Q: What was the hardest part of admitting you’re transgender? Why does being trans suck? Why is there more confusion about gender?

As a transgender person, what was the hardest part of admitting to others that you are transgender? Have you ever questioned being transgender?

The hardest part of admitting I am transgender was admitting it to myself! I invested so much time and energy into proving to the world (and to myself) that I was a man, that to admit it to myself, I basically had to accept that all of that effort was ultimately unsuccessful. But once I finally did admit it to myself, things almost instantly got better for me; my anxiety dropped significantly, my emotions improved, and life just began to make a lot more sense to me. Telling others was easy in comparison.

Of course I questioned being transgender. It’s natural to question such a complex thing. But for me, once I finally admitted to myself that I am transgender, the questioning stopped. I no longer had the lingering questions that had troubled me previously. All of my questions were answered with some variation of “I’m a woman, but people thought I was a man.”

So telling other people was easy. “I have struggled with this for a long time, but with a lot of introspection and help from others, I’ve discovered that I am transgender.” I didn’t leave any room for argument – there’s no argument to be had! Other people either accepted me as I am, or found their part in my life diminished or eliminated.

Why does it suck to be transgender?

For me, what usually makes things suck is other people. When others intentionally misgender me or use my dead name; when others point out all the ways I’m not performing femininity perfectly; when others complain that by behaving femininely I am perpetuating gender stereotypes; when others call me “boy”, “man”, “man in a dress”; when others give me the hairy eyeball which tells me they are suspicious of me just because I am trans; when I am excluded from women-only events just because I’m trans; when I’m told that my being a transgender woman is a choice; when I’m told that I’m mentally ill just because I’m trans; when someone calling me on the phone asks me “you’re {Me}?” (with a tone of “are you sure?”).

Otherwise, being transgender is really awesome!

Why is there an upsurge in the confusion about gender?

There isn’t. There’s an upsurge in people sharing their experiences because for the first time, there is enough safety and media representation for us to feel secure enough to do so.

Even 10 years ago (let alone 30 or 50 years ago), a person expressing issues with how they experienced their own gender was met with horrible stigma and judgement, and unless that person happened to approach one of the few enlightened providers, they faced de facto conversion therapy to try to “cure” them of those feelings.

Thankfully, science, psychology and medicine have advanced and have reached the conclusion that confusion about or non-conformity with gender is not an indication of any kind of mental illness, and does not need to be cured (and indeed cannot be cured).

Transgender and gender non-conforming people have been around since people have been around. We have always been here, but are just now finding our voices in numbers large enough to be noticed.

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