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Old 04-21-2019, 06:56 PM #1
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Question The Cause of Gender Identity Dysphoria

Gender identity dysphoria is something I have struggled with all of my life. Some of my earliest memories in life (I don't have a lot) revolve around feeling that I should have been, wanted to be, a girl. I have sometimes described it as a compulsion. (I never did anything about it. For most of my life I didn't even realize there was anything I could do except hide it out of fear & embarrassment.) I know the current thinking with regard to GID suggests that it is caused by neurochemical imbalances in utero. And I'd dearly love to believe that. Because that would mean it wasn't merely some icky Freudian complex thing. But I have to admit I wonder.

I don't read the newspaper. But my wife does. There's a column in our local rag titled: "News of the Weird". And my wife was telling me, this morning, she read in that column about a man who believes he should have been born a dog. (I can only assume he is serious about it.) I don't know the details, but apparently he has organized his day-to-day life in such a way that he is able to spend as much of his time as possible presenting as a dog. This apparently includes several dog costumes he wears.

I recall, quite a few years ago now, watching a TV news magazine program (I think it was ABC's 20/20) where several individuals who had serious mental health issues were profiled. And I recall one of them was a man who said he always believed he should have been a double amputee (legs.) He apparently tried to find a surgeon who would amputate his legs. But, when he could not, he drove to a hospital, parked in their parking lot, packed his lower legs in dry ice until they froze, & then in some way or another got himself into the hospital where they had to amputate his legs. During the program, he was interviewed sitting in his wheelchair.

So does this mean that neurochemical imbalances in the brain could cause a person to identify as a dog... or as a double amputee? Does it call into question the idea that GID is the result of neurochemical imbalances in the brain? I don't know. And I guess it doesn't really matter to me in any practical way at this point. But even at this late stage in my life, I would still love to know where it all came from. What do you think?
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Old 04-21-2019, 10:44 PM #2
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Default Re: The Cause of Gender Identity Dysphoria

Well, I'm no scientist nor have I run or read about extensive studies, but I think it's hormones/DNA, at least for some. I was assigned female at birth but I've had excessive male hormones, to the point that I was coerced onto a treatment to lower them. Messing with my hormones messed with my gender identity and I became less masculine for a while...that's a bit of an over-simplification as part of becoming effeminate was a culturally thing as well. Anyway, I eventually got off of all hormonal birth control and after a few years, I've reverted back to a more masculine personality/mind. I imagine it's possible that I'm intersexed and they wouldn't know because the extra sex organs are internal. I don't know for sure, but it was like I was on testosterone in high school so I have to imagine that the extra hormones are coming from somewhere.

I just wouldn't be surprised if there weren't more intersexed people out there than realize it. Or at least there is something else that deviates the hormones etc. from "normal".

Also, I've noticed that I generally think like a male. When I read threads on here on gender-polarizing issues, I almost always understand/agree with the men's perspective and can't understand the women's. I also seem to fit into the male sexuality cliches, for whatever that's worth, like thinking about sex all the time and arousal being visual, that sort of thing.

I don't know how much of gender hasn't been forced upon me as people see me as a girl. There are a lot of peer and society pressures to remove all body hair, wear makeup, wear dresses, etc. Especially when I've dated a straight cis man. Couldn't be very masculine at all in that case. So am I more effeminate than if I grew up in a society that didn't care how I presented? I think it makes an impact too...

