7 Things I Wish I’d Known About Being Transgender

These are the seven things I wish someone had prepared me for.

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Photo by Kyle on Unsplash

1. You’ll lose friends and family

I’m starting with this one because it’s the hardest truth but it is the truth. You will lose friends and family members due to your gender transition, plain and simple. I have family members that stopped talking to me after I came out as Danni and won’t return phone calls and texts. I have queer women friends who stopped talking to me the moment I came out and crossed the line into masculinity. My parents lost their sh*t when I told them I was having top surgery and I’m not sure what will happen to our relationship moving forward.

2. A gender transition may be too much to bear even for your liberal parents

This is one I really want to make clear. Just because your family and friends vote liberal does not mean everyone will be on board with your gender transition. Voting one way and supporting your friend, child, cousin, etc. through a gender transition are two very different things. A lot of folks are still very much misinformed, even if they in theory support LGBTQIA+ rights. It’s one thing for your parents to vote for LGBT rights; it’s another to have your son in front of you, who you once believed to be your daughter, saying “I’m going to have my chest surgically operated on and they’re removing my breasts.” Being trans will challenge the progressivism of those around you. It will not just be your Trump-supporting relatives that struggle to accept you.

3. It’s like being a teenager all over again

I have one word for you: hormones. Most transgender folks (although not all) opt for taking hormones, which in my case as an FTM means taking yes, testosterone (or T, for short). I’d heard about T prior to taking it, and knew it got a bad rap and knew that it was the culprit behind men’s high sex drives.

4. Your sexuality may shift

One of my biggest pet peeves is when folks conflate sexuality with gender. They are two different questions. And yet, they seem to do a dance together. They are interwoven, undeniably. Before I started taking hormones, I primarily identified as a gay ‘woman.’ I was exclusively interested in dating women and I operated as a woman. Now on testosterone, I’ve almost entirely lost my interest in dating women and have swung back towards only dating men, leaving me to wonder if I am, in fact, a gay trans man.

5. It’s worth it

There have been many times I have wondered to myself: is this actually worth it? For all the fights with my parents, friendships lost, the misgendering, the lack of respect towards me, the microagressions, the money, the 200 phone calls I’ll have to make for my official legal name change when its clears…is it worth it?

6. You’re going to be okay.

Recently I had the chance to be on my friend’s podcast in Mexico where I spoke about my transition. You can give it a listen here if you speak Spanish and want to hear my full transition story. She asked me for one piece of proverbial wisdom to pass along to those on this path like me. That’s a big question and not an easy one.

But what I said was this: you’re not always going to feel okay, but you are going to be okay.

I repeat: you’re going to be okay. I don’t know how exactly, but keep putting one foot in front of the other and things will get better. At least that’s been my experience.

7. If you want to survive, you’re going to have to learn to ask for help.

Being transgender may mean walking through a medical transition. This is one of the arenas I was sorely underprepared for. For starters, a medical transition is extremely expensive financially, even after insurance for many of us. On top of that, recuperation from surgeries can be very lengthy and invasive. You’re going to need help and all the support you can get.

Author, Storyteller, Poet, and Queer Mental Health Advocate. Transgender Badass ~ he/him/él 🌈

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