Originally, I intended to write this post a part of my “Soul Searching” series (posts where I transform my original videos into writing, you can find the introduction here). However, I think this is a very important topic and one that a lot of gender nonconforming people deal with. When I started recording my vlog in August, 2015, one of the questions on my mind was: “Am I gender nonconforming because of my bad experiences”.
This sadly is a quite widespread idea. I can´t tell you how many times I´ve watched some popular sitcom (Friends, Two and a Half Men, and others), and be struck by the times that transgenderism was linked to the idea that the person in question went through some kind of horrible trauma. No idea how pervasive this is in the newer sitcoms (feel free to leave your thoughts!), but the good news is that we´ve come a long way since.
The diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder has made way for the far more friendly Gender Dysphoria in the DSM-IV, and research has made some progress, suggesting that the discordance between the brain and the body (felt gender and physical gender) can start as early as in the womb. It follows that childhood trauma is not a recipe for gender dysphoria. But, it can surely play into it? And maybe even pose as dysphoria?
That exact question, particularly the last one, was bugging me in August. When you´ve been through on ordeal that has a big influence on your adult life, it´s easy to start explaining every strange thing in the light of a bad childhood. It makes you wonder whether in reality you have no gender dysphoria and it´s all just a reaction to the crap they made go you through, especially if it was sexual in nature.
For me, there certainly was a link between dysphoria and bad experiences, because in those experiences, my body had been the object of a constant struggle for power. There had been no respect for my identity or my rights to even have an identity – in a way, my individuality was being replaced with some bullshit about how my existence was mostly a horrible burden for other people and my parents.
In this light it becomes easy to see how a young mind and young body are susceptible to invasion (i.e brainwashing) and how this can be linked to the body especially when some form of (sexual) assault is involved. Female-bodied individuals might symbolically (though not necessarily in real life) be more susceptible to such invasion and as a result have a complex of shame about their own body.
Part two can be found here.