Myth Busters for Transgender Spectrum people
There is no right or wrong way to be trans. You can transition. Or not. You can take hormones. Or not. You can start hormones then stop. You can come out to people before starting HRT or you can start HRT then come out to people six months later. Choosing no medical transition is just as valid as any other decision. You can be stealth; you can be openly trans. Just because you are not cisgender, does not mean you have to adopt any particular definition.
You don’t have to be “feminine” to be female or “masculine” to be male. Descriptions that are categorized as either male or female are mostly social constructs anyways. If you choose to transition, that doesn’t mean you need to jump to the opposite end of the binary! Just because you don’t feel like “she”, doesn’t mean you must be “he”. Or, you can be “he” with long hair and stereotypically feminine clothes!
There is no such thing as being “too old” to come out, transition, or start hormones. Hormone Replacement Therapy still works no matter how old you are and I know people who came out at age 65. Better to live one day as your true self than 100 years of pretending to be somebody you are not.
Not all trans people have dysphoria. You can still be transgender and have little to no gender dysphoria. You do not need to hate your body. Some trans people have no desire to medically change their body while others hormonally or surgically transform their physical bodies without suffering a major dislike of it.
Coming out or transitioning is not always a linear journey and you do not need to feel certain in order to be trans. There is an unspoken expectation in society that we should have a sense of certainty about big decisions. Society doesn’t teach us or give us the tools to make decisions based off uncertainty so it is OK that doing so feels uneasy.
At first, moving forward in transition can be overwhelming but over time, it gets easier. Being trans does not necessarily stay hard forever. Plus, your definition of “hard” changes over time as you become more resilient. It can be debilitating, scary, even panic-inducing to look ahead at all the hurdles you must jump in order for people to see you as you see yourself- coming out, getting on hormones, navigating restrooms and employment and dealing with loved ones. But, you do jump those hurdles, one by one. Over time, the bumps and hurdles become less and less until one day you only see them in a rear-view mirror and when you look forward, you see your true self staring back at you in the mirror.
Be aware of the “initial reaction”. It can be just that – an initial reaction that will change over time. Get a bad first reaction to coming out? You just gave someone big news. Unlike you, who has been contemplating your gender identity for possibly years, they have had .1 seconds to process the information! Time, processing, reflection, love- all change people; reactions can become well thought out convictions and positive affirmations.
Coming out is not a one-time event; it can be a never-ending process. You get to decide if and when you tell people you are transgender; there is no rule book for this. Some people decide to go 100% stealth forever while others are openly trans with anyone and everyone they meet. Personally, I am somewhere in the middle. I am a self-made man. To me, that is sacred so not every person I cross paths with in life deserves this offering. And it is an offering! In fact, this is a silver lining of being trans –the opportunity exists to have a finely tuned barometer to deeply access any relationship; it takes a certain amount of courage every time you come out and not every person is worthy of that courage.
Fellow transgender people can also be gatekeepers. Trans individuals did not write the trans rule book. They may have written their own book, but they did not write your book nor do their definitions, expectations, rules, or choices dictate any of yours. There are trans people who will say you aren’t masculine or feminine enough. Some will say you can’t do this or you can’t do that, yet others will try to fit you into the binary. Never forget that your body or how you define yourself (if you choose to define yourself at all) is yours and yours only.
Get people in your corner! Asking for help is not weakness; needing help builds connection. Strengthening a gender-affirming support system is one of the most beneficial things you can gift yourself! Find other trans people, join social media groups, go on trans retreats, volunteer with trans youth, get a gender-affirming therapist or life coach. Having a few supportive people in your corner who encourage your true gender identity can make the challenges a lot easier!
Want more myth busting tips on testosterone and transitioning? Check out them out here!