and healthy – but based on various hints / cues / discussions we’ve had I don’t think transgenderism is even in the spectrum of her radar. Just trying to find a route of this maze in my mind to open sharing with my wife.

    I want to share all this and my tears with her, but I am both terrified and confused – I mean, like this article’s topic what if in fact I am not transgendered, just mentally ill / depressed / bi-polar or something? Once the words are out they cannot be put back inside my head…. Sorry for rambling, and advice GREATLY appreciated.

    • Dara Hoffman-Fox

      July 13, 2015 at 1:53 PM Reply

      If you send a message to me through I can see about getting someone on my volunteer staff to assist you. It may take 2-3 weeks before I can respond. 🙂

    • Mark L Clayton

      January 10, 2018 at 2:50 PM Reply

      I feel your pain opening up your deepest darkest secret to the one person that you love is quite scary my advice take her out on a nice date wait till you get home and ask her for help then just be honest she’ll either accept you or she won’t but at least the lying will be over I truly hope she accepts you for you and really loves you for you but you have to love you for you

  • Tyrell Hart

    September 22, 2015 at 2:14 PM Reply

    Do you happen to know any gender identity therapists around Sarasota or Tampa, Florida?

  • Roswald

    September 22, 2015 at 2:38 PM Reply

    Thank you for this, I’ve been struggling with gender dysphoria lately without actually being aware of it being gender dysphoria my whole life, since coming out as transgender it’s opened up the world to me again, I’ve always felt betrayed by my body for a function which is not how I see myself mentally. This has reassured me, knowing that what I have been and currently am going through is recognised and isn’t something else truly helps me deal with it and move one step closer to being able to carry on without it stopping me from living.

  • Julian

    October 20, 2015 at 12:34 PM Reply

    I think about mind dysphoria a lot. I feel pretty genderfluid, but I’d rather just be male. Sometimes I feel like being female is a mask, one that extends all the way to my thoughts. Sometimes I just feel like me inside and sometimes just like me outside too. I definitely felt weirder on the pill even though I was put on it because my mother suspected that there was something weirdly hormonal going on and I was depressed but on the pill I just cried more. I have trouble being myself, like I’m all masks, and some of that I can work through in therapy, but I feel like I’m playing a part. I used to act as a kid and I felt really like myself when I got to play male parts even though I wasn’t really sure about it at first. I don’t want to be physically female in relationships or socially either. I used to be attracted to women but I don’t even feel comfortable solo in my body sexually and I don’t want to be desired as a woman.

    I feel like I’m trapped inside the body of my mother. I can barely function. I’m afraid that I will never be able to physically transition because I’m not mentally well. I don’t even know if I should. I feel like a crazy cis woman who’s making this shit up. And I spend so much time thinking about this shit that I am afraid my marks will drop.

    I wish I could stop caring about gender. I don’t think men are one way and women are another. I just feel off in so many ways. I tried to socially transition once but I felt I had to perform to others expectations and other people were caring about my gender too much. Maybe I should see a gender-related therapist as well? It takes a long time for me to trust a therapist though. Also, I like your site a lot.

    • Dara Hoffman-Fox

      October 24, 2015 at 5:53 PM Reply

      I very strongly suggest you find a gender therapist hon! You need someone to talk to about this so you don’t have to beat yourself up anymore. There is an answer that makes sense for you and you deserve to find it out! I know it’s hard to open up to someone new, but I say it’s worth a shot. You can interview therapists as well to make sure you are comfortable with them. Good luck!

  • […] This explains A LOT. I hope this is finally it. Basically in past threads I have said some of the following statements: "Sometimes I feel even more female than many gays who are more effeminate than me." "I feel like a man, but I don't feel man enough." I have also kind of identified a patter in my behaviour: 1. I am confused about my gender. 2. I get to the conclusion that I'm a man. 3. I get too happy and start acting feminine. 4. I feel bad about myself and I see/do something that makes me question again. 5. I go back to questioning and the cycle repeats. Then, I was looking at a thread in which this picture was posted and I immediately felt identified:…in%2Bscale.jpg I knew about body and social dysphoria, but I think I have neither of both, so I didn't know why I was having such internal conflicts or why I was relating to the trans community. Mind dysphoria: Discomfort someone feels when their thoughts and emotions are at odds with their sense of identity. This explains a lot of things about why I'm feeling this way, why I couldn't reach a conclusion and why I have these intrusive thoughts. I identify as a man, but my thoughts and emotions say otherwise. So that's why I doubt myself. My personality works very much like a woman's. It's not a battle between my body and my mind, it's a battle between my mind and my mind. When I wake up I like waking up as a man, but I do it in a very girly fashion so that's where the conflict starts. I see videos taken of myself and hate the things I do with my hands and the words I use, it all sounds girl to me and I don't like that. I like being a bit sassy but when i get too excited I disgust myself. This is just another example, I know colors are not related to gender: "There are many women who are obsessed with having everything girly and pink, I'm a man because I am obsessed with having everything blue and masculine… but actually, that's not true, most men don't care about those things, so in reality my behaviour resembled more the one of women's than men's." I tried looking more in depth into mind dysphoria but there isn't much information about it. I just found the photo, a thread, and an article that mentions it. This revelation "revelation" made some things clear but it also generated many questions: What is the difference between mind dysphoria and "self hate"? How can I get over this mind dysphoria or "embrace it"? Do you have any other thoughts or advice? Thank you for all the love and support you've shown me since I joined!!!!! Links: What is mind dysphoria? Reader Q&A: Do I or Do I Not Have Gender Dysphoria? – Dara Hoffman-Fox […]

