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Yes, Transition Is the Best Treatment for Gender Dysphoria

Mila Madison discusses how transition has affected her experience with dysphoria in “The Weekly Rant”.

I still remember the moment it all clicked for me. It was when I finally admitted to myself that I was transgender. It was from that very moment my journey began. I would begin to understand that this was something that had been with me my entire life. I learned about gender dysphoria, yes, that was the name for this debilitating condition that had always affected everything I ever did. It was the reason that I didn’t recognize the person who was staring back at me in the mirror. It was the reason that I always ended up destroying everything I ever did in my life. To put it simply, though my body had been present in everything I had experienced in my life to that point, I was never truly there. Not as me, the real me.

Despite all the revelations that occur at the moment of acceptance, there are still intense periods of fear and doubt. You let the notions of an ignorant society creep in. It happens. We all fight through them, but sometimes it almost impossible to do. I would learn that the best treatment for dysphoria was to transition. Up to that point, transition was only a dream, a reality I could never achieve. I didn’t see it as a real possibility. There was no way the world would be able to see me as a woman, especially since I couldn’t actually see it myself. Years of testosterone made it impossible as far as I was concerned. There was no way to undo all the masculine features I saw in the mirror. The prominent jaw line, that masculine nose, and my hairline. They were all daily reminders that I would never be able to truly see the person who I should have been.

"EVEN WITH ALL THE IMPOSSIBILITIES THAT WERE IN MY WAY, I WAS DETERMINED TO TRY."

Even with all the impossibilities that were in my way, I was determined to try. Perhaps with the right gas in my brain, estrogen, I could think clearly enough to figure out how to deal with all this with a level head. I began hormone therapy, and in time I was able see things clearly. If nothing else came out of it, at least I had that. I started to feel right. It helped me to realize that transitioning was the best course of action for me, even if I would never be able to realize all that I had hoped and dreamed for.

Now I was fully committed to transitioning. There were all these wonderful first time moments. There were also bouts of devastating dysphoria. I remember thinking that my dysphoria was getting worse after I started to transition. Some of those masculine features bothered me even more now that I was presenting female. There were so many times that I thought about giving up, but I kept pressing on. I would later realize that my episodes of dysphoria seemed worse because the weren’t always present. Before transition, dysphoria had been a constant, now it was coming and going.

For me, transition meant hormones, and presenting as my true self. It took time to get to a point where I could even walk out the door as myself. I would learn how to lessen the effects of dysphoria through the use of makeup and finding clothes that made me look more feminine. It is amazing what good contour could do for a hairline or a prominent jaw. I began to see myself more and more as time went on. Eventually the hormones would begin to soften things up. My body began to change. I was starting to see the woman I was meant to be. The amount of time between those bouts of dysphoria would grow fewer and further between.

"NO MATTER HOW FAR I GOT IN MY TRANSITION, THERE WERE STILL DOUBTS."

No matter how far I got in my transition, there were still doubts. I would still let society creep in from time to time. I still have my bouts of dysphoria, but it is nothing like it used to be. Now there are more days when I see myself staring back in the mirror. Things just look right. I now have moments where I finally realize that I do have this thing called gender dysphoria. It is a moment of clarity in the mirror when I know without a doubt I am really am transgender. I realize that transition does work. I now have moments when I can’t believe I actually did it. I look in the mirror and I freeze for a second. There I finally am, not yet perfect and still with a long way to go, but there nevertheless. I never thought it possible.

Transition can mean a lot of different things for many different people. It can mean hormone therapy or surgery; it could be neither of those. It could be just presenting as the gender you were meant to be. It could be simply just accepting the fact that you are transgender and doing nothing further. You may realize that your gender is not static, that it is fluid and ever changing. You may find that you just do not fit within society’s notion of the gender binary. Wherever you find yourself in transition, it is all valid.

There is no doubt in my mind that in my case, transition was the best prescription for my dysphoria. Though I still experience It at times, it is nothing like it was before. Every day it just gets better. I am not sure if there will ever be a time in my life where I no longer experience it, but I am determined to keep going and find out. Though I am still amazed and often wonder how I got here, I realize that this is the best thing I ever did for myself. In the end it kept me alive. I am living proof that transition does work, and that it doesn’t matter how old you are or how impossible it may seem. As far as transition regrets go, I only have one, and it is that I waited so long to finally do it.

It never ceases to amaze me how much I identify with almost every story you write. Though there are of course some differences in our backgrounds I constantly go in to head nodding mode, “yeah, that was me, I remember doing/thinking that”. Thank you for sharing these wonderfully meaningful stories. I’m 62 and only been out 2+ years. A life saving decision to address my true self.

Thank you Gabi. I am glad you are able to identify with it. We are all sisters. The situations and the people involved may be different, but the narrative is often the same. I am so glad to hear that you found your truth. Love and peace. - Mila

My package may not be pretty, the bow a little askew. But underneath the 61 years of living a lie and 4 years of living my truth is a happy, vibrant soul.

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