One of my enduring challenges is explaining how it feels to be gender dysphoric (i.e. having one’s physical sex at odds one’s gender identity) to non-trans people.This happens an awful lot – probably a lot more than you think – during the transition process.
Whether you’re asked to justify your decision to transition in a hostile manner, or asked sympathetically to explain so friends can understand, you’re put in a situation not unlike trying to describe color to the blind. I experience gender dysphoria all day every day, and I’m talking to people who have no experience of it at all. How do you bridge that divide?
Lisa Harney takes a direct approach in a post called succinctly: Pain.
What it is like is pain. It is the pain of having your skin wrapped badly around your body, fitting awkwardly at best. Reminding you that everything is wrong whenever you move, whenever you go to the toilet, whenever you undress, whenever you shower, whenever you wake up, whenever you go to bed, whenever you see a mirror. It is a constant pain. Everything reminds you of it – the pronouns others use for you, the name others use for you. The clothes you wear.
It’s like living in a world where everything is made of sandpaper and it’s always grinding into your skin – your skin that does not fit your body.
You know what your body should be like, should look like. That you have parts you should not and do not have parts that you should. Your body does not behave like it should, move like it should, smell like it should. Your skin is the wrong texture. Puberty changes your body in ways that alienate you further from your own ill-fitting skin. Your voice is wrong, your face is wrong, your chest is wrong, body hair and facial hair are wrong. Some of your internal organs are wrong. In some ways, your skeleton is wrong.
This is one of those cases where I want to quote the entire piece because every single word resonates for me. But that would be rude, so please click over to read the rest.