Q: Why did you transition from male to female? Do trans people set benchmarks for their transitions? What does it feel like to be fully transitioned?

Why did you transition from male to female?

Short answer: because I am a woman.

Medium answer: because I am a woman and I need to express myself as and be a woman.

Long answer: because living as a man never suited me and was really difficult to pull off convincingly, and ended up causing me a lot of trauma. Because I was increasingly miserable living as a man and I finally reached a point where I wasn’t going to be able to remain alive as a man for much longer. Because I’ve always felt that I was supposed to have been a woman (from my very first memories on) and that there was some huge mistake or joke that I was given a male body. Because I was in distress nearly all the time because my body wasn’t a female body. Because once I started to allow myself to express femininely, things got better, and the more I stopped forcing myself into masculinity the better things got. Because until I transitioned to female, I never knew what happiness felt like; I only knew degrees of misery, and had grown to accept that less miserable must be what it’s like to be happy. Because I am a woman.

Do transgender people set benchmarks for their transitions for when they know they’re complete?

Every transgender person’s journey is different, and you cannot use one person’s journey to predict another’s. I can only answer about my own experience, and my answer is: kind of…

My goal with transition is to reach a place where I feel comfortable inside of my own body, in my place within my relationships with other people, and in my place in society as a whole. When I started my transition, I made a list of all the potential steps I could think of as part of transition, from clothing and hair removal, to hormone therapy and legal name change, to breast augmentation, facial feminization and gender confirmation surgeries. The only thing I checked off as a definite was to reduce (and hopefully eliminate) my feelings of gender dysphoria, which is itself a nebulous goal. The reality was that I simply didn’t know what I needed, and I didn’t know what it would look like when I got there, and to be perfectly honest, three years in, I still don’t really know.

And that’s ok. I’ve made my peace with that.

What does it feel like to be fully transitioned?

Someone told me at the beginning of my transition that you never finish with transitioning. The more experience I get, the more I think that’s probably correct. And I’m ok with that. In some ways, I kind of like that.

I live as the woman I know myself to be and have for a few years now. That feels amazing! And it also feels pretty new and fresh. I have moments nearly every day where I’m amazed that I get to be a woman. It sometimes doesn’t feel real to me, yet here I am.

It feels like I’m finally at home in a body that has long been ill-fitting and uncomfortable. It feels like I am seen for who I really am, instead of the mask I performed for people to see. I finally feel like I belong (most of the time).

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