So after I wrote my last post on the difference between being dysphoric and trans*, I went on search of feedback. I posted my blog around to a few people and found that some thought I wasn’t addressing non-binary people at all. I disagree, I definitely addressed them, although they weren’t really bought into focus at all. But if you read between the lines, non-binary people are definitely included in that post.
There was also a video by Shoe0nHead which had special guest star Blaire White commenting on a few things. I feel they presented an over-simplified argument, where they sacrificed nuance for witty banter, using cherry picked examples. Which is fine, that’s their style and that’s okay, I just wanted to fill in the gaps as it were.
So I figured I should do a quick follow up to explain how and why non-binary people can also fit into the medically accepted idea of gender dysphoria. As I said in my last post, gender dysphoria is what makes people dysphorics and is a medically recognised condition. It presents a set of symptoms which lead to the diagnosis, a list of the diagnostic symptoms can be found in the previous post. Typically this will mean the person will begin transitioning their gender presentation to make them more comfortable.
Non-binary fit all of the above qualities. Some suffer dysphoria, and they do take steps to transition to a more comfortable state of being. To your typical dysphoric this means embracing your gender with your presentation, to people who identify as non-binary, this means rejecting gender presentation. The key point being that we both suffer the same medical condition, we just handle it differently. This is part of what I meant in the previous blog post when I spoke about how enforced genital reassignment had been dropped to allow dysphoric people more agency over their bodies. This applies to non-binary people too.
I guess the best way to think of it is like a flu. The flu is a virus, if I get it I may decide to eat spicy chicken soup. If you get it, you might decide to load yourself up with flu medication. We both have different ways of dealing with the same condition, but its still the same condition through and through. This is what the relaxing of the regulations surrounding gender dysphoria ultimately comes down to. They allow people to make a choice on how they deal with their condition that they’re going to be living with for the rest of their lives. That’s a great thing.
The problem is that like with Shoe0nHead’s video, there are a lot of people who are using the non-binary label who don’t actually suffer from dysphoria. They are not people I would include in my idea of dysphorics. Whereas people who identify as non-binary, but suffer the same medical condition, gender dysphoria, most definitely are dysphorics too. It’s just that they choose to handle it differently.
Its a massive over generalisation to group all non-binary people into the transtrender category, when a lot of them do suffer legitimate dysphoria. These particular ones are as dysphoric as any typical male to female or female to male with gender dysphoria- they’ve just chosen a different path towards comfort. Though just like with trans, their label has been co-opted by people who don’t fit the original definition, and I’d argue that either the trans* non-binary, or the dysphoric non-binary people need to change label to avoid confusion.