Are You Man/Woman Enough? The Transgender Overcompensation Issue
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Hey there! It's your friendly neighborhood Trans Hormone NP with some thoughts on a topic I have come across quite often with my patients: overcompensation of gender traits.
What is meant by this? Well, transgender folks, on the whole, are marginalized and devalued by society. Often, they are actively being erased! This of course causes horrible issues for them in their basic day-to-day lives. It could be anything from just being dead-named and/or misgendered all the way up to being beaten or killed for just trying to be themselves. The word is full of assholes, y'all...
Many times, they are also delegitimized simply for not "acting" man enough or "acting" woman enough. As if acting a certain way makes you a certain gender (insert eye roll). And so, as a defense mechanism, they end up overcompensating with maximal stereotypical traits of their gender identity. Example: a trans woman who really doesn't love dresses and jewelry, but instead would prefer capris with a t-shirt, ends up overcompensating by wearing frilly dresses, heels, and ostentatious jewelry because she feels that is the only way society will allow her the recognition as a "true" female. So she ends up unhappy much of the time with what she is wearing because it really doesn't fit her personality or her gender expression. On the other hand, you could have a trans man who likes traditionally feminine colors, such as pink and lavender, and who likes to listen to classical music; but since these aren't typically seen as "man enough" in our society, he ends up overcompensating by wearing dark muscle shirts that say "I Need Another Beer" and listening to a violent selection of heavy metal songs.
These things are used as a type of armor against the world. But this overcompensation can lead to frustration and unhappiness because doing these things causes a person to act outside of what they are comfortable with. I myself, as a cisgender female, do not subscribe to society's views of what is feminine with regards to how I dress and act. More often than not, I will be found wearing a large t-shirt with Game of Thrones on it over mens' basketball shorts with sneakers. That's who I am. And I've had a few people mistake me as a lesbian! LOL! But that's where our society is nowadays. We seem to expect the gender binary code to equal out into stereotypical gender expressions. And that's just stupid, folks. Because I can tell you right now, if someone told me I had to wear dresses and heels from here on out, I'd lose my mind. I can't stand wearing that stuff more often than not, and I only do it very seldom. But as a cisgender female, my privilege is that I wear what I want and no one harasses me about it. Oh, they may think I'm frumpy, or whatever else, but I don't get yelled at, beat up, and other such BS. I can act how I want as well, listening to whatever music I like, cursing "like a guy," and so on and so forth.
Some trans folks are forced into this overcompensation mode for their own safety, and I get that. This next piece of advice is not aimed at those whose safety is at stake if they don't conform to stereotypes. But if your safety is not at stake, please know that your own happiness is more important than society's views. If you are overcompensating so that your aunt Sally will hopefully stop misgendering you, please know that she likely isn't worth your time anyway. Gender expression can be what you want it to be. And it can fluctuate back and forth. That's normal! If you identify as male, but you like to wear pink crop tops on Tuesdays, so what? You're still just as validly male as the next guy. I'm talking to all you in-the-middle nonbinary folks out there, too. Don't feel like you can't go back and forth with your gender expression. Find your happiness, find yourself. And be true to that inner being. Everyone deserves to live their life as they see fit (provided it doesn't physically harm others). So, wanna wear that ring? Do it! Like that dress? Wear it! Got those military boots in the closet cuz they feel good to walk in? Put 'em on! Do what feels good to YOU. Because no one else is gonna watch out for your happiness the way you can.
Spectrum: The Other Clinic
Transgender Hormone Therapy
Telemedicine Clinic in Mississippi
601-466-9495 Text Me!