Sunday, March 31, is the Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to celebrate transgender people and raise awareness of the discrimination we face across the globe.
I am a transgender woman.
I was born and raised in Kamloops and have lived here almost my entire life. However, it took me a long, long time to realize I was transgender.
It took me more than 30 years to finally understand that what made me different was just an example of the incredible variety of human existence — and not something of which to be ashamed.
Why did it take more than three decades?
Because of transphobia and ignorance, not just that of others, but my own.
Being trans is much better than it was and the steps other pathfinders took certainly helped me find my way, but we still have a long, long way to go.
For a long time, I was in denial that I was trans and I don’t know if I could have “cracked my egg” earlier, but here’s some of what I wish someone had said to me:
You don’t have to “know from childhood.” This “fact” is insidious. Transfolk who know from an early age are the ones who have the worst case of gender dysphoria. Many, if not most, of us didn’t start realizing we were different until puberty.
You don’t have to “hate your body.” Cisgender people (those whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth) generally like being their gender.
Humans have an amazing ability to rationalize that which they think they can’t change. Wanting to be the other gender is enough.
You don’t have to have gender dysphoria constantly. For most people, it comes and goes in waves. It is intense sometimes and not so bad at other times. But you should know it doesn’t get better with age.
While this doesn’t apply to me, you don’t have to just be female or male. Gender is a spectrum. Non-binary people exist. Some feel like they’re part female and male simultaneously.
Some feel female or male at different times. Some people don’t feel like they are any gender at all.
Finally, if you think you’re transgender, you probably are.
Cisgender people just don’t obsess about this subject like transgender people do.
They certainly don’t think about it daily for weeks, months and years.
Boys don’t want to be girls — or vice versa.
You’re trans enough.