Guestposts

Jemima: Gender Dysphoria

This guestpost really means a lot to me, which is why I want you all to read it and please share! This amazing human is one of my best friends. It’s crazy how much you can love someone you never even met personally (though I know we will soon, probably this year). I met Benji when he was still Benji (still Benji in my phone too, I really ought to change that). Now here is Jemima, a gem of a person, a true source of happiness in my life and someone I can always rely on for a good conversation or some nice girltalk. She is amazing because she shows me everytime how important it is to be true to yourself and to love the life you have. I love this human and I know you will too.

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Well, hello there!

My name is Jemima, when I first met Lianne, I was Benjamin. So safe to say she has seen a few changes. We connected on instagram as mutual appreciators of the Spoon theory. But most importantly Lianne introduced me to Pretty Little Liars!!! If that isn’t the basis of a great friendship i do not know what is. It is an absolute pleasure to write this blog to share with your readers.

So, recently on Tinder I had someone ask me to define transgender, while my instant reaction was to say “oh, just a phase!”. Fortunately I set my usual snark to one side. Instead I replied with the following:

So dysphoria for me was the question, the uncertainty of my own gender.

gender dysphoria
noun
MEDICINE
noun: gender dysphoria

the condition of feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one’s biological sex.

During last summer my mind was made up, my decision had been made, but I was stuck. Ironically I had just finished a 2 year course of psychotherapy, where I was  taught to discuss and express my feelings out loud. However I was internalising this as I simply didn’t know how to express what I was sure of.

I was born in 1982 and from that moment I was given a title, a marker, that would stay with me throughout my life. Based upon the layout of my physical appearance and nothing else, it was decided that I was a little baby boy. We grow up then in a world where people repeatedly state that we should not be judged on our appearance; yet we are instantly male or female based on nothing more than appearance and a chromosome.

I am fortunate to live in a time, where we have an understanding of ourselves much further beyond  a simple acceptance of what we have always been told. Living in an age where science has progressed to help us beyond the basics of what we expect. I can now be medicated and have surgery to fully change my gender. I am allowed by human progression to live the life that makes me happy.

I have lived the past 9 years suffering from a physical condition called CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) and also I have lived with depression, anxiety and DPD (dissociative personality disorder) So i have had quite a lot of experience being trapped within the confines of my own mind. Even after physcotherapy, when I classed myself in remission from my mental conditions, i felt wrong. I put this down to the symptoms I experienced with my DPD.

A Few things transpired to educate and inspire, I forget the exact chronology; Jordan from Axis of Awesome coming out, The Netflix show Sense8 and the Wachowski’s transitions, and finally another Netflix show, Orange is the New Black, especially the performance of Laverne Cox. Mostly, I had be given the skills from my therapy to analyse myself and understand what makes me happy. I was suddenly seeing an answer to many of my own questions, being presented proudly and publicly. I began reading more transgender orientated news and forums based on the inspiration of these events. I found an answer to a question i had always struggled with.

Who Am I?

I am Jemima, as of writing this, i am a 34 year old woman, living with disabilities in the middle of England. I am focused on happiness and what makes others happy. I have become both selfish and selfless to find my own smile.

Who was I?

I was Benjamin, who lived 34 years pretending to be “him” I lived in pain and frustrations, which exacerbated my physical pain. I was alive, but i wasn’t living, I felt devoid of purpose and hope, I was hidden behind a mask of facial hair.

I grew up in a state of confusion, I saw my mother, the strongest person i know, told she wasn’t as strong as men. Yet I only saw a woman I emulated and aspired to become. Women were the glue, the strength underappreciated, the watchers on the wall….oh no that’s the other thing. I read comics like the X Men, yes the irony is not lost on me, but i learned that there is always more we don’t know, and while we might not like change, how we adapt to change is how we progress and become better.

I identified as a feminine, all the things I was told were “girly” were more exciting to me.

During college, I came out as bisexual, thinking that my sexualty was the explanation to what I know see as early gender confusion. I prefered to go out to rock clubs, and often would be fully dress as a woman. It was acceptable and never questioned as I felt comfortable, perhaps had I seen more about transgender in public eye, I might have asked questions earlier.  Then there was a pressure that I think we all experience, To be a grown up, to be sensible and stop expressings ourselves. 22 years old and never having questioned my gender I quietly accepted my path towards becoming a grown man.  My health then conspired to bury any hope of questioning who I was.

Coming out

I found my voice, and inside i felt free. I knew what needed to happen in my life. It happened to coincide with the end of my 10 year relationship. I figure let’s adapt to all the change at the same time.

I woke up to a life of positivity and confidence.

I had made conversation with the idea to a few, mostly strangers actually. The more i spoke about it, the more right it felt. I was fortunate to have a check up with my Psychiatrist, and approached the idea to him, he was unsure, but suggested I shave my beard and contact local LGBT charity. This gave me the confidence to tell my parents. They reacted with support, but due to my disability and recent end to my relationship, they wanted to focus on my well being before they wanted to discuss it openly. Because of this I limited those whom I told to give them the respect they deserved. In my mind they raised a son for 34 years and they are entitled to grieve and mourn the loss of that, I will not pressure them with local gossip and shoving it down their throats. I want them to organically learn and understand much the same way I did.

I wanted to announce in some way, I had been blogging for a few months and had made some great friends and I wanted to share this with them. So i made private social media accounts to reconnect with friends as myself, this included my coming out blog post.

I felt free, i had openly admitted myself, I almost was blind to the reaction purely because of the rush of endorphins from the excitement. I now find myself thrilled to discuss my gender change publically.

I am on a waiting list for a gender clinic, I will then be placed on HRT and testosterone blockers, eventually i will has SRS (sexual reassignment surgery). While I already know I am a woman, I want to also live in the body of the woman I feel inside. That is my current journey and like every moment that has brought me to this point, I am eagerly anticipating a great time.

Please feel free to find me on Instagram to join my journey.

Do you have any experience with Gender Dysphoria you want to share or questions you’d like to ask? Please feel free to do so!

Related posts:
Bookreview on How To Be Sick by Toni Bernhard
Bookreview on The Happiness Project
You Know You’re a Spoonie When…

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1 Comment

  1. Natalie

    I am so proud of you for telling your story! And I am so excited to be able to read your guest blog post. I know there will be many more to come !! Your IG spoonie friend @thechristianspoonie (Natalie)

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