Sex, not gender - it rolls off the tongue quite easily, dont it?
Somehow it dont work so well the other way round - gender, not sex. It is, of course, something very often said by gender-critical. Indeed many of them claim they "dont have a gender." These people are in denial, though - for them, sex and gender are the same. They look like a woman; they have the 'correct' genitals for a woman; they sound like a woman; they feel like a woman. Same too for gender-crit men.
Like a jigsaw, everything "fits."
Except life is not like that - the perfect human being does not exist. Sometimes things go pear-shaped, and concerning sex and gender, if they don't match that can often only mean one result - gender dysphoria.
But what is the true definition of gender dysphoria?
Academics have, of course, studied it for decades. People like myself have been analysed and in the past considered mentally ill - and gender dysphoria, meaning unhappy with your sex assigned at birth, can mean many things to other people. And to get answers, who better than ask than people who have suffered in the past gender dysphoria.
Trans folks - we are experts in gender dysphoria - you often are experts of something when you are that something. So one quick tweet and the answers were laid bare for me. The tweet read:
Trans folks, can you describe gender dysphoria in three words or less? Mine? - jealousy, pain, desperation.
And the replies came back quick and fast. When I last looked, the tweet was retweeted, often with quotes 52 times; I had 152 likes and a fantastic 135 replies with my wonderful community, giving their opinion on precisely what is gender dysphoria.
The top four replies were - wrongness, jealousy, pain and desperation, so I had experienced three out of the four top answers. In short, I would moot that I am a typical transgender person. And I would go further. Wrongness and jealousy are pretty similar emotions when there are only two options of male and female. Indeed, when I was wearing men's clothes suddenly to put on a dress or skirt, my whole persona changed - it just felt RIGHT! I was jealous of cis-gendered women.
I KNEW immediately men's clothes were wrong.
It is not even that the womens garments may have fitted well - after all, I was a tall, slender man. Not 'thin as a rake' as my dad would have said, but certainly a bit 'lanky.' Over time, age and hormones have changed my height and figure, and for sure, hormones are the key to many trans peoples problems. But to get them from our doctors, trans people still have a huge fight. We are forced to justify our gender dysphoria with our definition - our lives under the microscope from an unwanted gatekeeper.
Other top replies included self-hate, sadness, fear, frustration, disgust, depression, confusion, anxiety and not surprisingly anger.
Anger - why me?
I occasionally think that - even though I have transitioned.
Also included were the words - trapped, loathing, undesirable, hopelessness and despair. One very passionate tweet that stuck in my mind was the word "homesickness." I thought that was so beautiful - it took away all the negatives of hate, disgust and loathing, replacing it with such a gentle, loving word.
Another word that struck chords with me was "mirror."
A word that the gender-critical will not relate to - taken as an everyday object that one looks into seeking a reflection of ones face or body. Except that trans people see a different reflection - the wrong reflection. We see unhappiness, cruelty and disgust. We see something that is inherently wrong.
Something we want to - no must - reject.
And perhaps the saddest thing is we are born this way. The gender-critical do not accept that either. They argue that kids can be confused and can make mistakes - and for sure, mistakes are made. But not many - not many at all.
The vast majority of kids know who they are.
Most of us knew at a very early age; five or six must be the most common ages we knew we were "different." We did not know the words "trans" or "transgender", but we were damn sure things were not right. As a boy, I wanted to be a girl, do girl things, dress like a girl, and, yes, in later life, be a mum.
Instead, I was that thing with a penis - the last to be picked for the boy's football team - because I played like a girl.
And back in the 1950s and 60s, there was no help, my information came from agony aunts columns in Sunday newspapers. It is so different for the kids today, thank God.
And the trans kids of today only want one thing. Be happy.
They want and need puberty blockers and hormones - they want to be themselves. They may often need to transition. Go on a long, painful and, yes, sometimes difficult journey that the gender-critical have not the faintest idea what it is like - yet in 'their superiority' tell kids and their parents - not the gender crits kids I hasten to add - how to live their lives.
To reach eutopia - transition and all the fruit that transition brings.
Some trans folks told me what transition meant to them.
Calm, content, complete, fabulous, yes, happy - and from the lovely Finn, one of my Twitter followers, these precious words
"Life has opened up in beautiful ways. Transition really does save lives."
Indeed Finn - indeed.