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Coping with Gender Dysphoria
Gender dysphoria is when a person experiences strong, ongoing feelings of discomfort because of their body or the expectations placed on them because of the gender they were assigned at birth. The following tools for coping with gender dysphoria come from trans folks in Calgary, Alberta. Next time things get hard, feel free to try some of their suggestions:
- Phone a queer and/or trans friend
- Phone trans Lifeline 1-(877)-330-6366
- Ask a friend to correct people who misgender or mispronoun you
- Ask a queer and/or trans friend to name some qualities that match your gender identity (i.e. if you’re a trans man, ask for some of your most masculine qualities)
- Ask a friend to write you a compliment using your pronouns
- Take selfies
- Lay in bed all day and read a comic book
- Watch TV
- Watch sci-fi, experience all the alien bodies. Yours is okay too.
- Wear your favourite outfit
- Bind your chest
- Eat an entire bag of chips or any favourite snack and focus on the crunching
- Watch a TV show or movie or read a book with characters who share your identity
- Come out to a pet and know they love you no matter what
- Try to accept that your feelings are valid, and so are you! (it takes time)
- Know all your options because knowledge can be powerful
- Know that you don’t have to change anything because it’s your body. It’s a beautiful body.
- Do whatever you need to do to walk out your front door in the morning. Remind yourself that it’s okay if you can’t.
- Find spaces you can be in with others who share your identity and see you for who you truly are
- Rename your body parts with words that affirm your gender
How do I learn to like myself?
If you have just discovered that you are transgender, remember that you are normal and you are likeable, just as you are. It is normal to feel nervous, excited or upset about the days ahead. Remember that something as amazing as knowing your true self can be great!
You are allowed to like yourself. You are allowed to like parts (or all) of your body. While some transgender people feel extremely uncomfortable with the gender-specific parts of their body, other transgender people might not. You don’t have to hate yourself to be transgender – you just have to know your gender is different than the one you were assigned at birth. If you are struggling with liking yourself, it’s okay to ask for help. Try talking to someone that you trust or call a counsellor. You deserve to like yourself.