Graduation and Dysphoria

This morning as I was dressing for my graduation, I was planning to wear the same clothes that I got about a week and a half ago that I wore for my final presentation. I grabbed my pants and shirt from the dryer since I was trying to dewrinkle them without the use of an iron (because I don’t actually own one). Anyway, at first, I tried to put an undershirt on because I thought my binder could be seen through my shirt last time I wore it (or at least I could see it, and that made me self-conscious). Anyway, that didn’t work at all because it just made everything too tight, and the fabric obviously pulled at the buttons. So, I removed the undershirt and tried the shirt on again, but by this point, I already had it in my mind that it wasn’t fitting right. So, of course, I wasn’t happy with that solution because the binder was so blaringly obvious to me, and the fabric at the buttons still seemed like they were pulling. At this point, I just sat at my desk as tears started to fill my eyes. I had maybe 15 minutes before I was supposed to leave to go to campus, and I was freaking out because the shirt I had planned to wear definitely wasn’t going to work.  I nearly panicked, but I went back in my closet to take another look. Finally, I settled on the red shirt I wore to our wedding ceremony last month (which is one size larger). Now, I didn’t really want to wear it because it was red, and my school’s colors are blue and gold. I have a thing about clashing colors, but at least I had the robe to cover up the shirt and could almost completely hide the collar. When I put the shirt on my dysphoria finally calmed down.

Honestly, I feel like since I’ve started testosterone, my dysphoria has gotten a lot worse. While I’ve definitely noticed some very desirable changes, in my mind I still look very feminine. I rarely am called by the right gender, which probably doesn’t help, but I don’t think that’s why it has gotten worse. Maybe it’s because I do notice some masculinization in my face and shoulders, but I feel like some things are still very feminine (my hips, ass, thighs, and chest). This definitely causes some cognitive dissonance (to steal a term from psychology). I don’t know how long this fat redistribution takes, but I really hope it starts soon. At least now I can help facilitate the process since I have a break from school over the summer; I can focus on eating better and working out more consistently.

Despite my rough start this morning, graduation went really well! While we were lining up to go be seated, one of my classmates came up (who I recently added on Facebook) to me and asked if he should call me August or April. I told him August, and he gave me  a high five. That was probably the highlight of my day. After we walked across the stage, another of my classmates that sat with me also asked what he should call me. I assume this was because I wrote on my graduation ticket “August,” so that’s what was read as I walked across the stage. I definitely appreciated them asking; it was very unexpected. I didn’t intend to have any of my classmates call me August since I figured after we graduated, I wouldn’t really see very many of them.

Afterwards, I went to a late lunch/early dinner with my mom, uncle, brother, and grandpa. I got a couple of cards, which said August on them. However, when they were talking to the waiter, they said “she” just graduated. My mom still calls me April and uses female pronouns all the time, which is slightly embarrassing when we’re out. I just wish I could be invisible during those moments. I’m not really sure if and when it’s appropriate to correct her. I know she’s aware that I’d prefer to be called August and he, but I’d feel guilty if I corrected her. I’m not really sure how to handle the situation at all. It just ends up being very awkward for me, and I haven’t seen any indication that she’ll be getting the hang out of it any time soon. I expect her to slip up, but she doesn’t even try to correct herself like my friends do when they call me by the wrong name. Has anyone had to deal with a similar situation?


  1. Congrats on your graduation! As for your mom, just give it time. When you’re ready to correct her, you will. I’ve been out for about three and a half years and have just started really strongly correcting members of my family who haven’t quite come around yet. It’s really a personal thing. In public, it’s really nerve wracking though. You don’t have necessarily be aggressive when correcting, but make sure they know exactly how opposed you are to being referred to as your birth name and with female pronouns. Good luck bro.

  2. I began transitioning 7 years ago today, and my mother still messes up sometimes. I’d say it took her about 3 years to really put in any effort.

    As for testosterone making dysphoria worse – I certainly experienced that. It’s a great feeling to finally start being true to yourself, but at the same time you have also finally admitted that there is something very wrong. We all deal with this in different ways. I think that time is the only universal aid to acceptance. As time goes on and you look and feel more and more masculine, you will feel more at peace in your body.

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