“I feel like it takes me effort to act ‘masculine’. Am I transgender?”

Is it even possible to come to communities like r/asktransgender as a questioning person and be told that you are in fact, not transgender? Let us take a look at this post:

I feel like I’ve always wanted to be a woman for a very very long time. I always felt different from other people, and I didn’t feel necessarily “masculine” or anything like that. Didn’t understand the whole macho thing growing up either, wasn’t very sporty.

I watched a shitton of porn from an early age growing up, so I’m not sure if this fucked me up or just exacerbated everything, but I could always remember wanting to be a woman. I’m highly attracted to women – I LOVE them… they are so beautiful. And I was so envious. I would imagine things like “if I were a woman, I would do x, y and z” etc… I would try on some of my mom’s underwear and liked it. I still have the desire to do that.

I look at women and I love them so much. But I always feel this jealousy, like they are just the ideal “kind of human” to be. If you could be anyone, you should want to be a woman. I love how they look, how they are, and I feel like I just want to act feminine so badly. I want to wear makeup. I want to make myself look pretty and wear girl’s clothes. I want to feel sexy. All these things. Maybe that isn’t representative of the ENTIRETY of being a woman, but it’s how I feel.

Might come off as an asshole here, and I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I’m just trying to get my feelings out: I feel like guys are losers. I don’t like guys. They are gross, they aren’t beautiful or attractive; I don’t understand the preoccupation of being macho or something (I know not all guys are like this, but I’m just trying to explain that I don’t understand how your “typical guy” acts and why they do that). I feel like it takes me effort to act “masculine”. I’ve gotten kinda good at it, but lately all these thoughts about being a woman and being transgender have been popping into my head. I fear I’m really suppressing this stuff and that scares me.

Post is long enough, I guess I’m done for now. Does anyone have any thoughts? Am I transgender? Do I just want to be a woman, but I don’t have actual dysphoria or anything like that? I’m not sure if I FEEL like I’m a woman, but I feel like I want to BE one, or I’d love to become one. Is that the same thing as being transgender? I feel a bit better talking about this, but it still freaks me out. Please help.

Feeling “different”, not being interested in acting stereotypically masculine, not liking sports, wanting to be beautiful and sexy. Admits to watching a lot of porn and feels unsure how this has affected him. Note that he says that he doesn’t have dysphoria about his body, he just wants to be what he imagines women to be (sexy, beautiful etc).

The comments?

“We can’t tell you what to do, but you’re totally trans”

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“One of us, one of us!”

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A single voice of dissent, urging the poster to reflect on what it is about women that makes him feel the way he does, and learning to love himself. And it’s downvoted:

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Learning to be happy with yourself the way you are is so old-fashioned, this is 2015, where in order to be “yourself” you need medical procedures!

“From a young age, I knew I would rather be wearing dresses like my sister, and would rather have long hair like a girl”

A 15 year old kid posts to r/asktransgender. He wants to wear beautiful dresses, and feels confused. dress1

Does anyone say “boys can wear dresses”? No. The first commenter explains how he knew he was trans: He wanted to “be wearing dresses like my sister”: dress2

The online transgender community is saturated with extreme stereotypes of what it  means to be male or female. It is no wonder that young people who feel that they do not fit into the stereotypes for their sex become confused. Look at this thread about “being girly”: “boys clothes, makeup, fashion, being cute soft and bubbly”:

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This commenter feels like there is an “internal feeling of femininity”, that is caused by “looking pretty”.

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This commenter, who is FtM, lists a bunch of sexist stereotypes, and adds “little wonder that I didn’t enjoy being a woman”.  Why is taking testosterone and calling yourself a man the solution to this problem? Where is the “free to be you and me” style feminism in the lives of these people?

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This commenter in a different post talks about the length of his nails as a significant part of his feelings of being a woman:

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Another commenter thinks longing to go into clothing and shoe stores at the mall makes him a woman:

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This is what trans people come up with when trying to describe their feelings of being women. 1950s style outrageous stereotypes. It’s not even remotely progressive, it’s not “smashing the binary”, it’s not liberation. It’s a prison, where you have to “fix” your body to match your mind, instead of being free to like whatever you like and wear whatever you want to wear.

“You’re in the last stages of denial”.

A 16 year old kid is confused about himself and posts to r/asktransgender:

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This seems like a pretty typical teenager trying to find his place in the world.

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“You’re trans. Oh and by the way, you don’t really love your penis, just wait”.

Another confused poster seeking answers (excerpts):

I’m a wretchedly confused 21 year old male.

I don’t think that I fit the typical profile of someone who actively wanted to be female from a very young age. I feel like I’ve just… fallen into it? Maybe I’m just trying to distance myself from it all by saying that. I can’t tell.

