There were a few questions people asked all of the time when I came out:
- “How do you know?”
- “How can you think you’re not a girl?”
- “Are you sure?”
- “What if you miss your breasts?”
- “When is the first time you remember feeling like something wasn’t right?”
- “How is your family with it?” <———- depending on the timing and/or your situation, this one SUPER sucks.
Coming up with an answer for people isn’t always easy. Sometimes you want to keep it short and simple, sometimes you want to go into detail and sometimes, you don’t want to answer it at all. The questions we should have been asking ourselves are how didn’t we know and why/how did we wait so long?
It’s your story – to tell or not to tell. I decided to tell mine for a few reasons –
- If I could help one person be ok with just being who they are – then it’s a win.
- I want people, close-minded people to see that being trans doesn’t making us less or make me different or weird – if I’m different, it’s because I actually am. It has nothing to do with my gender identity. I’m successful, played basketball at very high levels, did my undergrad at a top 10 university in the US, have a master’s degree, a great job, friends and a family – seems pretty “normal” to me.
- Where I’m from, it would have been difficult for me to transition and go unnoticed. Too many people know me and too many people know my family to try and be under the radar. And why would I anyway?
I was so proud and relieved when it hit me and I took the first steps towards transitioning. I had something to look forward to – the possibility that what I saw in the mirror would match how I felt inside.
I needed the right set of circumstances that would allow me to really look at myself and be honest with myself. Until those circumstances occurred, it was like being in the dark to the real me. We get caught up being who people think we are or who we should be or we are so disconnected from ourselves that we don’t even know who we really are.
I had to ask myself difficult questions and actually be in a space where I could say the answer without fear of what would happen. I had to be strong enough and secure enough in who I really am in order to do it. I had to have people around me that I trusted. It all fell into place – things happen like that.
When it hits you – trust it. If you think it, ask yourself some questions – why do you feel that way? What do you think when you look in the mirror? Does it match how you feel or think?
Speaking of which, I hated my breasts – I hate writing that I had them. They were big – and terrible. Just awful – I never wore a real bra, (we’ll get into that at some point I’m sure), so on top of being like double d’s they were saggy and heavy. Like the grossest. My body dysphoria was severe. I could barely look in the mirror, hated to have my shirt off in front of my wife (and in general) – was just really self-conscious. Someone actually asked me before my top surgery if I was sure – or what if I regretted them and wanted them back. I almost choked laughing. I was 100% x Infinity & Beyond that I would NEVER miss them.
If you’re ready, the first and best thing to do is find a therapist. One that specializes in gender or working with the trans community would be most ideal. They will likely have contacts and additional resources that will be very helpful. Your therapist is going to play a huge role in your transition – once you get a good vibe going, trust them, open up and they will help.
I started therapy in November 2016 and when I walked in and sat down, my therapist said, “so are you transitioning from female to male or male to female?” That was huge and interesting. It sort of validated the look I thought I always had and also made me kind of give her the side eye like what??? You see these jugs.
I love therapy anyway because you can literally say anything. But, I started in November 2016 and got my first shot in February 2017 – came out publicly in October 2017 and had top surgery in November 2017. A lot happened over the course of that first year – if you’re ready, it can happen like that.
Next, check your insurance just to see if you have any coverage for it. Some providers offer it with a doctor’s diagnosis of gender dysphoria. It’s a small, yet still somewhat difficult, price to pay to get to who you really are.
More steps to come but remember this: only you know if and when you’re ready. Be smart, be sure, and be patient with yourself. You got this.