#DrewsViews: Coping with Body Dysphoria

by Drew Adams

Lately I’ve been dealing a lot with my own body and body dysphoria, and a lot of people have been asking me how I deal with my body dysphoria. To clarify, body dysphoria is discomfort a transgender person experiences with their body because of the disconnect between their body and their gender. Body dysphoria, which I’m going to shorten to just “dysphoria” for this blog post, can be triggered by just about anything, can cause pretty bad mental distress, and is in general a bad time all around for the one experiencing it. Dysphoria is also a deeply personal thing that differs from person to person, and no two people will experience and describe it in the same way. Similarly, no two people will have the same set of coping mechanisms, and not every coping mechanism I use will work for everyone or even anyone else. With that being said, here is how I deal with my own body dysphoria.

Listen to the band Cavetown, or other trans artists:
Somehow, this really helps. The artist Cavetown is trans and his work is heavily influenced by his experiences with dysphoria and his identity, so his music is very relatable. You can find his work (and that of other trans musicians, like Jaime Wilson, Ryan Cassata, Peppermint, etc) on Spotify, YouTube, and other music platforms.

Window shop online for prosthetics:
When I am experiencing bottom dysphoria, which is body dysphoria dealing specifically with the region below the waist, I like looking at the wide variety of prosthetics many companies offer to help transgender men alleviate bottom dysphoria. Doing this at the very least takes my mind off of my dysphoria, and I can imagine the liberation that having a product like that or bottom surgery would grant me.

Style my hair and put on clothes I like:
My dysphoria often comes with a feeling of lacking control over my body and my feelings towards it. Changing what I do have control over, my hair and clothing, gives me back the sense of control that my dysphoria was taking away and gives me a much needed boost in confidence.

Watching shows or reading books with male characters that I heavily relate to:
From an entertainment standpoint, watching role model characters helps me to have a solid distraction from my dysphoria. More importantly, however, when there is a character that I heavily relate to, I can almost imagine myself being that character, a cis man, and that helps my dysphoria.

These are just my coping mechanisms. I hope these help someone!

About the Author:

Drew Adams is a transgender high school senior from Ponte Vedra, FL, who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels. He serves as his high school GSA’s president and raises money for Northeast Florida’s LGBTQ youth outreach, JASMYN, to which he also donates food, toiletries and school supplies. Nationally, Drew serves as a youth ambassador and advocacy volunteer for The Trevor Project, a youth social media ambassador for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a Volunteer and Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride. On the legislative side, Drew lobbies for the Equality Act by visiting with his Congressional representatives and their staff.

Additionally, Drew has spent years fighting to change his school district’s bathroom policy to be trans-inclusive, and the fight is still ongoing. Drew is an International Baccalaureate student and a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic, and he hopes to go to medical school and become an adolescent psychiatrist specializing in transgender health. For fun, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creates sculpture art and plays the piano.