“I just feel that my outlook, interests and desires would be more accepted in a girl than a boy”

What does it mean when trans people talk about “identifying” as or with a gender? Since it supposedly doesn’t have to do with stereotypes or gender roles, but with identity, is it possible to pin down the nature of this identity?

What aspect of the gender you weren’t assigned at birth do you specifically identify with?, a poster asks. Here is one of the replies:


Why this person could not wear women’s fashion and be cute as a guy is not elaborated on.

Here is another reply:


Having long hair and shaving your body hair is apparently a sign that you are female, as well as spending time on “cosmetic skin care”.  The same commenter continues:


This is sad. A male who wants to groom in ways more typically associated with women, has been convinced that this means they are transgender and needs to pursue medical treatments. In another time this person might have been happy with being a long-haired, smoothly shaven guy with great skin.

“I want to be the one in the relationship who makes all the money”, says a commenter calling themselves “agender girly boy”, but admits that this is a stereotype of what males are. But hang on! “Most stereotypes are based in reality” another commenter points out. Charming.


In a post titled question on changing my personality (mtf), the OP worries that their personality is not feminine enough, and wants advice on how to change it. Who knows what is meant by this, but it probably does not mean assertive or dominating.


The idea that woman = weak is seen again in this post, named “imagery of being turned into something weaker“:


Several commenters point out that females aren’t necessarily submissive and weak, which prompts the OP to elaborate:



So it turns out that the real reason for this poster’s desire to be a woman is a desire to  be sexually submissive. And this story isn’t unique either.

Yet another poster is struggling: pretty confused right now please help


So this poster is sexually submissive and wants to “be a girl and fulfill that role in the eyes of the public norm”. And the most telling point: “I just feel that my outlook, interests and desires would be more accepted in a girl than a boy”. It doesn’t get much clearer than this: this guy wants to change his body to “match” his personality. 

This is not progressive. This is just another way of reinforcing gender roles. It used to be (and still is, for many) that people were told to behave in a manner that was expected of their sex. Now people are trying to change their bodies to match their personalities instead. Why can’t we do neither?

“OMFG I HAVE WAITED SO LONG”. Teen goes from questioning to taking hormones in three months

It is starting to become a familiar story. Young teens come to transgender communities on pages like reddit, being confused about themselves because they don’t conform to sex role stereotypes. Within months, they become convinced that they are transgender, and start experiencing despair over their bodies.

Here is another such story. It begins three months ago.

Am I a familiar story?“, the kid asks, and proceeds to rattle off a laundry list of stereotypes:


The elements are very familiar to anyone who has read a few of these questioning posts. Painting nails, playing with dolls, being good at recognizing emotions, having female friends, and not fitting in as a guy, are all given significance in figuring out one’s identity. Conversely, liking science, Indiana Jones and explosions are considered signs of a “male” identity. This kid clearly has a very rigid perception of what being male and female is. Which is okay! Many kids and teens do, and who can blame them, growing up in a  sexist society where gender roles are rigidly enforced.

And some of the posters point this out to him.


However, the comment with the most upvotes does no such thing:


“Sounds trans. Sounds trans. Sounds trans”. This commenter wants the kid to know that liking nail polish and dolls makes him sound trans.

The exchange continues, concluding with this:


“My mom still seems to think I need to wait a year before hormones”. To most people this would sound reasonable –  after all, going on cross-sex hormones without having completed natural puberty can sterilize you for life, and is a major decision to make, especially for a 15 year old. But to this kid, that is not important. This is kind of why we don’t let 15 year old make big, life-changing decisions. They are not good at thinking through the consequences.

He posts again, asking if he “has to be comfortable with public cross-dressing” before getting hormones. The answer is an overwhelming no.


Not just is it not a good idea, it can even lead to suicide!

This is worrying because it makes it so kids feeling this way are told to not even experiment with being gender-nonconforming. Maybe this kid would have discovered that he is in fact a boy who enjoys wearing fabulous clothes and nail polish, and settled into being happy as a feminine male. Instead he is told that hormones are what he needs, and urgently.


Any psychologist who tries to make a patient live in their desired gender role before administering sterilizing treatment should go to jail!

A month later, he’s taking puberty-suppressing drugs, but is still dissatisfied and wants estrogen:


And the commenters oblige, giving him links to guides for obtaining hormones without a prescription:


Then comes a rush of posts asking for advice on how to “pass” as female: (no direct links here to protect privacy, just screenshots of comments) Here is a commenter pushing him to get on hormones so he can become pretty.


