Trans youth describe what gives them gender euphoria in massive new study

Author: Greg Owen

A new study by the Trevor Project contacted 9000 trans youth via text to learn what provoked feelings of gender euphoria in them.

Just like young people everywhere, trans youth thrive when they’re on the receiving end of affirmation and validation — in the case of this study, specifically about their gender.

Researchers asked subjects, “What are things that others do that make you feel happy (or euphoric) about your gender?”

Respondents reported several actions that evoked feelings of gender euphoria, which the study categorized into four themes: Affirming Communication, Inclusivity and Belonging, Appearance Affirmation, and Support and Respect.

Affirming communication could be as simple as people using respondents’ pronouns correctly. Some found it especially euphoric when strangers correctly used their pronouns without being told.

One respondent explained, “Honestly just calling me by the proper name and pronouns makes me so happy.” Using a young person’s chosen name rather than their given name was also frequently cited as affirming communication.

Some described feeling affirmed and euphoric when other people used gendered terms or language that aligned with their gender identity (e.g., pretty, handsome, or sir, ma’am).

Respondents identifying outside of the traditional gender binary appreciated compliments that were not gendered (saying “attractive” instead of “gorgeous” or “handsome”).” Another stated, “I like it when people don’t call me by a gender.” 

Feelings of inclusivity and belonging attended gender euphoria among young people when they were treated in ways that aligned with their gender identity. One respondent reported feeling euphoric when others treated “me like they would a friend or person of that gender…. I don’t need to be treated like a third category of trans, I need to be treated like a 22-year-old girl who never learned a few things.”

One common desire among respondents was a sense of normalcy in gendered treatment and inclusion, with many respondents not wanting special treatment or acknowledgment of their gender identity. For example, they reported feeling euphoric when others would “treat me like a normal guy” or not treat “me differently because of my gender identity.”

Many reported feeling euphoric when others affirmed their appearance, like “my mother commenting positively on my feminine appearance.”

Affirmation from young people’s peers frequently took the form of compliments, with one respondent feeling euphoric when others “like my outfit” and say “it makes me look more masculine.”

Some transgender and nonbinary youth described the feeling in situations where others were confused or unsure about their gender, an indication for some that they were beginning to “pass,” while for others it was affirming to be perceived outside of traditional gender norms or binaries.

One respondent reported feeling happy “when a stranger looks at me and doesn’t know what gender I am.”

Support and respect engendered euphoria, as well, with one respondent experiencing it when others “respect me as a person regardless of my identity.” Another reported feeling affirmed by “empathetic people that don’t try to tell you why you’re going to hell.”

One respondent explained that they felt happy “when the only friend I’ve ever told about my gender questioning said she would support me in whatever identity I use.”

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Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Greg Owen

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