Gender dysphoria varies in intensity, from person to person and over the course of a lifetime, and even from week to week or day to day. Usually in the springtime, as the days get longer, warmer and sunnier, my own mood lifts and I find my femininity waning a bit. I doubt that's a coincidence. But this week I have been fiercely dysphoric, even my dreams have repeatedly gone over my life as a university student and how differently things would have been (in a positive way) if I'd come out as trans then. I have no idea why these dreams and ideas have arisen all of a sudden. Perhaps the stress of difficult bureaucratic appointments to prepare for next week. But my head seems to have been playing a record of what might have been had I had the knowledge then that I have now.
I was on a small course, just 20 students. Two were legally male (i.e. me and one other) and 18 female. I know the girls on my course would have accepted my being trans, as would my lecturers, and the university had a policy of letting LGBT students live the life they wanted. I don't recall if we used terms like LGBT and transgender in the 1980s, but things were pretty cool back then, even in a fairly staid, respected institution like mine. I regret my lack of courage, but the idea of news filtering back to my severe family that I might be dressing as a girl and liking it was one of the things that prevented my doing so, and stupidly getting involved in university societies that I thought my family would approve of meant I lost that wonderful early opportunity to break away from my conditioning. Instead, I joined religious societies that eventually made me miserable because, far from enhancing my religious upbringing, revealed a serious contrast between the mainstream religion I was nominally brought up in and the idiosyncratic cult run by my parents. When I tell you that at home extreme religiosity was coupled with racism and homophobia, you may not be surprised. But when I tell you that, among many things, eating pizza, wearing jeans or calling anyone's parents Mum or Dad were activities that provoked wrath, then you may start to realise that life was actually bananas on the homestead.
On a practical level, I had to prevent myself damaging my credit card yesterday when I was tempted to make bad purchases of summer dresses. It took effort, despite the items being misshapen and ugly! Dysphoria ebbs and flows, I know this from, well, so many decades of being a woman struggling with physical and official restrictions. But it can still be hard. As for the 'alternative personal histories' that have been plaguing my dreams, I hope they go away since the regret is distressing. I know better dreams are available.
I did buy a cute pair of summer shorts, which are very stretchy, so ideal for girls with yoyo tums and a different structure around the hips; and some straightforward girly flipflops. Cheap, practical and yet ideal for being feminine in summer. You don't have to be flamboyant to affirm you are a woman.
Thank you for your comments. Blogger seemed to be resolving its comments issues, but now others have arisen. So I will reply to comments on my previous post when I am able to override the weirdness. Bear with me.
For many this is Pride month. I hope we regain ground against the many abusers and haters who have arisen and been encouraged to arise in the last few years. I will (as ever) be tackling my bigoted family. It won't stop their bigotry, but it will make it more difficult and frustrating for them. If pride is not a sin for you, then be proud of who you are.