Gender euphoria: a term used to describe when a person feels happy and confident in the way their body looks and feels, and in how they are perceived socially. This can be affirming of their gender identity.

I wasn't really sure where to start with this blog, but out of all the possible places to start, I think exploring some positive experiences of being trans is as good a place as any.

I've been thinking about this for a while as it's often an aspect of being trans that is overlooked, not only by cis people but by trans people ourselves. Most of our experiences are negative. At work, at school, at university/college, around peers, online, or by simply existing, we face challenges and discrimination to varying degrees. As a result, it's often difficult to appreciate the positive moments.

Most of these moments are ones that many cis folks wouldn't consider to be special in any way, but for trans people, they can have a hugely positive impact on our confidence, self-esteem and mental health.

Let me give you an example of what gender euphoria is and how it feels. For the last 5 years I've been providing ID that lists my title as 'Miss', my gender as F, and has a picture of me pre-transition. I've had countless deeply uncomfortable conversations over the years with bouncers, security, cashiers, landlords and banks, because even though the person on the ID technically is me, it isn't who they see in front of them. I am outed instantly, and it leaves me feeling ashamed and embarrassed. I've actively avoided situations where I would need to provide ID, and in some cases it feels not only uncomfortable but unsafe. This is a scenario that I'm sure many trans people can relate to.

Thankfully, I am now finally able to present an ID that is a true reflection of who I am. I've had this new ID for about six months now, but every time I'm asked for it, I forget that it's been changed. The relief I feel every time I remember is indescribable. I feel myself relax, and the fear of being outed or questioned dissipates. This, to me, feels like gender euphoria.

Again, this situation may seem trivial or not that big of a deal, but for a trans person, having ID documents that match your gender identity and represent you accurately, at any stage in your transition, can be the difference between feeling safe and feeling unsafe.

There are certain things that I can do with my appearance, my clothes, or my voice that can evoke a sense of euphoria. For example, I know that wearing a t-shirt that sits flat against my chest will make me feel euphoric and can give me a little confidence boost. This is a new experience for me since having top surgery in 2020, and it never gets old. It's a reminder that I no longer carry the burden of a body that doesn't fit me. Another example is when my voice is extra deep in the morning and I hear myself speak - I feel euphoric because I sound the way I've always wanted to sound, how I should have sounded since puberty. It's an incredible feeling; a mixture of relief, elation, excitement, and most of all, pure joy.

Gender euphoria can manifest in a myriad of different ways and can vary greatly from person to person. I'm just sharing my own experiences; they might resonate with some people, and they might not. There is no wrong or right way to experience dysphoria or euphoria.

Euphoria ebbs and flows. It surprises me, it shows up when I least expect it, and every time it does it feels like receiving a warm hug. It acts as a reminder and affirmation that I am on my way to being who I want to be, to being the truest version of myself. Embracing it is a step towards self-acceptance.

Trans folks often go through years of low self-esteem and poor mental health due to the dissonance between how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves. Gender euphoria is a feeling that arises in moments when that dissonance resolves and those perceptions align.

We deserve to truly feel and celebrate those moments, whatever they may be. In a world that often feels hostile, it's so liberating to have small moments of joy.

To my trans pals: allow yourself to feel those moments. Recognise them, cherish them, and gift yourself with them whenever you can. You deserve it.