If you are exploring your gender identity you may have a ton of questions. As an expert in gender identity and many years of working in the LGBTQIAA community, I get asked a lot of questions. I am incredibly grateful to be a part of the transition process for many people over the years. I wanted to share with you the most common transition related questions that I get asked and share my answers.
1. Is it normal to be confused about my gender identity?
Each person who is exploring their gender identity will have different experiences. However, it is common to feel confused about your identity. Here are a few questions that you may be asking yourself.
These are just a few common questions that you may be asking. Exploring your identity is a process. This means that you won’t feel the same way about your identity everyday. This doesn’t mean that you are less transgender, gender nonbinary, gender queer, or other identities. It just means that you are trying to figure out who you are and often it contradicts the flawed binary system our society perpetuates.
It’s okay and normal to question yourself. People don’t wake up out of the blue and think I am transgender, gender nonbinary, gender queer or other identities. Most people have felt this way at other parts of their lives and it isn’t something that falls out of the sky. That is why exploration is a process and a evolution of awareness.
2. When do I tell others about my identity?
This is completely your decision when you and if you feel ready to tell others. It will also depend on the strength of your support system. You may fear coming out to your family, friends, and/or job. Don’t let your fears suffocate you.
It is normal to feel this way and it helps to come up with a plan of how you will come out. This allows you to pick the best time, the way you will come out, and feel more in control. This will help you feel less anxious. You can’t avoid all of the worry and anxiety you will feel about this, but planning ahead, can decrease some of it. If you are struggling with a plan, talk with a supportive friend or counselor to get their feedback.
3. How will I know if I will physically look how I want to?
The obvious answer is that there is no way to know how you will physically look with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and/or gender affirming surgery (GAS). However, by researching how these medical transition work and having realistic expectations will help you have a better idea of the process. Your physical transition will not be a fast as you expect it to be and you will not see changes quickly.
The decision to utilize HRT and/or GAS is a big one. Every person who is transgender, gender nonbinary, gender queer, or other identity doesn’t go through a medical transition. You may decide to not undergo a medical transition. This doesn’t mean that you are less transgender, gender nonbinary, gender queer, or other identity.
If you do decide to explore your medical options, there is no guarantee that you will see all of the physical transitions you are expecting. Review what your expectations are of both HRT and GAS, discuss these with your counselor (if applicable) and doctor. Know the expected timelines of transition. You can find these in the World Professional Association for Transgender Healthcare (WPATH) Standards of Care. Also, talk with other people who have undergone medical transition and ask them about their experience. These things will help you manage expectations and make the best decisions in your journey to become your true self. Remember that your confidence and self-esteem are an inside job, so don't forget to work on this.
4. Should I start HRT before coming out to my partner or family?
This is a tough question to answer and will depend on you exploring pros/cons of this decision. It is common for people to begin HRT before they come out to their partner or families. Many people make the decision to start their medical transition because it helps decrease the gender dysphoria they are experiencing. Often, they don’t want to wait any longer because they have been experiencing dysphoria for a long time and want to feel better. Sometimes people don’t want to tell their family or partner prior to beginning medical transition due to fear they will try and talk them out of it or stop them. Others start because they want to begin the mental transition, which can decrease dysphoria.
I suggest that you write out a pro/con list. For example, telling your partner before starting pros/cons and starting before telling your partner pros/cons. Write out and review your list. This can help you figure out which is the best decision for you. It is scary to think that you may lose your family or partner by coming out as your true self. However, you have to live your life and find happiness. For many people, staying hidden and dishonest with themselves can lead to an increase in depression and anxiety. I know that you will make the right decision for you. Be gentle with yourself and take all the time you need to do what is best for you. You are not alone.
What questions do you have?
These are the most common questions I get asked about transition but there are many more. What questions would you like answered? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Also, be sure to check out my Ask Me Anything YouTube channel where I answer weekly questions that you want answers to.