Despite the various ideas of where scientists think may cause gender dysphoria, here is my anecdote. My brain believes my body should be male, despite being gynecological. The biggest cause of physical dysphoria after my chest was both my reproductive organs and genitalia.
I went for what should’ve been bottom surgery four years ago today. Messed up, oversized ovaries prevented my surgeon from performing any kind of reconstruction after my gynecological organs were removed. Too much blood loss. A follow-up and a second opinion recommended that getting metoidioplasty wouldn’t work because I didn’t have enough “growth”.
This would be the start of some much-needed emotional growth and maturity. It would take a very, very long time to content myself with living with a vagina.
Up until recently, I was a staunch transmedicalist. In order to be “trans”, you would medically transition and do everything possible to transition medically. No insurance? Get a (potentially secondary) job whose insurance did cover trans healthcare. No funds? Get a second (even third) job, move in with roommates, forgo milestones and luxuries, do whatever necessary to save up. Parents won’t support you? Move out and live with friends who do. Didn’t want surgery, or at least surgery? I saw you as a “trans-trender”. Any “excuse” other trans people had that was a hurdle to getting hormones and surgery, I thought I had an answer for.
As with many fundamentalists, I had a black-or-white view of things; because I couldn’t live up to those standards, I made myself an exception. Trans men often couldn’t get phalloplasty or metoidioplasty because the medical procedures weren’t as “advanced” or as “complete” as to what trans women had. Trans men just needed at least their chests and reproductive organs removed, but trans women needed their penises removed to be “women”. I was “okay” with the trans friends I knew who didn’t or couldn’t transition yet at that time, we had other things in common, I just didn’t think they were as “valid” but I learned to keep my mouth shut around more “progressive” members of our community.
Meanwhile, dealing with people who will insist I will never be “man enough” until I get phalloplasty, even if what the best anything can offer is still a hanging meatsack that functions little, if at all, like a congenital penis.
I went so far as to call myself transsexual and made a hard distinction between that and transgender, and even said at times they were “different” communities, and that being transgender was a “cult”, because anyone with differing opinions were ostracized.
I still don’t know what made me finally open up my mind to just finally live and let live. To rather build bridges, instead of build walls.
Sometimes I still think about going back to my surgeon and getting things done. I have the savings, the health insurance, the ability to claim short-term disability to live off of as I cover. I just don’t want to give up plumbing that works alright, for something with a high medical complication rate, and won’t work as well as the real deal.
My body will never fully heal at this point. My mindset has.