Truscum. It’s a term many of us in the transgender community have heard. Some of us have even been labeled as such. However, few of us who have heard it know of its meaning.
To put it simply, truscum is used to describe people who think that being dysphoric is a must-have trait to be transgender, lest they not be trans (or even non-binary, though people labeled truscum have been known to think non-binary isn’t a real identity) and are “trans-trending”.
“At that time, I understood how these people felt, but as time went by, I began to re-question my own thinking.”
I looked at this term when I first saw it and raised my eyebrows. After looking up its meaning, I thought for a little while about how I view myself. I’ve been on testosterone for nearly a year now. I am in the process of legally changing my name and looking for a way to get my double mastectomy (top surgery). I knew before learning this term that transgender people don’t always do anything past social transition; there’s no rule that states you MUST have surgery of any sort, or that you MUST go on hormones in order to be transgender or non-binary, but I couldn’t understand how one could not have dysphoria, yet consider themselves anything other than cisgender. Curiosity took over and I looked up a few YouTube videos that talk about transgender people without dysphoria. At that time, I understood how these people felt, but as time went by, I began to re-question my own thinking.
I’m going to be blunt: in my opinion, there’s no such thing as transgender or non-binary without dysphoria. Before you get angry at me, let me explain my reasoning.
First, let’s look at the definition of “dysphoria” by itself: a state of feeling unwell, unease or dissatisfaction with life. This is the opposite of “euphoria”, which is a feeling of great happiness. Dysphoria doesn’t only apply to gender identity, it can apply to many things in everyday life and is often accompanying psychological illnesses such as depression or anxiety (which in general are illnesses that cause feeling unwell, unease or dissatisfaction with anything in life).
This definition got me thinking- identifying as any gender other than what’s assigned at birth based on your physical body means you have a dissatisfaction with having that be your gender. You feel unease when being referred to as that gender or by your birth name. Wouldn’t that be considered dysphoria?
I took it a step further and looked up the general definition of “gender dysphoria”, which is defined as when one’s emotional and psychological identity is different than what’s assigned at birth.
With that being said, why would anyone be transgender or non-binary unless they felt that way? By technical terms, anyone who identifies as a gender other than what’s assigned at birth, has dysphoria.
“Why do people say they don’t have dysphoria, even if they’re trans or non-binary?”
That’s when the question hit me: Why do people say they don’t have dysphoria, even if they’re trans or non-binary? My thinking is that we associate dysphoria immediately and only with wanting surgery or hormones to change our outsides to match our insides. I’ve heard dysphoria also described as having anxiety or depression over their gender identity, but not all of us who are trans or non-binary experience depression, anxiety, or psychological illness of any sort along with it. Even those who do experience any of that don’t necessarily have it connected to their identity in any way.
Let me reiterate the fact that being transgender or non-binary DOES NOT mean you NEED to have any surgeries or start hormones. It DOES NOT even mean you NEED to change the way you look, act, or present yourself AT ALL. You change ONLY what you feel is necessary, and don’t give in to the pressure to change what you don’t want to.
However, being trans or non-binary still means you feel dysphoric. Maybe not necessarily about a body part, but about your label and expected role in society as a whole. No one WANTS to be truly transgender or non-binary and feel miserable and ostracized just because of our identity. I know there are those who try to be or who want to be, and as of right now, I do not understand why they would want to.
I understand entirely that my opinion is not the solid fact, nor does it speak for everyone transgender or anyone non-binary. However, I feel that this needs to be spoken about more openly without dismissing and labeling people as truscum. Open-minded discussion without all hell breaking loose will carry us far in this world as we strive for acceptance of who we are.