a helpful hint
I was feeling more alone and adrift than ever. The word "autogynephilia" haunted me. I turned back to trying to get the Internet to tell me what was going on.
I'd found some depressing communities for people who don't think they're trans, and one of them was called "crossdreaming". Like, you're not just crossdressing, you're dreaming that that could be your life, but it's just a dream.
I summoned the courage to make a post there, where I asked a pretty confused question about what to do about feeling like a trans impostor.
I got one response. You might be surprised, given the context: It contained a link to /r/asktransgender. Even in a place where most people are in denial, someone understood exactly where that confused question comes from.
I hadn't gone looking for /r/asktransgender before, because I didn't think it was for me. Because I didn't think I was trans. A kind soul telling me to go there changed the whole deal.
I read some pretty good questions and helpful answers there. I encountered links to /r/traaaaaaannnnnnnnnns, where I found endless silly memes that surprised me with how they spoke directly to my soul.
(Comic by skysquids)
I also encountered a YouTube video that was viral in those circles at the moment: ContraPoints' video called "Autogynephilia".
You probably know about Contra. She makes videos that are trans-positive (to an extent) and targets them at people who need to hear them, not necessarily people who already understand.
So, this is one data point, but her shtick worked. She reached me at exactly the right moment. She pointed at the sciencey-sounding word that was making me feel fake, and said, at length, what even is this bullshit.
Autogynephilia is a discredited diagnosis. I'm ashamed that I ever believed it. It harms the people it was intended to diagnose, which is one way to totally fail at psychology. It's also simply unscientific if you bother to test it.
The first study of autogynephilia that used a control group found that most cis women had this supposed disorder, when that was not even the thing that the study had set out to show. This was confirmed by a follow-up study that focused on this particular issue.
If you want to learn more about how AGP has been discredited, there's better sources than a YouTube video. I recommend this excellent article by Julia Serano. Myself, I hope this is the last time I have to refer to it.