The Murder of Gwen Aranjo
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The problem is that I am not normal but I am fascinating. Doctors like to tell me that. They also like to tell me that I have Gender Identity Dysphoria (GID). I don’t, but I’m told I need this diagnosis if I want to move forward. Dysphoria is a term that implies “permanent unhappiness, a break with reality, and someone who acts out of misery alone.” GID is a mental illness as described in the official psychiatric manual, the DSM IV: “Gender Identity Dysphoria: a disturbance of gender identification in which the affected person has an overwhelming desire to change their anatomic sex or insists that they are of the opposite sex, with persistent discomfort about their assigned sex or about filling its usual gender role.” I am not a mentally ill person. I am a happy tranny.
My thesis project is a collection of essays about my gender transition from female to male and my identity as a transgender person. Contemporary ideas of “normal” intertwine the theoretical with personal experiences. The content of the essays range from the academic arena of body politics, queer bodies, and gender identities to detailed accounts of my experiences with hormones, gender related surgeries, public gendered spaces and the lack of a gender neutral restroom at the California College of the Arts.