What If You’re Not Actually Trans?

How to cope with this terrifying question.

The Transgender Therapist

--

Photo by Shane on Unsplash

I came out as trans when I was 26 years old. I started hormones a few months later, and legally changed my name a few months after that. While I had many supportive people around me, it was still one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. I wouldn’t trade it, and I’m glad I embraced who I really am.

For the first couple of years, I was plagued by worries about the validity of my trans identity. What if I’m not really trans? I would think to myself. What if I’m wrong, and I’m making a horrible mistake? What if I have to de-transition, and I’m unbearably ashamed and embarrassed as a result?

Most of my worries were based in anxiety, meaning that they were future focused. These were things that had not happened yet, and may not have happened at all. For me, they didn’t. While de-transitioning is part of some people’s journeys, most trans people don’t have that experience. Unfortunately, people who de-transition are wielded as evidence that trans people in general aren’t real, which not only attacks trans people, but objectifies those who come to realize that they are not trans (or that they would prefer to live life as if they are cis, even if they’re not).

I still get these worries from time to time, though they are not nearly as prevalent. It’s been about five years now, and these concerns have eased as I have relaxed into my identity.

If you are trans, you may have asked yourself the same question. Dominant narratives about trans people insist that we all know that we are trans at a very young age, and that we have a linear and predictable experience in which we identify with a binary gender and never stray in terms of exploration. Jazz Jennings is a great example of this narrative. I’m so happy that Jazz has brought light to her trans experience, and that she is healthy and her wellbeing has been protected. That said, it is imperative that we discuss the spectrum of gendered experiences to help people feel confident and grounded in their identities.

If you are currently wondering about your own trans identity, or find yourself anxiously questioning, know that this is very normal. It’s extremely difficult to believe yourself when you are bombarded with messages…

--

--

The Transgender Therapist

Queer, white trans man living in the Pacific Northwest with a grudge and a sharp tongue.