How dysphoria manifests differently for each of us

Content Warning/Trigger Warning: Gender Dysphoria

Dysphoria is a word I hear every single day in the trans community. It’s something we all face yet many of us hide from it in any way we can possibly muster. I myself often avoid discussing my own gender dysphoria. It’s a difficult topic to discuss without triggering others.

There are a lot of things that cause me dysphoria. For starters my hair. I have been working hard to grow my hair out because of the dysphoria I get from looking at my short haired pre-transition photos. Nothing brings me more pain than the stab in the chest I get from stumbling across a photo of deadname and that ugly short hair. I recently found some early transition photos of myself. To my shock I discovered I was cuter when my hair was shorter than it is now. I have toyed with the idea of cutting it shorter while giving my natural curls a boost. What stops me from doing this? Dysphoria! I fear if I cut my hair just the act of taking scissors to my long hairs will trigger terrible feelings within me. So instead of doing fun, cute things with my hair I keep it growing ever longer because I am paralyzed by dysphoria.

Another area I feel tremendous dysphoria is jeans. I loathe denim in all it’s incarnations. I know it is irrational. I know many women cis and trans gender all enjoy wearing denim. Heck my girlfriend rocks a solid pair of jeans and she is hot as hell. Yet for me it is a cause of discomfort. I cannot bring myself to wear denim in any form. I have carried this hatred of the fabric over into other walks of my life. I am so anti denim that I find myself angrily rejecting professional wrestlers I see wearing the stuff in the ring. The ironic thing is I only cringe at seeing the male wrestlers who wear denim. I actually love seeing female wrestlers sporting the fabric in all it’s varieties. Go figure once again dysphoria triggers me in yet another irrational way.

A cousin to my denim phobia is my aversion to wearing t-shirts. Again I know women wear t-shirts including men cut styles. It’s not a matter of gender expression rather a reminder of the person I had to pretend to be for so long. THE RAT, the closest I ever come to speaking deadname’s moniker, wore nothing but t-shirts, button down dress shirts and flannel. Oddly enough I have no dysphoria when it comes to flannel and there is one denim outfit I rock enthusiastically, my country girl style overall shorts. What can I saw the country girl in me sometimes wins out.

I won’t go into the details on all things that cause me discomfort via dysphoria or all those that trigger me. It goes without saying things like makeup, facial hair, genitals, breasts, face shape, butt, thighs, body shape, arm hair, body odor, finger nails, feet and so much more in fact cause me tremendous dysphoria. I have learned to hide some of it, suppress much of it and ignore the rest of it. In other words I don’t let it manifest visibly most of the time except in a few cases such as denim and my hair the two most triggering topics for me.

I don’t like to discuss dysphoria because I know how triggering it can be for other trans, nonbinary, genderfluid and gender nonconforming individuals. I go out of my way to avoid sharing tweets or others posts that might trigger another’s dysphoria. I sometimes fail at this but I do make an effort.

The moral of the story is just because a trans person doesn’t show visible signs of dysphoria related discomfort doesn’t mean she isn’t crying inside. We all need to remember to respect one another’s boundaries including the unseen or even unspoken ones we all face.

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Stephanie Bri

A transgender writer who also does podcasts and videos. If you like my writing please consider helping me survive. You can support me directly by giving money to my paypal: If you prefer CashApp my handle is @Stephaniebri22. Also feel free to donate to my Patreon. I know it's largely podcast-centric but every little bit helps. Find it by going to, Thank you.