Tangled Web

Deceptions of a transgender guy

Charlie Brown Christmas tree

Christmas time, dysphoria is mine


This time of year is especially difficult for me, not only because my dad passed away during the December I was 11, but also because,

“Its a time for giving, a time for getting,
A time for forgiving and for forgetting.”

~ Cliff Richard

A rider: This post is not about dealing out blame or accusing anyone, as nobody is at fault or to be forgiven. It is merely a peek into my inner self.

With almost every gift I get, my dysphoria steps to the fore, smacking down all the defenses I am trying to build up, snatching memories from my childhood to parade on the stage of my mind. Amongst others:

  • The sleeping doll my mom gave me one Christmas when I was four. It lay in a cupboard, rejected – the way I felt.
  • The chocolates my mom’s sister-in-law gave me, a pudgy child and teenager trying to lose weight and not succeeding, every Christmas, until my mom took pity on my tears and told her not to give me chocolates. She promptly snatched the chocolates from me and exchanged it for a box of tissues.

While writing, others step up to be acknowledged, but I am not going to allow them on stage and afford them status in my memories. But they lurk in the wings, taunting and snickering every time I open a present of women’s toiletries (the usual gift) from a colleague or relative. I hear them jeering in scorn, slicing my confidence to rags, chanting,Chucky doll

“Na na-na na-na nah!
You’ll never be a ma-an!”


Author: Kris

Hi! I'm Kris. I live in South Africa with my life partner of 27+ years, whom I call B or Madam in my posts. We have a Pug dog child, Remi, also known as Pooch, who has graced and enriched our lives for the past 12 years.

12 thoughts on “Christmas time, dysphoria is mine

  1. I hate Christmas because of the constant, insufferable music. I also carry the pain of years of stupid girl presents. Nothing like being 10 years old, so disappointed you want to disappear forever, but knowing you can’t shed a tear or all hell will break loose. Ugh.


    • At least shops over here have stopped playing music – slay rides in the show in hot South Africa -ridiculous in any case. Well, at least we are grown up now and can buy what we want and like. It is just that been seen as female still, that makes me cringe inside – but I suppose I will have to endure it, having chosen not to come out as trans. Take care.


  2. All I ever wanted was books … and I got ’em, until I was somewhat about 6-7, I guess. My parents brought me a pink dress. We were poorer than dirt, so they must’ve saved for ever for it. I refused to wear it. I have a memory of wearing it riding a tricycle (probably because my father was a lot bigger than me and used the usual tactics) and getting it dirty and torn. I got a thrashing, but never again did any girly presents turn up. I think they thought they were punishing me.


  3. I hate Christmas because I’m always asked what I NEED, not what I WANT. Most things I need I can already hit or I save up for. I might as well just get cash or prepaid gift cards.


  4. Christmas is really hard for me, too, but for different reasons. Growing up we didn’t celebrate it, but now Christmas means being hit almost daily with well-meant questions about family and spending time with them. Christmas, for me, is seeing so many images of the family I will never be apart of because I chose life, and that meant not having a family. One thing i do know, though, is that this holiday season is easier than last, for me. Not sure why, still in the same boat, but i guess I’m more experienced at coping with it.


    • When I grew up, it was only my mom and I at Christmas time, so I have a vague idea of how you feel without a family. But if this is what you chose, it must have meant a hell of a lot to you to have made the decision. I wish you well – and happiness. Take care of yourself.


  5. The list of inappropriate gifts is endless. Plus, we learn to not ask for what we want, because we will be criticized for wanting it. To this day I still have trouble asking for special things as presents and end up buying them for myself to make sure I get what I want. I learned to ask for books, records, and puzzles – but I always coveted whatever my brother got. I’m always kind of surprised when I get gifts that widely miss the mark – what were they thinking?


    • I guess I have accepted (but not without hope) that gifts almost always miss the mark. B has learnt to ask, or just outright tell me to buy something myself, she will pay. Maybe one day…