ForumTouchy Subjects ► Do People Need Dysphoria to be Transgender?
(I realize this is a very controversial topic, but feel free to voice your own opinions)
(Also, by dysphoria, I meant gender dysphoria)
I won't say "people need it to be trans" cuz that's gatekeeping I think
I'd just like to understand how someone would know they're trans if they also say they don't have dysphoria. That's a big part of being trans right? so.... how else would they know if they don't have dysphoria???
From what I've seen, it's through the opposite - gender euphoria. You may not feel awful as a boy, but something about being called a girl just feels incredible and right. Knowing that it's an option, you'd much rather be a girl.
Honestly, gender euphoria and dysphoria seem like two sides of the same coin to me. It seems to me that if it feels good to be treated as a different gender, then your assigned gender would feel at least somewhat bad just by comparison. Euphoria just seems like a different way of looking at perhaps a more mild or subdued dysphoria.

And I think when people say you need dysphoria to be trans, it’s less about saying “oh I had it way worse than you so you’re not a real trans person” and more about how there must be something on some level that you’re uncomfortable with that motivates you to transition. I don’t think people really mean that you need to have awful dysphoria to be trans, just that you need some level of dysphoria to be trans.
You don't have to be uncomfortable with one thing in order to prefer a different thing. For example, I don't mind eating pancakes. They are pretty good, and I do enjoy them. However, I like waffles MUCH more than I like pancakes, and I would take waffles over pancakes literally any day. Doesn't mean I'm uncomfortable or don't like pancakes, just means that waffles are better for me personally.
I feel like I have so much to say about this and the topic of gender as a whole, but a forum post really is not the place for me to do this. I'm much better at communicating ideas through discussions with a lot of real-time back-and-forth. I guess I'll just give my thoughts on the question, distilled as much as I can.

Do people need dysphoria to be trans? No, but transitioning for anyone is a risk/reward situation. If someone does not have a good reason, they should not transition.
I find the question "do you need dysphoria to be trans" mostly unintelligible without the context in which it was originally framed.

As far as I can tell, this argument sprang up sometime in the last decade or so, and was closely connected to the "truscum/tucute" hell-discourse on tumblr. At least, that's the first time I saw this phrasing, the argument itself appears cyclically and goes back at least to the 70's.

Some people were concerned about a growing number of "transtrenders" - people who were transitioning just because it was the cool thing to do. Many of these people identified as transmedicalists, a view which is roughly "Being trans is a diagnosable medical problem and the correct solution is HRT through approved medical channels." As such, they felt that people who were transitioning "for fun" were:
A) Not really trans, as they presumably didn't meet diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria
B) Harming trans people's struggle for legitimacy in the cis community
C) Somehow stealing hormones from trans people who deserved them (?????)
D) Making a mockery out of the struggles that trans people face

This group self-identified as "truscum" (related to the phrases "true transsexual" and "die cis scum"), and generally did their best to harass anyone who they thought wasn't "trans enough." A popular slogan was "you need gender dysphoria to be trans," which was generally focused entirely on the person's acceptance of their own body. A trans man who liked his breasts, or a trans woman who liked her dick, or any person who was any flavor of nonbinary, clearly didn't experience dysphoria in the narrow way truscum identified it. Therefore, these deviants were "transtrenders" and should be chased out of the trans community.

In the unlikely case that my bias didn't show through in the above, I am not a fan of gatekeeping in any form.

What is the point of saying "you need dysphoria to be trans" other than the corollary of "If you don't have dysphoria, you are not trans?" Further, there is an implicit argument that "If you are not trans, you should not transition."

Wanting to transition means that you should transition. It's your choice, and anyone who doesn't respect your decision doesn't matter.
Devil's advocate: sometimes people want to do things that are harmful to themselves.
Sure. Transition clearly isn't uniformly bad, and I think generally we should trust people to make decisions about themselves.

For example, moving across the country for a job is a big decision, but we don't have people passionately saying "you must meet this list of criteria in order to move otherwise you're making us look bad."

Transition regret rates are super low, like 1-3%, way below things like "buying a home" or "having kids" or "getting a tattoo."

And if you decide you don't want to be trans anymore, it's easy to simply stop taking hormones and dig your old clothes out of your closet. The conversation "hey guys actually I'm not trans anymore" is a little tricky, but not a big deal in the scheme of things.
Fwip said:
And if you decide you don't want to be trans anymore, it's easy to simply stop taking hormones and dig your old clothes out of your closet. The conversation "hey guys actually I'm not trans anymore" is a little tricky, but not a big deal in the scheme of things.

I'm no expert on this topic, so correct me if I'm wrong, but don't some people undergo surgery or other forms of bodily changes that are harder to reverse? Not putting this as a counter-argument to your post, but just pointing out that there may be other complications.
They do, that's true. I think nearly all surgeons in the US require at least a year of hormones & living "fulltime" as your desired gender, as well as letters from approval from two medical professionals. People in Europe often face much longer wait-times for surgery. So if you're not trans, generally you figure it out well before you get to that point.

It is of course possible to go overseas to places like Thailand to get it done without gatekeeping, but generally people are pretty dang sure at that point. It's quite a commitment (several weeks of convalescence, $10k-$20k for total costs, not covered by your insurance).

P.S: There is a lot of misinformation floating around out there about transgender regret or "desistance" - often these numbers come from real studies, but are deliberately misinterpreted. For example, trans people are more likely to commit suicide after GRS than the general population. However, they're much more likely to commit suicide before GRS than after. Similarly, a study found that 92% of trans people are at least "mostly satisfied" with their surgical results - but some people say that this means 8% regret transitioning.
I would not recommend getting surgery. this can't be taken back and is you change your mind then you are kinda screwed
"it can't be taken back"

Yeah, and you could say the same thing about staying your birthed sex for your whole life, too.

How about you let the people make their own decisions rather than trying to meddle in affairs you obviously don't understand. Either option requires extensive thought and risks no matter what. Let the person be the judge of their own risks and stop pushing people into a decision they might regret for the rest of their life just because you are afraid of their existence.
TheDave said:
stop pushing people into a decision they might regret for the rest of their life just because you are afraid of their existence.

That escalated quickly. Can we just assume that the people who post in this thread aren't necessarily being transphobic? The veil of the internet makes it hard for your words to come out right, I'm sure that they didn't mean it as "Trans people shouldn't have surgery". I think what they were trying to say is that you should avoid surgery until you are absolutely sure you want to transition, though I can't fully speak for them.
Thank you for not feeding the troll.
Can't tell if that's sarcastic or not, refer to the aforementioned "Internet Veil"
It works as intended either way you read it.
Forum > Touchy Subjects > Do People Need Dysphoria to be Transgender?