Define Gender Dysphoria
In consideration for the expanding “trans” community, I realize there’s a growing number of people who feeling they need to change their gender expression and even modify their body surgically. These people wish to also be called “transgender.” I will not debate the validity of that claim here. However I will refrain from using “transgender.”
Gender dysphoria is a hard subject for most people to comprehend so if it doesn’t make sense at first, don’t feel bad. It took me decades just to discover what that was and decades more to figure out what that means.
Gender Dysphoria (“GD”):
Gender in this case refers to your physical body: male, female, intersex (both male and female.)
Dysphoria means a general unease or discomfort.
So literally GD is a general unease or discomfort with your body’s gender. However the medical condition requires “significant stress” for a valid diagnosis.
Okay. If I don’t like the size of my penis or the shape of my vulva, am I dysphoric?
Perhaps a bit. But GD goes further.
Our brains are hard-wired with a directory to our body. Just like a telephone directory, the brain map links specific signals (phone number) transmitted through the spine to specific body parts (caller’s name). So you stub your toe, your brain associates the pain with “toe.” You move your finger, your brain looks up “finger” and sends the impulse to the associated nerves. But we have more body than spinal nerves so some areas share nerve impulses. That means when pain hits, often we can feel it somewhere else. This is called referred pain. It’s where the brain’s directory get’s overwhelmed with signals.
For gender dysphoric people, our brain’s directory has entries that correlate to body parts of the opposite gender. “Penis” is interpreted as “clitoris” and vice-versa. Thus what the brain expects and what the body delivers are very different. This division causes significant stress because the brain and body are constantly fighting each other. Pleasure signals from the genitals still cause pleasure, but the brain gets confused and seeks to associate the pleasure with non-existent body parts. The stress builds. But the problem isn’t just genitals. It extends to the entire shape of the body. Some parts are missing, some shouldn’t exist, and others are too big or too small. As you can imagine this often causes other mental conditions to arise. Depression is the number 1 comorbid diagnosis.
There are no medications that address this sort of problem in the brain. Everything has been tried from counselling and hypnosis to anti-depressants to anti-psychotics to electroshock therapy. Nothing works, except to treat the comorbid conditions. And sometimes that’s enough.
For most, the condition causes stress every time some aspect of the body or someone else’s body is considered. Instantly that division is thrust into the thought process causing negative emotions to rise. Often regret and longing take over for a time. “If only” becomes the topic. Thus half the population exists to torment and remind us of what we will never be and can never truly obtain.
The condition results in feelings of hopelessness and depression. The body looks like it will never be accepted as the opposite sex. Nothing will change it that much. Society will cast us out as freaks. Family will reject us and throw us to the street.
Society is a little more accepting today than 30 years ago, but most people deny the truth when they are confronted with a loved one who comes out. That denial can be so strong they leave forever. Sometimes it results in beatings.
I often associate gender dysphoria with being stuck in a wood chipper. Can you imagine the horror and pain of being slowly sucked into one?
It gives me a cold shiver up my spine! That’s how I feel most days. The division of brain and body tears me apart inside and shreds my soul. It’s a horror I would to wish upon the worst person in history.
I hope that paints a picture of what gender dysphoria is, the suffering it causes and the sense of hopelessness and depression that come with it.
Next up: The Christian Response