For most of my early transition after coming out I felt pretty trapped. As soon as I had revealed that I might be trans I found myself bombarded with unprompted advice and guidance on how I could start “passing” as a woman, despite the fact that I had never explicitly stated that I perceived myself as one. When I turned to the internet for more clarity and diversity, I was primarily met with a sea of resources and stories that centered binary trans individuals, experiencing dysphoria over the bodies and genitals, all framed under the lens of moving from one binary gender to the other through a wide variety of physical and mental changes.
So, I figured that’s what I must have wanted too then.
A great deal of that first year was thus spent buying wigs, shopping for dresses, and trying my absolutely best to force my body, voice, and face to look as convincingly feminine as I could make those attributes, which of course was incredibly difficult given my wide shoulders, big chest, hairy body, and strong jawline. As a result, I just found myself hating my body more and more, becoming increasingly disheartened with the “progress” I wasn’t making.
Besides, I still wanted to keep my penis and overall didn’t want to change much about myself except maybe have small tits.
It wasn’t until halfway through my 2nd year of transition that I learned about non-binary people and started to hear their experiences. It was fucking revolutionary for me! Looking back, I really wish that somebody, somewhere along the way, had told me that I didn’t have to transition like everybody else, and that I was valid even if I wasn’t taking the paths expected of me.
So, here are 6 affirming statements about transitioning that I wish I heard years ago when first beginning my journey, as well as 16 selfies showcasing all the ways I’ve explored what my gender meant to me!
1. You can transition however the fuck you want to!
While you are certainly welcome to look to others for inspiration or ideas, no one trans person represents the whole community and no one transition experience serves as the only path forward. However you choose to explore your identity and expression is 100% valid.
2. The only person who has any say in your transition needs is you.
You can start on HRT and get gender confirmation surgeries, you can do one but not the other, you can keep on HRT perpetually or only stay on it until you get the changes you desire, you can focus more on social transition and gender expression only. Having trouble finding a supportive therapist, counselor, doctor or health practitioner? Consider reaching out to your local trans or queer community organization to inquire about a list of safe and affirming contacts for transition related care!
It’s your body, your rules.
3. You can change you hair, style, and general expression as much, or as little, as you desire!
If you want to go hard into a binary gender expression, go for it! But don’t be afraid to allow yourself space to experiment along the vast spectrum of gender expression and don’t be afraid to experiment with combinations of femininity, masculinity, and gender nonconforming approaches to your look if you’d like.
Alternatively, if you find yourself relating to a gender identity label but have no desire to change how you present yourself or to pursue any medical transition options, then that’s valid too!
4. It’s okay if a gender identity and/or expression doesn’t end up feeling right to you.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying out a label, or experimenting with your gender expression and ultimately deciding it’s not for you. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re stuck in a particular box, or shame you for changing your pronouns or dressing completely differently then you were while initially transitioning. If you thought you were trans but realize that you’re more gender nonconforming, or a crossdresser, then that’s great! If you thought you were a trans man but after learning about non-binary folks you now feel that’s you too, then awesome!
All trans and gender diverse identities are valid and nobody should ever be guilted, shamed, or invalidated for their evolving understanding of themselves.
5. You can be out as much, or as little, as you’d like.
As much as we celebrate folks who are proudly living their truths this month, it’s important to acknowledge that not everyone can be out, or even wants to be. Whether it’s for your personal safety, or even just your comfort, or any other reason, if you decide to transition quietly, in private, then that is totally your prerogative and nobody else’s.
While I and many others take a visible approach to our transitions, not everybody needs to do that and if anybody tries to force you out, or suggest that you’re not really trans unless you show it, be sure to clearly and aggressively show them the fucking door!
6. You’re doing great, you matter, you’re NOT alone, and you look fucking amazing!
Yes, you reading this right now! I’m fucking serious. I know how overwhelming it can all feel, how much adversity there is, how much hate is out there all over social media, how much pressure can sometimes fall on you from your peers, community, friends, family, etc. But you know what? None of that matters. What matters is your general health, wellness, and happiness. Trust in yourself, be kind to yourself, and know that there are so many out there like you going through similar experiences to your own.
And while it might not always feel like it, never forget: you’re a fucking hottie!
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