The Urban Dictionary defines Gender Euphoria as “The feeling a trans person gets when he/she/they are able to start presenting as the gender they identify as and people start treating them accordingly.”
My first full experience of gender euphoria was a few weeks after top surgery. I was leaving the county courthouse, just having completed my name change documentation. I also had had a new-ish haircut, and had been being called “sir” without a blink of the eye for a while by then. It felt amazing. I remember taking a selfie outside of the courthouse, and smiling wide (which is a challenge for me – I’m notoriously bad at selfies.)
Given all that trans folks have to go through to be able to present as we identify, and have people see us as such, the euphoria that can accompany it feels like such a gift. And, like all emotions, it’s not permanent, but for me, it seems to come back more and more often, and create a kind of settled feeling inside – the feeling of “yes, this is right.”
In that definition above, it combines the personal, internal act of presenting as the gender we identify with, and the exterior experience of validation. But in my experience, if I’m the one giving myself validation, I can still experience the euphoria. Of course, external validation feels good, and is helpful, but we can’t all depend on that, for a variety of reasons. Not all trans people can pass, and so validation both from ourselves, as well as our community is an important part of the process.
I do hope that as trans-ness, and gender-expansiveness in all of its forms gets more support and validation from society, we can all experience gender euphoria in all its fullness.