(…)

In the past two years, despite the risks of living with my family I’ve gone so far as to go out shopping and buy female clothes to cross-dress in private, frequently shaved my body clean and even dabbled in makeup, though I was getting scared by how far I was taking it and the risk it posed (how the hell do you remove nail polish from the edges of your fingernails?) and binned some of it a few months ago. Still, until recently I’ve always dismissed it as a fetish, because it’s been so tied up in eroticism.

(…)

I’ve never had a great relationship to my body, but especially now that puberty is essentially over I’ve come to distaste, if not sometimes hate my maleness. I look in the mirror and feel like I’m staring back at a gorilla. The body hair and stubble, the muscle, the flat profile, huge nose, rough skin, deep voice… but lately, at least for the first few seconds, I see a female “soul” in my eyes, and so I increasingly can’t face myself in the mirror. Self-awareness is becoming dysphoric. At the same time, it isn’t a constant feeling, at least yet. Being male isn’t all bad.

Still, I’m also so sick of the emotional shutdown I’ve had to impose on myself for being male. Despite how analytic I’ve become, it’s absurd how easily I’ll cry sometimes when watching sappy videos or listening to powerful music online. Part of the reason why I’m such a recluse is that I’m expected to be stoic when I’d like to have a good cry at the end of a movie, you know? I can’t contain myself despite the walls I’ve built up.

After saying all of that I in some ways feel foolish to not think that I’m transgender, but I’ve spent my entire life in such doubt over almost everything that matters, and I’ve consistently made poor decisions when I have acted, so I feel incredibly torn.

Am I just reinterpreting history to suit a self-indulgent narrative? Is this just escapism taken to its utmost extreme? How can you possibly tell if you’re in denial, especially when you’re consumed by doubt? Are dreams just an exploration of hypotheticals, or an expression of deep-seated desires?

I’m not sure if I am transgender, but I’ve read enough stories to know that I don’t want to suffer with dysphoria and regret for the rest of my life.

The gist of this seems to be that this is a guy who likes to crossdress for sexual reasons, who feels like being male is “not all bad”, but dislikes stereotypes like being expected to “be stoic”. He’s unsure if he’s reading too much into these feelings. Note the last paragraph – he has been reading trans stories online. A very common theme in these narratives, as we have seen many times on this blog, is that being trans is a lifelong condition and that the only way of treating it is by invasive medical treatments.

Here are some of the replies:

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(the link in the first comment goes to a page that simply says “yes”).

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There are more replies of the same type. Either straight up “you sound trans”, or “your story sounds so much like mine!”, with the implication being “so therefore you are trans too”. This is the problem with communities like these, they are like funnels. There might be people with the same experiences who aren’t transgender, but they don’t hang around in r/asktransgender, so the young questioners never get to talk to them. Combine this with a solid dose of the sentiment “cis people don’t question their gender” that we have seen here, and we have a very effective way of convincing young people that medical transition is the right thing for them.

“I feel like my personality just fits too. I have always been super emotional and dramatic about silly things.”

Being transgender is supposedly about having a “gender identity” that does not fit with your biological sex. This gender identity is sometimes described as “a person’s private sense and subjective experience of their own gender”. In practice, the reasons many trans people give for feeling like a woman/man are thoroughly sexist and based on nothing but stereotypes.

This poster is questioning his identity:

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“I feel like my personality just fits too. I have always been super emotional and dramatic about silly things.” Ah, of course, Females are super emotional and dramatic about silly things. How progressive. Does anyone call him out on how sexist this is? Does anyone suggest his masturbatory fantasies about being female might be just that, a fantasy to get off to? No, of course not.

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“I won’t tell you that you’re trans, but yup, you are totally trans”.

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“Make an appointment to get hormones now now now” (an “informed consent clinic” is a clinic that will prescribe hormones without requiring you to get psychological treatment).

So there we have it. Feeling like a woman = being emotional and dramatic.

“At least get on blockers. At the very least! You’ll regret waiting further”

We have seen previously here on Transgender reality that there is a lot of pressure to start taking either hormone blockers or hormones for young people who think they might be transgender. Sometimes it’s supposed to be a sort of diagnostic tool, the thought being that if you feel better on the hormones of the opposite sex, that means you are transgender. Often, the decision to start blockers or hormones is presented as something you need to do as soon as possible, even if you aren’t sure if it’s the right thing, even if you’re just 13 years old and confused. Going through natural puberty is framed as “watching your body get ruined”.

Kids going to reddit and the many large transgender subreddits there get presented with this over and over again. You need to start hormones now or you will never pass! Testosterone is ruining your body! It doesn’t take much for them to internalize this and start obsessing, as we have seen previously.

Anything I can do?” asks a 16 year old, and gets told by several commenters to “get HRT asap”:

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Can I pass?” asks another 16 year old, and again HRT comes up several times:

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What do I have to work with here?” asks a 14 year old. The second comment mentions hormones:

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Other commenters talks about how it’s possible to get androgen blockers online:

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“Get blockers”:

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Note that this kid has not even seen a therapist yet, and still people are egging him on to get hormones.