After which he makes another post asking about estrogen:


More posts asking whether he passes, more commenters telling him that he needs to take HRT:


And now he starts to become depressed about his looks. The comments he is getting on his pictures, even the ones who tell him that he looks male, still tell him that he is cute, adorable, and rocking dresses and “girly” clothes. But because he has decided that only looking like a biological female is good enough, he still experiences distress. Like we have seen in a previous post on this blog, becoming determined to undergo radical changes to your body can make you feel worse about yourself, especially when your goals are unrealistic.

And then, not fully 3 months after first posting, he is starting hormone replacement therapy, and wants to know “how long estrogen takes to reshape your face“.


“OMFG I HAVE WAITED SO LONG”. Three months. This kid has waited THREE months from starting to question whether his love of nail polish as a 5 year old makes him “female”, to suppressing puberty and taking hormones that will sterilize him for the rest of his life. And he thinks these hormones will completely transform his face. What is going to happen to him when he realizes that actually becoming fully female is not possible? Instead of being happy as a boy who likes to be feminine and wear “girl” clothes, he is going down the road of obsessing over medical treatments.

Why drive a mercedes when you could be driving a bentley?” On inducing gender dysphoria

The story we so often hear is that trans people suffer from dysphoria: a feeling of anxiety and depression because of the physical sex of their bodies or some aspects of it. This dysphoria is often cited as the reason that any aspect of transgenderism cannot be questioned. Whether it’s questioning why one’s mind has to “match” ones body, whether it is right to give young kids puberty blockers or hormones, or whether people with intact penises should have access to female changing rooms and other sex-segregated facilities, it is always met with cries of how difficult life is for this marginalized group, so one better not ask any critical questions.

If you look closer, the view that dysphoria is a necessary part of being transgender is now largely seen as obsolete. The new rule is that anyone who wants to be trans, is trans. Anyone who wants to be a woman, is a woman. (There is not 100% agreement on this in the trans community, and often the ones who want dysphoria to be a criterion are called “truscum”)-

“If I don’t have dysphoria but still enjoy the idea of being a woman rather than a man, what does that make me?”, asks this poster.

The commenters tell him not to worry – if having a feminine body would make you pleased, then that is a valid reason to transition.


I never have any real dysphoria“, states another poster. That’s not a problem. If you feel trans, you’re trans.


If we accept this, then transgenderism is more along the lines of extreme body modification than anything else. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with getting body mods. Lots of people do, for various reasons. But is deciding to be trans actually making people happier? Let’s dig deeper.

“My dysphoria didn’t start until I started transition”, says yet another commenter, So much for transition being  the only cure to an otherwise incurable condition – apparently it can also be the cause of dysphoria.


Another person who triggered dysphoria by starting to transition:


Even more people chiming in talking about how transition actually caused them to have dysphoria:


Huh. It’s almost as it trying to completely change your body and self-perception in ways that are actually at odds with reality can make you feel worse, not better.

And sure enough, a couple of other commenters chime in. “If you don’t have dysphoria now, you will when you realize all the things about your body that prevent you from looking more female”.


Ans that’s the crux, isn’t it? Human beings can’t actually change sex.You can get body modifications that will make you look more similar to the opposite sex, and that might make other people think you are the opposite sex and treat you like the opposite sex. But if you have convinced yourself that you want to actually be the other sex, then that goal is bound  to cause distress.

Is it possible to be transgender without having gender dysphoria?“, asks yet another poster, and makes a car analogy:


Yet again commenters assure the poster that dysphoria will come….


…and that transition will make it worse:


When discussing transgenderism and its implications, people should inform themselves about what this phenomenon actually is. For some people it entails discomfort with their physical bodies, and sometimes quite acute distress. Some try to explain this distress by claiming to have been “born in the wrong body”, that they have “the brains of the opposite sex” or that their “body maps” are faulty. This is the interpretations of people suffering distress, and should be taken with a grain of salt (note: we are not saying that their distress isn’t real, but that their explanations of why they are distressed is not necessarily accurate). The truth is that no one knows what causes sex dysphoria.

For other transpeople, their “condition” is simply a desire for “boobs and smooth skin”. For many it has a strong sexual and fetishistic nature. For others it is rooted in jealousy.

What it is not, is a single phenomenon that is even close to being understood. And for some people, the “cure” is actually part of the problem.