True Life: I’m Questioning My Gender Again

On this episode of True Life two individuals who suffer from gender dysphoria, which is the condition a person suffers from when they believe their gender identity and their biological sex do not match, have already underwent transitions to change their sex and now they are rethinking the whole process and are contemplating undergoing the transition back to their original sex. The first person we meet is Daniella, who was born male and is currently living as a female. The show starts off with Daniella saying that she no longer believes that she is supposed to be a female, she says she feels like she is walking around with a secret and she’s not comfortable in her skin any longer. She talks to her sister who explains that she always felt as if Daniella were her sister even when she were male. Daniella tells her mother that she wants to remove her breast implants and start living life as a male again, however her mother is not so supportive of this decision and she tells Daniella that she will not be happy when she does this. Daniella cuts off her long hair, and goes to a plastic surgeon to remove her breast implants. At the end of the episode Daniella says that she finally feels comfortable, and like she is how she’s supposed to be.

The next person we meet is Amanda who was born a female, currently living as a male but is making the decision to transition back to a female. Amanda doesn’t completely identify male or female but says she finds more comfort in her female body. She¬†was ¬†started taking testosterone to transition into a male, then around a year later she expressed desire to stop the testosterone treatments. She told her family what she wanted to do and her parents don’t understand why she can’t just stick to a sex, her mother had said that if she decides to change her mind again she doesn’t know if she can be supportive. He father can’t express how he feels about everything with her. Amanda is greatly concerned on how her transitioning and de-transitioning is affecting her family and other close to her. She goes in for laser hair removal on her face after she stops the testosterone, and she finally ends up throwing away the rest of the testosterone treatments because she feels normal in her skin again and says that de-transitioning back to a woman was the right decision for her.

I interpreted the gender dysphoria in this episode to be a medical condition because it has a lot to do with biology of the brain, these people had serious conditions in which their brains were signaling that they were in the wrong bodies and not only once, but twice. Quest narrative was used in this episode in that both the individuals were hoping to empower themselves and use the journey of de-transitioning to feel more comfortable , and improve their quality of life in their original sexes. The use of narrative tellers and listeners is present throughout the whole episode, Daniella and Amanda try to explain why they feel a certain and why they are making these decisions to their friends and family. In the episode Daniella states that there is a stigma for those who are transgendered and it’s very hard for her to find love, not many people want to be with a transgendered person. There seems to be an even worse stigma regarding de-transitioning as both Amanda’s and Daniella’s families showed. Both Amanda and Daniella had experience with medical professionals when Amanda went to a physician to talk about stopping testosterone and how to remove the facial hair, and when Daniella went to a surgeon to discuss why she wanted to remove the breast implants. In both cases the individuals adopted the sick role, where they acknowledged their abnormal conditions, sought help from health care professionals, and realized that what was making them unhappy and causing stress in their lives was their transitioned bodies. In the lectures from this week we learned how those who are affected by conditions can reach out to their families, friends and others about their conditions and it allows for better communication, a sort of therapy for both the affected and the other parties, and it also allows for education and awareness for those who are listening to the person who is affected.

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