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7 Warning Signs of Post Traumatic Guy Syndrome

No matter what symptoms I plug into Web MD, Post Traumatic Guy Syndrome never seems to come up. I may, however, be at great risk for either scurvy or kuru, even though I eat lots of fruit and hardly any human brains. It stands to reason I guess, since I just made the term up while stepping on the toes of our veterans who have very real, and very debilitating problems as the result of being put in situations of high risk of imminent death. I really think I might be at risk though, and if you are a trans woman, you probably are as well.

If you are a trans woman, or at least know some or one, you may have noticed that some of seem just a little bit off. OK, to be less PC, some of us come off as batshit crazy, or at the very least, went through a long adjustment period as they settled into womanhood. I think the root cause of all this is having to have lived for so many years as a male; an endeavor that was bound for failure, but attempted with great vigor for decades at a time. We like to tell children that they can be whatever they want to, but the reality is that over time, if what you want to be just isn’t you, it’s not going to bode well and you may end up just a little bit fucked up in the process. Prior to the onset of PTGS, there are a number of indicators and symptoms worth taking a look at even though I just made them up on the fly.

1. Sporadic Dickheadness: Guys often exhibit this trait from time to time, and it’s often in good fun. The medical terminology often refers to it as “ball busting” which is known to manifest in the presence of other men, especially when camaraderie is high or alcohol is being consumed. Sometimes the effects are felt by women, but they are often dismissed as just boys trying to be funny. When a woman, particularly a trans woman, shows signs of this, it’s not good. Other women do not lightly suffer this type of crap from other women. As a trans woman, sporadic dickheadedness will probably show up from time to time as a latent effect from male life. Fortunately, the worst side effect is simply being asked out to lunch with the girls a lot less. Secondary symptoms: mild depression and suspected alienation.

2. Minor Adjustments: Until surgical correction takes place, even the very best of restraining methods tend to fail from time to time, or become unbearably uncomfortable at inopportune times. In male life, dealing with this area was simple and expected. A quick look around followed by an over the slacks crotch adjustment, or a more covert hand in the pocket fix was socially acceptable. Women, however, never publically adjust their crotch for a variety of reasons, the least of which is lack of necessity. When discomfort arises, it’s easy to forget you are wearing a skirt and pantyhose, and that grabbing yourself in that area, unless in total privacy, is bound to get noticed. This symptom is unconscious and nearly unavoidable. Secondary symptoms: burning embarrassment lasting for moments to days.

3. Stoic Silence: When men are not interested in a topic being discussed, it is socially acceptable to remain in stoic bored silence until a conversation shift occurs. Women generally ignore this since they are under the impression that the men will probably not add much anyway. A woman, however, displaying this trait is often written off as being a real cold bitch and someone not to be invited again. After decades of enjoying this symptom without repercussion, a trans woman may be surprised and dismayed by the impression they are giving as being cold, or worse yet, just a guy. The only remedy is getting used to talking in groups about shit you really don’t care about. Secondary symptoms: more depression and perceived alienation.

4. Speaking in Tongues: As a male, it was expected that you know at least a dozen lines each from ‘Monty Python: Quest for the Holy Grail’ and ‘Scarface’. Chances are, you played along unless you are like me and unable to remember movie lines. Hopefully you did, and didn’t just stand there feeling like a schmuck like me. If you were successful, it’s now ingrained and going to come out from time to time. Remember though, you never, ever hear women drag out the infuriating ‘Knights Who Say Nee’ bit. This is good, because no one needs to ever hear that again. As a trans woman there is a good chance you will, and be left standing there feeling like a schmuck as you suddenly become aware of the disgusted and annoyed faces around you. Secondary symptoms: crippling embarrassment.

5. Benjamin Buttonitis: This morning I dressed my 5 year old for school, then came to work and noticed 30 and 40 year old men wearing essentially the same thing. Well, except for Spiderman sneakers that blink. As a male you probably got used to doing this, because aside from formal affairs and high power business, men’s and boy’s styles are virtually indistinguishable. Because of this, many trans women fall into the same trap and think that cute skirt in the junior’s section is perfectly all right to wear. It’s not. Unless you occupy a demographic where dying your hair Smurf blue is all right, there is a rigid age demarcation for clothes. The real kicker is that nobody is going to tell you to your face, because female culture doesn’t lend itself toward making others feel bad about their appearance, so this symptom can persist for a long time. Secondary symptoms: constant paranoia that people are talking about you and judging you, mainly because they are.