  • Bethany

    November 20, 2015 at 2:07 AM Reply

    I found this in Google search when pondering questions about life. My situation is a lot different than this persons but I ask some of the same questions to myself over and over And over again. Honestly it sucks to always be questioning yourself. I wish someone would just give me a straight up yes or no. After reading part of this I believe I may have gender dysophia. One day about 7 months ago I woke up and thought I’d look better as a boy, that I should cut my hair short like I did in highschool for different reasons. It was so random it caught me by surprise. I started wearing baggy clothing and buying clothing my bf describes as something a lesbian would wear. So I pondered the thought of being a lesbian. But I knew I wasn’t. I’m bi/don’t care. Anyway, after a while I just kind of chucked myself into the category of gender fluid but that didn’t really quite describe it. After 4 months of waiting I cut my hair short and I was instantly happier. My bf was not…but I’m not going to get into that part of all this… I asked a transgender person about 2 weeks ago if he thought I was trans and described to him in detail what I was feeling and he agreed that I was probably trans and started helping me out to understand all the trans stuff. The thing is I’m happy with my assigned gender. I like my parts being female for the most part… I wouldn’t mind a binder but bf wouldn’t approve. My mind calmed itself for the first time in months of confusion and I was actually happy for a little while. After the initial wtf is wrong with me shock went away. After a few days I told my bf and he flipped out. Then ignored it and a few days ago flipped out again and yelled at me saying I was just a tomboy. Since he’s in college for psych and he said he was looking this stuff up because it bugged him. I felt extremely sad. During the first arguement we had he said I don’t want to date a boy and I almost lost my shit. For a few years now Ive been playing little mind games in my head and have been referring to myself as a guy. Based on this am I transgender? Can I be transgender but feel like I’m in the right body? Do I have body dysorphia? I also found this other thing online while looking this up that said something about derealization disorder and read the symptoms of that. More than half of those symptoms I’ve either said out loud to myself or to others. Do I have that? Ever since I was little I haven’t really had a good grasp on gender. I grew up with 2 brothers and didn’t wear clothing that was stereotypical for little girls 100% percent of the time. And that went on untill I was 14 and I realized it wasn’t OK to walk around your house when your brothers are home wearing just a bra, underwear, and pants. So idk how that fits into all this. I didn’t know how to just ask you questions on the site. And I don’t have any money to pay you or anyone else with. I’m a broke college student in need of advice and direction and no ones really helping me out here. I don’t feel I can really talk to anyone about this I don’t feel like they’d really understand I don’t feel like I understand it. It’s driving me crazy. So I’m asking you on a comment board. I live in MA. Alright that’s all. Thanks for reading. Sorry for posting it this way!

  • Mareena

    January 12, 2016 at 1:38 PM Reply
  • AR

    January 13, 2016 at 4:07 PM Reply

    Thank you posting this. It’s given me a lot to think about. I guess my big hang up is the “discomfort or distress” end of the definition. For most of my life there was such a big disconnect between me and the idea of gender that it never occurred to me that it was strange to consider oneself to be agendered. I would tell people ‘I just am.’ I had male days, I had female days, but most days I was neither. I knew the cause, my body didn’t produce the right hormones. In my late 20’s I got on the right medications–these days I joke I am an artificial female because I feel like a woman as long as I remember to take my hormones–but this has always just been my normal. I’m not transgendered because I was born with female genitalia but I have to take hormones to feel female. Reading this though has given me a lot to think about. I have a very hard time considering not connecting to a gender to be a disorder (aka the psychiatric profession calls gender dysphoria) or that I might fit under the definition. I think there might just need to be room for people in our society for people who aren’t their genitalia but aren’t ‘distressed’ by it either.

  • Pasha

    May 10, 2016 at 2:36 PM Reply

    wonderful post that came in very handy as i was doubting myself and asking, how come i feel like a woman and at the same time am comfortable with my male body?

  • JR

    October 6, 2016 at 2:13 PM Reply

    You’re response in all honesty to this should have been “If you think you might have Gender Dysphoria than you should consult a psychologist” Gender Dysphoria is something you are diagnosed with and they check the severity of it and prescribe an appropriate treatment for it. Currently one of my friends is undergoing said treat. All she’s doing is dressing as a female to see how that makes her feel because they are trying to figure out if she should start transitioning

    • Dara Hoffman-Fox

      October 7, 2016 at 10:54 AM Reply

      Gender Dysphoria can indeed be used in a diagnostic sense, but there are also those who use it as a way to describe their experience, regardless if they have been diagnosed as such by a professional. In the end it’s not up to the professional to tell someone who they are and how they experience themselves. Certainly the diagnosis is necessary for letters of support (at least for now), but the term Gender Dysphoria is available for anyone to use for their description of themselves, if they so chose to use it.

