There is no one single thing, but a multitude.
- As a very young child, I told other kids and adults that I was a girl – multiple times. Once I learned that sharing that information wasn’t safe, I kept it locked away inside of me.
- Every birthday, every Christmas, every shooting star, every coin in a wishing well was spent wishing that I would become a girl.
- Most nights, I would pray to God to wake up in a girls body.
- I partially dissociated from my body at the onset of (male) puberty. I never regained a connection to my body until my second (estrogen-driven) puberty.
- I had a near constant sense that I was supposed to be a girl/woman, and that my life would be much better had I been born in a female body.
- When I saw girls and women in pretty dresses and feminine clothes, I wanted to also wear those clothes.
- I craved close relationships (non-romantic) with other girls – like I saw them having with each other.
- When I felt something towards other girls/women, while I might want to be with them, I really want to be them.
- I felt like I must have missed out on the manual on how to be a boy. Other boys seemed to know how to be boys without even thinking about it, but to make it convincing, I had to study and plan and work hard at it.
- I’ve always had an easier time making friends with girls/women than boys/men.
- The times I was someplace with a group of girls and treated just like one of the girls, I was at my happiest and strongly felt like I belonged.
- As a kid, I had intense waking fantasies where I would be a girl, even when other people saw me as a boy. I had fantasies where my genitalia changed into female genitals and I grew breasts. Or that I could shapeshift at will (which would usually end up with me as a girl)
- When shopping with women, I got intensely jealous of their freedom to browse and try on women’s clothes.
- Despite decades-long efforts to eradicate these thoughts and feelings of being a woman, they persisted and were constantly with me.
But the moment that sealed it for me was when I realized that all of the questions I had about myself — all the confusion, the shame, the guilt, the doubt — all of these questions were answered by “because I am a woman”.
- Why do I feel drawn to wear women’s clothes? Because I am a woman.
- Why do I get jealous of other women for being able to just be themselves? Because I am a woman (but cannot express that)
- Why can’t I make these thoughts and feelings of being a woman go away? Because I am a woman.
It fit. Perfectly. And the more I allowed myself to accept that I am a woman, the better everything got for me — the more everything made sense!
Starting hormones (estrogen) caused my body to begin to develop female characteristics, and they made me happy. They felt right. They fit.
Having bottom surgery to get my vagina calmed parts of my brain I hadn’t even realized had been in constant turmoil. Having a vagina feels right. It fits.
So like I said, there’s no one specific thing, but when I look at all the clues, there’s no denying that it’s the truth for me. I was assigned male at birth, but I was born a woman. And that makes me transgender.