By Laura Kate Dale
Stories of Joy from Trans, Non Binary and Intersex Writers
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So often when we see pop culture portrayals of trans people’s lives, hear stories shared by trans people about their transitions, or accounts by the media about trans people’s lives, those stories focus on misery and discomfort. Gender dysphoria, a feeling of deep discomfort with your birth-assigned gender, is a powerful catalyst for many non-cisgender people coming out or transitioning, but it’s not the be all and end all of our experiences.
For many non cisgender people, it’s not gender dysphoria that pushes forward transition, but gender euphoria, a powerful feeling of happiness experienced as a result of moving away from that birth-assigned gender. It’s that joy the first time a parent calls you by your new chosen name, or the first time you have the confidence to cut your hair short like you’ve always wanted, joy at embracing the self.
Featuring essays from 15 trans, non-binary, agender, gender fluid, and intersex authors, as well as several essays from author and trans woman Laura Kate Dale, Gender Euphoria: Stories of Joy from Trans, Non Binary and Intersex Writers seeks to show the world the sheer variety of ways being non cisgender can be a beautiful, joyful experience.
Laura Kate Dale has experienced countless moments of elation, pride, confidence, freedom, and ecstasy as a direct result of coming out as a trans woman the better part of a decade ago, and she is not alone. There are countless stories from trans, non binary, agender, gender fluid, and intersex people about the ways that coming to terms with gender brought unimaginable happiness and love into lives.
The anthology will contain essays from a vast array of non-cisgender writers of different orientations, backgrounds, and with a varied selection of experiences to share. From an agender dominatrix being called 'Daddy', to an Arab trans man getting his first tattoos in spite of cultural taboo, a non-binary intersex writer not having to choose between puberties to a trans woman embracing her inner fighter.
Do you need some stories of joy in your life, or know someone who does? Pledge here to make this book a reality and bring a little more gender euphoria to the world.
- A high quality, B-format paperback book.
- At least 15 essays from writers of different orientations, backgrounds, and with a varied selection of experiences to share.
- Approximately 272 pages, and 70,000 words.
- Amazing and exclusive pledge levels!
*Book designs, cover and other images are for illustrative purposes and may differ from final design.
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Behind the scenes
Laura Kate Dale
Laura Kate Dale has spent the past five years as a full time writer, splitting her time between online articles, and physical published books.
She primarily works as a video game critic, having held editorial positions at sites including Kotaku UK and Destructoid, and having written freelance work for IGN, Polygon, Vice, Syfy, and more.
She also writes about LGBT representation and disability accessibility, with bylines at The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and The BBC.
Laura released a memoir in 2019 titled Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman. In 2020, she has a silly and serious illustrated video game coffee table book being published, titled Things I Learned From Mario’s Butt. Gender Euphoria: Stories of Joy from Trans, Non Binary and Intersex Writers is expected to be Laura’s third published book.
So often, when we see pop culture portrayals of trans people’s lives, hear stories shared by trans people about their transitions, or accounts by the media about trans people and their transitions, those stores focus on misery and discomfort.
It makes sense why this happens. For many transgender people, a big part of what initially pushes us to realise we need to come out is experiencing Gender Dysphoria, an unpleasant feeling of disconnect between our gender assigned at birth, and our own knowledge of our lived experience. Maybe you hit puberty and start growing facial hair, or your voice drops, or you start growing breasts, and suddenly you feel uncomfortable, like the changes happening to your body are alien, are transforming you into someone you don’t want to be. All those quietly held thoughts about not being your birth assigned gender you might have grown up with suddenly have a focal point, your body is changing and you don’t like what it’s becoming.
Not every trans person experiences dysphoria, and it’s certainly not required to be valid as a trans person, but there’s a reason it gets talked about so often, and it is used as part of diagnostic criteria. It’s quite often what kicks a person from spending years thinking “It sure would be nice to be a different gender to the one I was assigned at birth” into actually deciding to make a change in who they want to live as. Gender Dysphoria is a catalyst, it lights a fire under many, and underscores the aspects of themselves they’re unhappy living with.
Transgender people all around the world today, to greater or lesser degrees, are still fighting for legal recognition of their gender status, legal protections, rights, and their safety. When it comes to explaining why you need the right to live the way you do, explaining that you feel uncomfortable with yourself, that you need to alleviate a pain deeply lodged in you, that’s easy to explain quickly and easily. Everyone has been hurt emotionally in their lives, and it’s easy to understand why you would want to take steps to avoid that discomfort.
Beyond that even, the media plays a part in that framing of the trans narrative. If you want people to feel sympathy for the trans community, explain we’re escaping dysphoria. If you want to demonise the community, tell people our dysphoria is a delusion, and shouldn’t be indulged. It can be spun differently depending who’s trying to spin it, which makes it a powerful aspect of the way trans stories are so often portrayed.
I know I myself as a trans person fall into this trap sometimes when discussing my own transition. When I wrote my memoir a few years ago, sure it touched on some positives and joyful moments, but that certainly wasn’t the focus. I wrote a lot about not fitting in growing up, about struggling to be accepted when I came out, and I wrote about the challenges I am facing in the world today. It made sense to share those parts of my story with the world, but it also got me thinking about how prevalent that narrative can be when discussing trans stories.
Over the couple of years since then, I have thought a lot about the importance of celebrating the fact that stories of transition are not all just about doom and gloom, as much as it may sometimes feel that way. I’ve experienced countless moments of elation, pride, confidence, freedom, and ecstasy as a direct result of my coming out as a trans woman the better part of a decade ago, and I know I am not alone. When I talk to my trans, non binary, agender, gender fluid, and intersex friends, I have heard countless wonderful stories about the ways that coming to terms with gender brought unimaginable happiness and love into lives.
When I said earlier that Gender Dysphoria isn’t a required part of being trans, I meant it. When I say that, sometimes people ask me how someone would know they were trans, if not for feeling uncomfortable with their body and the way they were born. And to that, I say the answer is simple. If you try presenting yourself as something other than your birth assigned gender, and it makes you feel euphoric, that’s just as valid a reason to transition as escaping dysphoria. Gender Euphoria is an equally valid reason to transition.
I’m not going to pretend that the world isn’t sometimes a bit miserable for non cisgender people. I’m not going to pretend a lot of us didn’t have a rough road to get where we are now. But, this book isn’t about that. This book is about Gender Euphoria. This book is about people doing small actions and grand gestures that made them feel radiantly themselves, and wonderfully at peace. This book is about stories of Transition as Euphoria.
- 30th June 2020 Gender Euphoria is Fully Funded!!! - Here's What Happens Next
So, Gender Euphoria has been fully funded in under six days, which is better than I possibly could have hoped. Thank you so much to everyone who has already pledged their support to the book.
So, here's an update on where the book is at in development. Now that we are fully funded, i am able to properly pay all of our wonderful contributors for their essays for the anthology.…
These people are helping to fund Gender Euphoria.
Cathal Mc Ginley
Jose Miguel Vicente Luna