Gender dysphoria is loosely defined as discontent or distress with one´s biological sex. People who are defined as ´cis´ (latin for “on this side of“) usually have trouble understanding this feeling, and I in turn have trouble understanding that it would be possible not to feel dysphoric about one´s body. However “gender dysphoria” is not at all a description of how all trans* identified people feel.
As with everything, there aren´t any static categories where you either have no discomfort or you have extreme discomfort – and then again the discomfort felt can vary depending on the mood people are in, on the day, on hormone levels, and how they relate to different parts of their body. Some might be more dysphoric about things “up here” than “down there”, some might be uneasy about their hair, or face, hands, etcetera.
It´s difficult to explain dysphoria to the outside world. To me, it feels very constrictive. The body becomes a little birdcage which is too small to contain my identity, and does not express it, but I am forced to live in it because I can´t just levitate out and inhabit someone else (how spooky would that be). It causes extreme anxiety and will make any trans* person resort to measures to at least ease it a little bit (like wearing a binder).
I started binding three years ago, even though I didn´t understand why. Most of my life I´ve felt very uneasy about the gendered compisition of my body – I hated intimacy to a certain extent – but at this point in time I had come to think of myself as the naturally shattered product of a shitty past, and so everything that didn´t feel right was explained in this light.
The kind of tragic way of thinking I inherited from years of trying to “fix” my attitude towards life is painful in its own way and completely blinded me to any other possible explanations. It wasn´t until 2015, when I was faced with the term “gender dysphoria” that my aversion towards certain attributes of my body finally made sense. I am looking forward to physical change.