6. Space Invader: While never specifically taught, casual observation will reveal that when sitting or walking, men take up the maximum amount of space humanly possible, while women tend to fold themselves into the most compact package, often at the expense of comfort. Think of a man on a couch. Arms spread out over the back and legs splayed open to display his crotch. Now think of a woman. Arms and elbows tucked in, and legs demurely crossed at the knees or ankles. He’s taking up at least 2.5 seats worth of space, and she’s scrunched into three quarters. Trans women easily revert to the male configuration because it’s way more comfortable, but end up looking like a lumberjack in drag no matter how pretty they might otherwise be. Secondary symptoms: more paranoia caused by weird stares and people standing rather than risk sitting next to you.

7. Up In the Sky, It’s Super-Guy!: Men are expected to jump in and solve problems first, and listen second. Women often to the opposite and provide a good ear to listen, and assistance only when requested. This can get confusing if you are used to firing off the means to solve everyone’s worries or worse, jumping into a physical situation. When you do this as a woman, other women get annoyed, because if they wanted someone to go off half cocked, they just would have told a guy about it. With men it’s worse. While they will tolerate this from other men, they really don’t so well with women, and sure as hell don’t want it from you. Secondary symptoms: feeling left out of the loop; sometimes punched.

There are probably a lot more, but these should be a good start to watch yourself for as regularly as you check your breast for lumps. These items along with the secondary symptoms may indicate you are a candidate for PTGS, unless you are naturally an insensitive asshole, and then the secondary stuff doesn’t apply so much. While not fatal, PTGS can leave you depressed and lonely, and wondering if this was all worth it. Caught in time though, a full cure is possible along with a long and happy life as the correct gender.

About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

19 responses »

  1. Pingback: Weird Trans* Symptomology (Or Is It Just Me?) « Michellelianna

  2. Correction to last post – you MUST know deep down that this is NOT the answer and that it is weird and inherently insane.

  3. Michael – you have to know that deep down inside, SOMEWHERE, that acting and dressing as the opposite sex is going to bring you happiness and joy. You are deeply confused and need to look at your past for answers. THIS abhorrence is not the way to go!!!! You are harming yourself and everyone around you. You will never find peace until you go to the root of this illness. Good luck!!!!

    • Hi Jeff,

      I considered writing a very long explanation here, but I don’t see where it would do much good. In my previous attempts to communicate I gave ample opportunity to begin a dialog, as well as provided solid resources to attempt to find the information yourself. It’s clear you have chosen not to. It’s also clear your rigid paradigm of the way things “ought” to be remains important enough to protect even in the face of clear exception. I truly hope you don’t have to learn the harm of this inflexibility in a harder way.

      To answer your accusation directly, I spent nearly 40 years searching for the root of my issues. My mind, my core identity, my operating system is female. After a lifetime of searching and denying that this was the answer in every conceivable way, I found admitting it was the root to bringing me both peace and the potential for happiness. In that search, I learned in a very hard way that just because I didn’t want something to be true, reality won’t warp to the way I want it.

      If you had taken the time to engage me directly, or done any research of your own on this, you may have been able to realize this. To put this in perspective, of every close friend and family member I have had to bring this difficult news to, you remain the lone holdout; the only one who has not made the effort. The only one for whom the friendship is less important than the package it comes in.

      If you would like to talk, you know how to reach me and I would be happy to hear from you. I’m very open to explain, find no question out of bounds, and am still of the same belief that dialog and discussion can build mighty bridges. Until then, peace.


      PS – I still have your ladder in my garage.

  4. Blues4aRedPlanet

    That was sort of sexist. I’m a closeted f2m (since I’m living with people.. I’ll transition when I move out) and while I have done most of the stuff on this list (except 2 and 6), some I am not proud of, I find that last one about it ‘not being OK for a woman to step in and solve problems’ to be utter BS. If you’re going to be a woman, you don’t have to be a weak one that “shuts up and lets the men solve the problems”. As long as you have *useful knowledge* then there’s nothing wrong with getting in there and offering a solution. Nice job reinforcing gender roles. Also, I didn’t know women didn’t like it when other women solved problems. The Hell? Then again, I never really understood women despite living as one.

