Next, a comment by besomyka.
We seem to conflate sex and gender in these discussions even though we know better. When we say I feel or don’t feel like a woman, for example. Do you mean woman in the social constructed sense, the stochastic physical sense? What?
When I say I’m a woman, I happen to mean both. I think that if you considered me a woman, that your mental shortcuts about what that meant would be more true about me than the other option. Is it perfect? No, of course not. I’m a person, not an abstract. But it IS more accurate.
I also mean it physically. I am quite sure that if we destroyed the concept of gender completely, that I’d still have dysphoria centered on my body. My heart would ache seeing a pregnant woman, knowing that it could never be me. I would have still felt so rigid hugging people without a bosom of my own. I know I’d still feel like a hollow mannequin when I looked in the mirror.
I know that within 3 weeks of starting HRT, even when other people still saw me as ‘a guy’, my depression and dysphoria all but vanished. Instead, over the last few years, I’ve grown into myself. I’ve become real. A person.
Here’s what I know is true for me. When society said pretty girls shouldn’t have body hair, something deep inside whispered, “Hey, they are talking about you.” Like everyone, I internalized the messages that society forces on us, and like everyone some of those applied to me, and some didn’t. What I, instinctively, applied to myself is remarkably similar to what other women my age applied to themselves.
To say I’m not a woman is to deny that essential part of me. I mean, look, I spent literal DECADES trying to deny that part of myself, to rationalize it away… all that did was cause me pain. I am a woman, that’s the truth.