Dysphoria/Dissonance vs. Internalized Cissexism? Or Maybe It's Not So Simple, Jackass
The trans community is awash with narrative pushing.
White supremacy pushing the stereotypical white transgender experience as the norm. Classism pushing the transitioning = paying out the ass for medical adjustments narrative. Ableism pushing the “trans doesn’t equal crazy and god forbid you are crazy cuz here is a bus enjoy the wheels” bullshit. Fatphobia pushing the androgyny or femininity or masculinity or every other expression = thin crap. Etcetera.
When it comes to taking the experiences of a tiny privileged few or a giant pile of transfundamentalist bullshit and superimposing it on every form of gender variance under and over the sun, the trans community has a disturbing amount of talent.
And have no doubt, the blame rests in the end on all of those isms mentioned above and also cissexism cuz cis people taught us how to fuck ourselves over well by doing it to us always. But it’s still happening.
And no more heavily than with this latest crap I’ve seen all over tumblr (although it’s certainly been around way longer) on dysphoria and dissonance.
Dysphoria and Dissonance being defined purely and completely as “hating your body” because of its format, a format that is not cis (in many cases because it isn’t cis, because of a mismatch).
It’s not an invalid narrative. There are tons of trans people who absolutely have that exact form of dissonance. Who require methods to cope with their body not matching their mind or even surgical and hormonal intervention. Valid and not to be shat on.
The problem shows up when that narrative, the body structures being wrong for one’s self concept (often paired with the idea that this is a biological or neurological issue), is applied as the end all be all litmus test for transness.
Here’s a strong kick to the face reality check. Dissonance and Dysphoria actually come in tons and tons of forms. And for tons and tons of reasons.
For instance, there is social dysphoria. There are people who hurt more from dissonance between social elements and their self concept. Gasp. I know. Shocking.
If you need to faint, I brought a victorian couch for you to fall on.
Furthermore, even within that narrative there are people who don’t need a whit of actual surgery or even hormones. And who didn’t get that dissonance from neurological things (and there’s also the ridiculous heavy problems with the brain sex idea, that fucks around with Intersex folks’ territory hard).
This narrative being pushed isn’t doing any of us any favors. It’s not just leading to policing, it’s leading to a very brutal in for internalized cissexism and cisfuckery to attack our body images even harder than normal.
I cannot express how hard I’ve been struggling lately with whether my self directed penis hate is dissonance (and believe me I do have bodily dissonance, much of which was solved by what the hormones did, but my transness is way more complex than that) or if it’s internalized cissexism, this idea that a woman can’t have a penis.
And what if it’s something else? What if its a mixture? What if this narrative being pushed convinced me I have to hate my penis to be trans and so I subconsciously did the damage to myself?
This narrative doesn’t just lead to policing, denial of resources and fucking over other trans folks (and guaranteed fucking over of genderesscent folks due to all the racism my people bring to gender in general) it leads to doing serious damage to self concept and self actualization all throughout gender variant and gender existent non cis individuals all over.
It leads to doubts that disrupt the way we figure out what we need and take the steps to get it. It muddies the waters that needed no further damn muddying with a cissexist (not to mention all the other axes that come into play) world fucking with our minds at every step.
It leads to self hatred. It leads to bad decisions that make things worse. It leads to people not believing they’re trans or genderesscent or gender existent (as the case may be) at all and suffering without even knowing why. It leads to people who have accepted their gender existent status but don’t fit the narrative hiding from the community and not gaining access to resources and support or being open and being denied those resources directly.
It leads to deaths.
It leads to suicides.
This shit kills people. Our people.
The worst part, all it would take is comprehending nuance. Learning that things are complicated and can’t be summed up in a single narrative. Unlearning fucked up bigoted bullshit that fuels this pushing. Not hard things. Not too much to ask at all when people’s lives and well being are at stake.
Not too much at all.