Imagine you were told that you no longer could write with your dominant hand. That you must now only use your other hand. Sure, you could give up writing all together, but you have to work. You have to get things done, because that’s how the world works. So, you bite the bullet and start writing. It’s uncomfortable. It feels wrong. And yes, over time you’ll get pretty decent at writing this way, to the point where an observer couldn’t see the struggle you experienced, but to you, it would be wrong.
This is what living with gender dysphoria is like (for me at least). It’s a very real feeling and something I experience every day, regardless of what some anti-trans people may tell you. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes I feel nothing at all. I’ve learned to hate it, to despise it. Others embrace it. Maybe someday I’ll be able to say the same.
They say the only cure to dysphoria is transitioning. While that may be true, there are certainly things that can ease this suffering. Community. Shared experiences. We humans are social animals. The internet may not be the small fire our ancestors once huddled around, but it still provides a place for us to share and feel connected. The wonderful thing about using such a platform as Tumblr or Reddit is the anonymity that accompanies it. It allows people like me to flourish where we are otherwise hindered by society. I’ve grown to love the little communities around the web. I’ve yet to contribute to the conversations, but I’ve been an avid, passive follower. I believe that this blog may foster growth, not only for my own development, but may help a new ally understand the trials and tribulations of their friend.
The hand analogy has been one I’ve found helpful, but if you really want to understand a trans* person, speak to them. If they’re willing, you’ll learn about their unique situation. Sometimes the best you can do is just listen. Other times, it’s best to invite them to events. Invite transwomen to girls’ nights. Invite transmen to the man-den. It may be stereotypical, but those little things can really make a trans* person feel welcome. One must remember, these people are the same as you, they just happen to have a different body.
This sort of stuff may be new to you or you may have heard all this before. Regardless it’s important to understand if you truly want to help. Educate yourself. Read more on the topic (see below). And if you’re a trans*person feeling lost in the world around you, reach out. You may be surprised how many people truly care about you.