So to me, gender is probably heavily influenced by hormones and how much you're taken in by social conditioning.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:37 AM #3
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Default Re: The Cause of Gender Identity Dysphoria

After lurking around for a long time . I thought this was worth popping up for . Firstly you don't post threads , so this was of great importance to you . Nextly , I have no idea about how the chemical imbalance of the brain could work ...but...having been impressed by your constant empathy for others and your wise and caring comments to all .. if only we had all been cursed by the imbalance you have carried all your life , then the world would be a much better place . For what's it's worth , I think you are who you are because of how your made up , not due to any "icky Freudian thing" . I think you are unique and a beautiful soul .
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:02 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lanoe Hawker View Post
After lurking around for a long time . I thought this was worth popping up for . Firstly you don't post threads , so this was of great importance to you . Nextly , I have no idea about how the chemical imbalance of the brain could work ...but...having been impressed by your constant empathy for others and your wise and caring comments to all .. if only we had all been cursed by the imbalance you have carried all your life , then the world would be a much better place . For what's it's worth , I think you are who you are because of how your made up , not due to any "icky Freudian thing" . I think you are unique and a beautiful soul .
Thank you so much for these wonderfully kind words, Lanoe Hawker. (I have to admit I am left somewhat speechless.) You mentioned you've been lurking for a long time. However since this is your first post... welcome to Psych Central. I hope we'll be seeing more of you here on PC.
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Old 04-26-2019, 12:28 PM #5
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Default Re: The Cause of Gender Identity Dysphoria

You raised a really interesting and important topic Skeezyks. Although I do not live with GID, I would like to learn more because I am always drawn to supporting groups who are misunderstood or marginalized by society.

I have been really struck by how folks with GID often seem to be denied empathy by groups seeking empathy for themselves. For example, I recently heard a lesbian say that the LGBTQ term was offensive to her because she did not want trans folks to be grouped with gays and lesbians. I found that very strange. Yes, all folks in that group are individuals and should be treated as such....but surely a lesbian knows what it feels like to be misunderstood and marginalized by society....so why lack empathy for trans folks?? She said some very unkind things about trans folks.

I've also read that there is a subgroup of feminists who are weighing in on the trans bathroom issue in ways I find objectionable. A while ago, I read posts on PC from trans folks who struggle with the bathroom issue and I found their posts heartbreaking. Such a simple need....to use a toilet....causing so much fear and suffering. The suicide rate in the trans community is a huge indicator of a need for all of us to do better with how we relate to those folks. We can and should do better to include everyone.

What's my point? I don't know why some people are gay or have GID and some don't and I'm not sure it matters as much as how we respond to them. Though, it could be argued that perhaps there would be more empathy if the general public learned more and better understood these groups. That said, it seems perfectly natural to me that someone living with GID would have a desire to know what triggered it. I've lived with chronic depression my whole life and I have a hunch that my "Why?" will never stop. Though I am not trying to liken GID to depression, just giving an example from my own struggles.

***Please note that I am a cis woman (I think that's the right term) and I apologize in advance if anything I have said here is not helpful or unwittingly offensive to anyone in the communities I mentioned. I come to these topics from a place of curiosity and empathy but I don't always know the right words to use...it's just not so familiar to me...if that makes sense. I could only imagine what it feels like to live in this world with GID since that has not been my experience. What is very familiar to me though is feeling like a freak, like I don't belong, like my brain doesn't fit with the world I live in or the people around me. Peace to all.

Last edited by SilverTrees; 04-26-2019 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 04-26-2019, 12:29 PM #6
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Default Re: The Cause of Gender Identity Dysphoria

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lanoe Hawker View Post
After lurking around for a long time . I thought this was worth popping up for . Firstly you don't post threads , so this was of great importance to you . Nextly , I have no idea about how the chemical imbalance of the brain could work ...but...having been impressed by your constant empathy for others and your wise and caring comments to all .. if only we had all been cursed by the imbalance you have carried all your life , then the world would be a much better place . For what's it's worth , I think you are who you are because of how your made up , not due to any "icky Freudian thing" . I think you are unique and a beautiful soul .
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Old 04-27-2019, 02:18 AM #7
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Default Re: The Cause of Gender Identity Dysphoria

Hi Skeezyks
So proud and happy and astonished to see you stepping out of the closet!!! My heart feels bigger this morning.
Shame is such a burden, and when I let go of it even a little - phew, usually what I'm ashamed about is only an issue for myself.
I wish you joy celebrating who you are however you chose to define that!
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