General Advice for Figuring Out Your Gender Identity and Transition Path
Based on some of the questions we’ve recently received, here are some pieces of general advice on figuring out and coming to terms with your trans* identity as well as deciding on your transition path:
-If you are questioning your gender identity, the only person who knows if you’re trans* and whether or not you should transition is YOU.
-Don’t rush the transition process. Even if you are doing what is right for you, you need to take things at your own pace. For instance, I rushed into changing my name. While changing my name was right for me, because I rushed into it so much I didn’t have time to fully think about it and acclimate to my new name which caused a lot of discomfort, embarrassment, and confusion for me. Furthermore, I kind of regret not going over baby name books and really thinking about the name I chose. While I know I’d choose my name again in a heartbeat, I missed out on the whole process which can sometimes be as important as the end result.
-Confusion and doubt are not necessarily bad things. It may seem as though no other trans* people around you express any feelings of uncertainty, but they likely once agonized over their identity and decision of whether or not to transition. Gender is a confusing, intensely personal thing that sometimes takes a little while to figure out. There are a lot of risks and issues to consider that come with physically transitioning or coming out as trans* that can also serve as huge stumbling blocks for questioning individuals. It’s perfectly normal to be unsure if it’s worth the sacrifices to be able to live openly male or to change your body.
-However, if you’re experiencing a large amount of doubt, don’t do it! It’s always best to listen to yourself. If you feel you can not get by without living as male, that’s a good sign that you should. But if you feel unsure, flip flop, and haven’t thought about it very long, that’s a good sign that you should wait and keep thinking.
-It’s easy to feel as though no one will accept you or take you seriously, particularly if you don’t fit the typical transgender narrative, have a non-binary gender identity, or identify as anything other than straight. However a quick perusal of Tumblr makes it clear that there are plenty of femme, gay, and/or late-blooming trans* men out there. Just because you didn’t know when you were 5, had trouble figuring it out, love wearing the occasional skirt, enjoy being vaginally penetrated, or are attracted to male-identified people doesn’t mean you aren’t trans*. I won’t lie and say it will be easy for you, but I can say that there are people out there who will accept you and take you seriously (first off, we will, and so will many of the other great trans* people we know on Tumblr).
-Physically transitioning and identifying solely as male ISN’T FOR EVERYONE. You may simply feel “not female”, or identify as transgender/trans*, genderqueer, bigender, agender, etc. There are plenty of people out there who feel the same way, some of whom physically transition and others who do not. There are people out there who identify as 100% male who do not physically transition. Don’t let other people (either in-person or online) pressure you into feeling as though you must identify a certain way or live a certain way in order to properly claim your identity. Too often, other well-meaning trans* people will encourage others to transition/come out/identify as trans* because that is what worked for them and made them happy. This does not mean it will work for you, so you must search inside yourself and remain firm in your own convictions in order to figure out what is right for you.
-It’s okay to explore your identity. It’s okay to end up not being trans* at all. You need to give yourself permission to be open about who you really are and live authentically. It’s pointless to live your life being someone you aren’t, particularly someone you thought you once were but were wrong.
Hopefully that helps, let us know if you have any other questions on this subject that you want us to address.