This is a post that’s been brewing for a while. It’s hard thinking about this, remembering the scared baby trans I used to be. Thinking about all I still had to learn and go through. But it’s good to reflect on how far I’ve come. And who knows, perhaps it’ll help someone whose in that difficult place.
1) Take a leap of faith
You’ve been feeling this for a long time. For years you’ve felt like an imposter, never quite clicking with the gender you’ve been told is yours. You shied away from that knowledge because false certainty feels familiar. But you’ll never feel comfortable in your skin until you take that leap into the unknown.
2) You don’t have to know everything
It can feel like every other trans person knows who they are and have all this knowledge about who they are and where they fit into the community. It’s ok not to feel like that. First of all EVERYONE is still working shit out. Secondly that knowledge comes after recognising you’re trans and spending time thinking and experimenting. There’s no need to rush into a new identity, take time to learn about yourself.
3) This is as important as you want it to be
For some people being trans is one small part of who they are. For others it changes every part of their life and becomes a pivotal part of their identity. Neither one is ‘the right way’ to be trans. YOU get to choose how important this is to you.
4) It’s ok to inconvenience people
It can be scary to ask people to use new pronouns, or try a different name. It can be hard to ask people to do this thing for you, and awkward to insist when people make mistakes or push back. But it’s ok to ask people to do this for you. YOU CAN ASK PEOPLE TO DO THIS FOR YOU.
5) Actually clothes can be important
You might think that clothes aren’t important, that fashion is silly and frivolous. But clothes can help you express yourself and explore your identity. Ask friends to braid flowers in your hair, spend afternoons in clothes stores, play with makeup. Take some time to be a little vain and find your style.
6) You don’t owe people a performance
You’ll face new pressures as a trans person. People might expect you to adhere to certain models of transness and perform your gender in certain ways. You don’t owe anyone that. If you bum around in jeans and a t-shirt that in no way negates your transness. Listen to how you feel day by day rather than trying to match somebody else’s standards.
7) You don’t have to tell everyone
People don’t have a right to know this. Not everyone needs to know at the same time. Tell different groups of people as and when you feel safe and comfortable doing so.
8) You will lose friends over this
You want to believe your friends will continue to support you. But not all of them will. Some will say outright that they can’t accept this, others will show you through their actions. You can try to rationalise this in so many ways, but the simple truth is that it sucks. I wish you didn’t have to go through that pain.
9) You’ll make new friends
There’s a whole community of trans people out there, and you’ll connect with some of them. They will support you, love you, and help you see who you can become. Treasure these people, they’re among the best friends you’ll ever have.
10) Some trans people are pricks as well
The trans community contains a lot of wonderful people. But it’s not a utopia. There are people who’ll exclude you for being too fat, too loud, too much, or just because they’re shitty people. Be careful who you trust, don’t assume they’ll have your back just because they share this one thing.
11) You will get stared at in the street
Whenever you present as femme in public you’ll get stared at. Every. Single. Time. It hurts, less and less as time goes on, but it still hurts. Every single time. Wear your pride as armour. Never give them the satisfaction of seeing that pain.
12) It’s worth it
Despite all the struggles you have to face, you won’t regret this. Not for a single day. You can’t even see the growth and joy which branches out ahead of you. Life is so much better when you’re honest about who you are.
Writing this was painful and beautiful and cathartic. I hope you got something out of reading this too. If you’re trans yourself feel free to share something you wish you knew when you first realised. If you’d like to support my work you can check out my shop or tip me directly.