I bought a dress and I now believe that this may have been a poor decision. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very pretty dress. It is a cute, pink and cream mini dress and I really like it. The problem isn’t the dress itself, but rather the issue is me and my body. I thought that buying a dress would be a nice gender-affirming experience, but instead, it has brought up a lot of dysphoria.
This dress is the first article of women’s clothing that I have purchased in years (jeans being a notable exception). Growing up, I had always been jealous of the variety of clothing options available to women but I never wore any. This changed when I first recognized that I was transgender. Shortly afterward, I purchased quite a few different outfits and items. However, I was ultimately disappointed. The whole experience was incredibly dysphoria-inducing. I had an idea of how I would look in these clothes and the reality wasn’t even close. Not only did it not match my imagined ideal, the reality of my pre-everything body made the clothes unappealing. I was doing the clothes a disservice by wearing them. This experience devastated me emotionally and convinced me to return them all and to not wear women’s clothes again.
However that happened years ago and I have been on hormones for almost a year now, I figured that it would certainly be different this time. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Instead of being a positive gender-affirming experience, trying the dress on caused my mental state to alternate between vague satisfaction and crippling dysphoria. I like the dress and want to be able to wear clothes like it, but my body ruins the experience. Seeing myself wearing those clothes still makes me dysphoric, despite the changes from hormones. It reminds me that I am transgender and I don’t appear as a woman to others. I want to be seen and acknowledged as a woman, but that won’t happen as I am now. This has also made me nervous about the future of my transition. What if I never reach a point where I pass? I have always known that this was a possibility, but trying and “failing” to present feminine has made this fear paramount in my mind.
Ultimately, these issues are not exclusively about the dress but are concerns about my transition in general. I am not where I want to be transition-wise and trying to dress femininely only made that more apparent. I can’t wear the dress without becoming dysphoric and that bothers me. At this point in my transition, I feel like I should be able to comfortably present as my gender in the privacy of my own home but this is not the case. Although I really like the dress, it is likely going to hang in my closet for the foreseeable future. I can’t see myself wearing it with how much it triggers my dysphoria.