“Is transitioning early really worth it?” asks a 15 year old. The commenters start talking about HRT straight away:

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“Stop the damage of testosterone on your body”:

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Do it now do it now do it now, you’ll regret it if you don’t:

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This kid, who found out he’s trans less than a month before and has not talked to a therapist or even told his parents, wonders how hard he should “push for hrt”. The answer: very hard:

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This 19 year old wonders if he could pass. This exchange is very typical:

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In a nutshell, he’s told to get on HRT as soon as possible. He mentions feeling stressed out because he’s not even sure he wants to transition, but worries that “I don’t have enough time to decide”. So obviously, the answer is to “start an anti androgen”. His concerns about fertility are handwaved away. Can’t worry about fertility when the more important thing is to become as pretty as possible!

This premise is most often left unspoken, but if you pay attention it is very pervasive. Passing as a woman isn’t enough, the desire to be an attractive, beautiful, sexy woman is very deep among many would-be transitioners. When you take this into consideration, the preoccupation with getting people on hormones in their early teens makes more sense. Here are just a few examples of this sentiment:

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This is a recipe for disaster. Young teens go into these communities with problems that are incredibly typical, like feelings of not fitting in with peers, or liking clothing or activities that are seen as being “for” the opposite sex. They are told that even questioning their gender means that they are trans, and to get on puberty blockers or hormones as soon as possible. Again and again, the idea that taking one’s life is a natural and inevitable consequence of not being able to get these medications is reinforced.

What happens next?

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Yeah. That post was written by Josh “Leelah” Alcorn, who committed suicide later that year.

“Just tell her to shut the fuck up”

One of the ways in which cultlike behavior is especially striking in the online trans community is the way they encourage people to cut off contact with friends and family that do not agree with 100% of their ideology.

This poster’s mother has pointed out that if he goes through with transition, he might end up looking like neither male nor female.What should he do? Slap her.

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Someone apparently disagrees, but their comment was deleted. We can still see the replies though:

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Slapping someone for questioning your decisions is self-defense.

Other suggestions: Tell her to “shut the fuck up”:

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Another poster posts a letter his father wrote him after he came out as transgender. The father expresses concerns that the transgender thoughts may have come from the poster’s therapist or from his friends, and warns him about making such a drastic change. He also tells the poster that he loves him and wants him to come home.

One commenter says that “it would be difficult to call that person […] a father”:

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Another says “doesn’t sound like a father to me”:

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They also call the father abusive and hateful:

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It’s not just reddit either. We see the same phenomenon in this tumblr post, where a young FtM who wants to have her breasts removed posts screenshots of text messages from her mother. The mother is asking her to reconsider such drastic changes to her body. These text messages are labeled “cruel”, “hateful”, “bullying”, and “toxic”.

This poster’s girlfriend wants him to try antidepressants before going on hormones, just in case his issues can be solved with something less invasive. That’s controlling, and you should dump her!!!

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In this post, people share things their families have said to them about transition. One commenter’s mother told him that being a woman is difficult and not something one can really escape. This viewpoint is seen as poisonous.

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In this post, the poster’s father is concerned about his son’s motivation for starting hormone therapy. A commenter jumps right in, advising him to bring up suicide as a bargaining chip for unquestioning acceptance. Note that the poster’s father was not cutting him off, not throwing him out, he was even driving him to his doctor’s appointments! But he was being less than 110% accepting of the need to undergo radical body modifications at the age of 18 as a way to happiness. Time to bring out the suicide threats!

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This poster wishes to come out as transgender to his parents, and has written a letter to his mother stating his intentions to get hormone therapy and “live life as a woman”.

Here comes the inevitable inflated made up suicide statistic, used as a bargaining chip:

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“Dress up, practice girl voice, play around with your hair”. More stereotypes.

Supposedly, being trans has nothing to do whatsoever with clothes or stereotypes. How curious it is, then, that one of the ways to explore whether or not you might be trans consists of putting on “girl clothes” or make-up – in private. 

Am I trans or not?” Get some girl clothes, try them on and see how it makes you feel! If you like it, you are trans. Apparently humans have an inborn preference for clothing of a specific type.

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“Maybe try dressing up as a woman in private”. Somehow this commenter probably doesn’t mean “jeans and t-shirt” when talking about “dressing as a woman”. Makeup is definitely involved, as if makeup is some central aspect of womanhood.

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Am I MtF“? Buy some womens clothes.

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What are some real life tests we can do in private to further determine whether one is trans?“, one poster asks.

Keep your body smooth shaven, one commenter suggests, as if women are naturally hairless and smooth. Oh and wear panties!

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Or how about playing around with your hair and walk around doing girly gestures? Surely if you like doing that you must really be a woman?!

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