Posted: September 15, 2010 in Bodies, Education, Gender, Personal, Sex & Sexuality
Tags: , , ,

Not sure whether this warrants a trigger warning, but I’m going to put one in anyway because I’m describing an incident that triggered me.

Bloody fuck. Up until now, the whole idea of ‘triggers’ was a bit alien to me. I understood that they existed, were important and that one should try not to trigger people, but I always thought they only applied to other people. Perhaps people who’d had traumatic experiences – but I didn’t, so I wouldn’t get triggered.

I’m currently studying psychology, and today my class were asked to choose a psychological approach to explain certain disorders. Anorexia, depression, fine, blah blah – then we got asked to do the same to explain why a trans woman had had a sex change. One, the framing of it as a mental disorder was problematic. Two… everyone else just… knew nothing. The others on my table apparently couldn’t tell whether ‘it’ was a trans man or a trans woman (in their words, a girl or a guy) and concluded that it ‘didn’t matter,’ and then the rest of the class were referring to her as him, as ‘this gentleman.’ Every approach got proposed, with the most common being the psychodynamic one (Freud…)

Jeez. Someone had said prior to it that it might come up, but I thought that I’d be uncomfortable, not totally knocked-for-six. I couldn’t write any notes at all on that part of the lesson, and I was still in a numbed, shocked state a few hours later. Writing about it is bringing back a kind of echo of how it felt.

It made me feel like walking out, like yelling at them. I don’t like the way we, as students, are assumed to be straight and cis. It didn’t seem to enter anyone’s, even the teacher’s, head that there might be someone who wasn’t cissexual/cisgender. And I don’t think I am either (cisgender definitely not, cissexual more doubtful, but I’m beginning to think not). Most of my body I’m fine with, some of the sex characteristics I’m really not. Even if I was, even if everyone was cissexual, it still wouldn’t be right. And I feel really ashamed that I didn’t speak up about it.

That’s the first time I’ve ever been triggered, at least that badly. And it was utterly, utterly horrible. I just hope it won’t spoil psychology for me now.

  1. Rev. Caritas says:

    I was a psych major, and a similar incident had me drop out of that major altogether. I eventually dropped out of the college, six years into it be damned, honestly.

    • JKBC says:

      That must have been awful, especially majoring in the subject. It’s such a shame that incidents like this happen; no-one should be triggered while getting an education.

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