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Let's talk about gender and biosex and sex assigned at birth and anatomy and surgery and language. In this episode Blake, FTM, and I a ciswoman pull apart what we experience on a day to day basis to develop a better world for the future. For part of the episode I go through the criteria of gender dysphoria as outlined in the DSM 5. Here there are if you'd like to follow along: In adolescents and adults gender dysphoria diagnosis involves a difference between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, and significant distress or problems functioning. It lasts at least six months and is shown by at least two of the following:

1. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics

2. A strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics

3. A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender

4. A strong desire to be of the other gender

5. A strong desire to be treated as the other gender

6. A strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender

Why does Blake identify as FTM rather than a transman?

"While I’m not offended if someone refers to me as a transman, I prefer to say I’m FTM, or a female-to-male trans person. The main reason is that the term FTM just feels correct. It sounds right when I say it. It feels authentic.

I don’t get that “it fits” feeling with transman, non-binary, or any other gendery word. However, it’s okay if my experience seems familiar to you and you do use a different term than I do. Or if you’re FTm and your experience is nothing like mine. We’re equally valid. I just know what fits for me.

I don’t feel that my gender is particularly “man”, and I struggle to relate to most men, cis or trans. I know that I get the “it fits” feeling with my current name, Blake, but not with my birth name. He/him/his pronouns fit too. They/them doesn’t bother me, but doesn’t feel as correct as he/him. Being called she/her causes me pain. When I had breasts, I knew that I’d feel more correct without them, so I removed them, and I do indeed feel more at home in my own body now. I was similarly confident about not wanting my uterus and ovaries.

I have mixed feelings about the idea of having/obtaining a penis. I rarely feel pain/dysphoria when I see my own genitalia, but I do wish that I didn’t have to worry about having this genitalia - I wish men’s bathrooms had more stalls, I wish my genitals weren’t remarkable or confusing to doctors or potential sexual partners, but I don’t hate having a vulva. I’m not always comfortable with other people interacting with it, though I often am, but I find that the most emotionally fulfilling sex for me involves me penetrating another person with a “realistic” phallus. It’s how I feel most sexually fulfilled, even if that means my genitals aren’t stimulated by another person and/or I don’t have an orgasm. But having a penis 24/7 seems really inconvenient, honestly, and I don’t like the feeling of wearing a packer. I like the look of a bulge on me, but not enough to wear a packer.

I like that I was “born female” and I wouldn’t change it. I like using a term that has female in it. I am thankful to have been raised as a girl. I didn’t feel like anything but a girl, until I realized that I’d never thought about it. But by then, I’d spent 18 years avoiding boys. Boys were mean to me. Men scare me. So using a term with “man” in it feels less authentic, and I don’t want to be them or be like them. Manhood isn’t appealing to me, even though much of “male”-ness feels essential to me."
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