  • G_J_H

    February 7, 2017 at 9:32 PM Reply

    It took me about 5 months after dad died to relize i was, different. But i only found out i truly wanted to be a girl 2 years later. It then took me abother 2 1/2 years, and i now relize that ive had GID for 8 whole years without knowing!! Im glad i could read this post to understand, my mind is 11 out of 10 a girl, its stange looking in the mirror as “E_” said, because everytime i see this male face i feel an inner sadness, like i know ide be happy if i saw something more pretty? More girly at least. sometimes i just wish i was born a girl!!

  • Joe_or_Jo

    April 15, 2017 at 3:19 PM Reply

    I turned 50 years old last August. I am male and grew up with an absent father who still essentially lived with us but was always at odds with my mom. I am the youngest of four children and the only boy. I was sexually abused by my cousin at age 8. I do not know the specifics because I have either blocked it out or over 36 years of recreational drug use has just killed my memory altogether. Apparently our moms walked in on me going down on him (age 10). The reason I drop that so glibly is because I am not sure I was ever in the closet. I have the dreaded “do I sound gay” voice my whole life and forcibly tried to deepen it when answering the phone because it would piss me off when someone would think I was my sibs or my mom. I had wild dreams of sexuality by the time I was 12. By 13 I was dressing up as female and sneaking into the city and pretending to be a girl. I was caught and frankly my 13-18 year old life was a war with my family that included getting a boyfriend when I was 16 and moving in with him. I have always crossed my legs and just been an effeminate man. i was attractive to no one and desperately wanted attention. So I sexualized my behavior and learned to substitute sex for love and am still there today. I have never been in a relationship and do not form close bonds with people. I think I am transgender and possibly headed toward surgery. For three years now the thought has been growing more and more. I am very unhappy as a male and don’t want to end my life as an unhappy man who is alone and always confused about why. Also I am terrified of what I will look like as a woman…its vanity, I get that, but I am still scared as all heck.

  • toru

    June 2, 2017 at 10:08 AM Reply

    I just happened to be reading the comments on this page and I felt very identified with the latest comment. I am under 18 and I was also sexually abused by my cousin when I was way more younger. I can’t tell how old I was because I still have many lapses of memory about that time in my life. The thing is, that I have never told anyone before because I was scared, and still am to bring that out and I have no proof that it happened.
    At the beginning of this year, I started to question my gender identity and I still am. In fact, now, I am seeing a gender therapist aproximately once a week.
    Still, I got this question running through my head. What if my body dysphoria is caused by this abuse I suffered when I was younger? I am extremely confused and I don’t know what to do about it. Should I tell my therapist about it?
    Thank you Dara,
    sincerely toru.

  • Ettina

    August 6, 2017 at 3:06 PM Reply

    Could LW be nonbinary?

  • Mark L Clayton

    January 10, 2018 at 2:07 PM Reply

    Stuck between honesty and my wife came out to my wife of 12 years 6months ago that I was having issues with my gender. She was not happy and felt like our whole life we made togerher nothing but a lie. Gender identity issues I’ve been with me my whole life and dressing up was something I only did in private and hid it from everyone she was at first really mad then a little supportive but told me I needed a therapist to help find my true self it worked I finally stopped lying to myself and accepted that I was made this way. And made the decision to go forward not backwards and stop hating myself. Then she said this is all crap and its a choice you are making to choose being a woman instead of her as she is not a lesbian nor bi she told me to be honest with her about everything and I was now she wanta me to stop and go back to repressing my feelings . how do I be honest with her and myself and repress my true self all at the same time. It was hard but dooable to repress my true self before I accepted me. Now if feels like a house is on top of me I want to be my true self but I also want my wife to not totally abandon me she is my best friend and our marriage was about as close to perfect as u can get now she says she feels nothing for me and everything we had was fake I know I can’t go backwards and need to go forward any help with trying to save at least my best friend out of this as I’m sure our marriage wont last long I can accept that she doesnt see me as a man but dont want to loose her as my best friend I do love her and dont know what to do

  • tom

    May 10, 2018 at 6:29 AM Reply

    I’m transgender (ftm) and have a crush on a girl who still sees me as a female. what do i do?

  • Xaviar Qualls

    June 28, 2018 at 3:04 PM Reply

    This actually made me feel wayyyy better cause i always did wish i had a penis or that i was a boy and when i started puberty and got tits and periods i was miserable and i hated it and i tries to dress and act like guys but i still liked pink and flowers and dresses and makeup just not my gender, i keep questioning if im really trans but then i think “do i want to be female my whole life” frick no if i had a choice id grow a dick and chop my tits off but i cant. I have like a feminine attitude (like the stereotypical gay dude) but i feel expected to be hyper masculine when i trsnsition.

  • […] CassieBebop & Hoffman-Fox, D. (2014). Reader Q&A: Do I or do I not have gender dysphoria? [Online image]. Retrieved from […]

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