On the Spectrum of Gender

Becoming Me


“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
― C.G. Jung

Do you think you might be transgender but you aren’t sure?  It is okay to be unsure. 

If there is one thing, I wish someone had told me while I was trying to figure out my gender identity, it’s this – Having a different narrative from most other transgender people does not invalidate your transgender experience or mean that you don’t exist somewhere on the transgender spectrum. 

My mom dressed me in hand-made dresses that she and my grandma had spent hours sewing.  I never tried to take them off, rather, I climbed trees and played in the mud in lace and pretty slippers.  Getting my hair braided was my favorite thing and I regularly attended slumber parties with the girls.  As a teenager, I remember wanting to get my period so bad because it meant that I was growing up; when I did, I was proud.  Unlike most kids I knew, my childhood held some of my most precious memories and I was truly a happy kid.  In fact, I can’t think of a single thing I’d go back and change.  I still turned out transgender. 

Much of figuring out who you are has to do with breaking down gender stereotypes. 

You don’t have to identify as a man in order to not be a woman.  Gender is on a spectrum and falling outside a binary is perfectly valid.  You don’t have to take hormones or you can take them for a while and then stop.  Every day is a new day in your gender journey and every day you get to wake up, reflect on your decisions, your identity, and your state of being and make a choice as to which path to take.  You wake up every day and determine who you are and who you want to be.  Nothing in life is written in stone, and the transgender journey whether a medical one or not, is as changeable as you want it to be.

Below are excerpts from my journals and you will see that my timeline was not a clear and concise one, nor was it linear. 

2013

Oh my god, these [masculine] bodies! I had been trying to get my body to look like this through countless hours at the gym for so many years I could not count.  For as long as I could remember, I had longed for broad shoulders and narrow hips and a muscular shape.  I identified with so much of what I was seeing!  I was overcome by jealousy.  I wanted what they had.  But, how could I be transgender?  I’d never thought about wanting a beard.  I had been a happy kid.  I had played with Barbies and dolls and had even been obsessed with Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie and had dressed up as her in hand-made pioneer costumes, complete with bonnets and long braids.  How could I possibly be a boy?

January 23, 2013

I don’t know if I necessarily want to be a “he” but “she” does not seem fitting either.  Every time I think of something to say in my head, it just sounds stupid to me.  I resent the fact that I have to just choose one gender or the other, like anything in life is that black and white? 

2015

The thing is, all these years of researching this transgender thing has brought me to the conclusion that gender is a spectrum; there are all kinds of gender variant people and I fall somewhere on that spectrum.  Exactly where, I am not sure. Perhaps I’ll always be figuring it out; perhaps it’s fluid; perhaps I’ll be ever-changing, transforming and maybe that’s okay?  Maybe it will be liberating to not know exactly and therefore, not have to fit an exact definition?  Somewhere along the line, somebody just solidified these definitions – boy or girl and I was forced into a category.  Well I want out.  These definitions and rules have been socially constructed and seem arbitrary for me.  

August 25, 2016

I realize that I feel like I never really had the correct puberty.  I never had the excitement of hearing my voice drop and everyone’s comments acknowledging the change. I never got to shave for the first time and brag about getting facial hair as a rite of passage in becoming a man.  I never got a less-than-proud moment brushed off with the comment, “Boys will be boys”.  Girls don’t have a saying like that- a saying that is mindlessly ingrained in our culture, asserting that there is some way you can be, by nature, and it’s just okay.  I am stuck in time – a 34-year-old in a pre-pubescent body, a boy that has yet to grow, a boy that masquerades as a female.

September 6, 2016

I am so afraid to take testosterone but I crave it.  Would I be starting a process that would never really be finished?

September 19. 2017

Why would I want to be a person or live a life that nobody is excited of- someone or something that everyone tolerates at best?  They wouldn’t approve of me.  They wouldn’t understand the changes or be excited to see me change.  I could lose people.  My relationships could deteriorate.  I could have a hard time finding a job or fitting in.  Who would want to live like that?

November 15, 2017

When I put everybody else out of my mind, hormones seem completely reasonable – becoming the person I want to be.  It can’t hurt to try right?  What IS a mistake anyways?  What IS a regret?  Is it a venture away from the person you thought you were?  I am not convinced that following a journey to discover yourself could ever be a mistake.  I feel like I owe myself every opportunity to transform every day.  There are so many norms, judgement, fears, and mental blocks that keep people from exploring and discovering themselves.  People are hard-wired to walk this earth avoiding judgement and discomfort.  Every day I must face discomfort.  I feel it and I walk through it and I’ve never let it side-line me from my own life.  How can other people define who I am? 

I have to do this. 

I have to trust the person I know I am under everything.


“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

2 thoughts on “On the Spectrum of Gender

  1. It is really generous of you to share your diary entries from years past. It’s brave, without a doubt, in your own journey, but generous in the way it might help so many others. For me, it’s eye-opening, as I’ve never known anyone (at least, anyone who’s cared to talk about it with me) who’s gone through what you have. For very different reasons though, I understand the conflict between pleasing self vs pleasing others. Sometimes, doing the former and ignoring the latter feels impossible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hello! thank you for your thoughts! I think you are absolutely right – the inner conflict of pleasing others vs. pleasing yourself (or living your life according to other people’s expectations vs, living your life for yourself) is a universal conflict! Everyone experiences this so I hope that I am about to inspire others to be true to themselves. The people who are really important will still love and accept you even if you did not do exactly what they wanted you to do. i think being authentic is a good way to “weed out” the people that you don’t need in your life anyways! I say “you” but I am talking about people in general. Thanks again for your thoughtful comments!

      Liked by 1 person

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