  5. LOL great post.

    “it is socially acceptable to remain in stoic bored silence until a conversation shift occurs. Women generally ignore this since they are under the impression that the men will probably not add much anyway.”

    So funny! This pretty much sums up my family gatherings.

    “Until surgical correction takes place”

    You’ve kindly told me that questions are welcome here, and I am interested in the topic of gender dysphoria and ‘corrective’ surgery, so I have an attempt at my first question to you:

    First, I wanted to share something Zinnia Jones said that I think is noteworthy:

    “I recognized that I don’t need to have intense, unbearable gender dysphoria in order to be trans. I just need to prefer living as a woman over living as a man. Being uncomfortable in my body isn’t a requirement. Being more comfortable as a woman is all it takes.”

    I absolutely get that intense body discomfort leads many trans* people to surgery, but I always go back to Indigenous worldviews because we ALL come from Indigenous cultures before our minds and Spirits began being stripped via colonization/domestication/industrialization. And many of us in the LGBTQI community know that that gender outlaws (2-Spirited people in modern day Indigenous language) existed and were highly valued in traditional cultures (and still are in cultures that haven’t been raped by colonization and “modernity”), and that medicine and surgeries as we know it today just didn’t exist pre so-called “human progress”.

    So I wonder how many trans* people would choose the surgery route if they were more Respected and accepted as women *as they are*, penis and all, because one’s identity is so much more than their biological bits. It just seems like such a terribly painful ordeal with high risks to go through for a person to feel better and/or be/feel accepted. Though I do understand the motivation if that’s where it’s coming from re. being easier to fit society than having society fit to a person.

    The DSM and its gender dysphoria “disorder” further legitimizes the language of Nature making a “mistake” (and that there’s something wrong with this group of people rather than something being wrong with the culture). I know this is all old news to most trans people and that its probably talked and thought about to death, and that those that do go through with surgery do it because that is the most immediate path to self-contentment.

    My own personal opinion on this when it comes to dating is that I would rather date a trans woman with no surgeries or any medical intervention because I would wholly accept her as she naturally is and as I experience her, and my experience of her would obviously be very different than my experience of a biological man because the energy/Spirit is very different (and very different and unique to each trans* person). This is why I think the term “Two-Spirited” is very appropriate; indigenous cultures aren’t fixated on biology or body parts, they are all deeply Spirituality-based (though Indigenous cultures are very diverse and unique, but Spirituality is their common thread).

    So my question I guess is, what do you think of all this? If you’ve talked about this before in another post, I haven’t gotten to it yet, so please do point me towards it if one exists.


  6. so much gender stereotyping.. I’ll continue to enjoy citing monthy python with my fellow geeky friends whi are cis girls and know the lines better then me >_> such dribble..

  7. interesting examination of style differences, though i think male genitalia is a big reason for it being hard for us to keep our legs together when sitting- there’s other stuff of course about splaying our arms and etc, but that getting in the way of my legs folding is a big obstacle for me 😛
    The points on the differences in clothing styles and age-appropriateness are good, too.
    Of course, these are relatively casual observations relating to our american culture, it’d be interesting to hear from transwomen from other cultures to hear how things are different and the same.

  8. This is nice writeup! The only thing I would add is these guidelines are more relaxed in lesbian culture than amongst straight women.

  9. Reblogged this on My Dark Horrible Secret and commented:
    I LOLed.

  10. Reblogged this on Pasupatidasi's Blog and commented:
    just in case someone who reads my page hasn’t already come across this person and specifically this clever post…


  11. so great! laughing from my brain to my bones!

  12. Reblogged this on Cait.

  13. I’m so glad trying to occupying less than the tiniest space was a natural trait. Not so much the rest but I’ll leave the “super hero” stuff to others.

  14. I’m a cis woman, and I do everything on your list that is supposed to be guy behavior. I guess I fail at gender.

  15. Hiya Sis,

    Awesome post. Informative, spot on and funny. If your current career ever becomes wearysome, you could always become a doctor. Your grasp of these obscure conditions is amazing.

    I do really enjoy reading your posts.



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