5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being Transgender
You’re probably wondering, how do I know if I’m trans?
Is there a test I can take that will tell me for sure? (There is! Sorta…)
1. You are normal.
This was my biggest hangup when I was a teenager.
I thought there was something very wrong with me.
It felt dirty, it felt naughty, perverted, and obscene.
It turns out, there’s nothing wrong with being transgender; it’s the self-loathing and internalized transphobia that was the problem. THAT’S what was wrong with me.
There is nothing wrong with you that hasn’t been wrong with millions of people since the dawn of time.
Everywhere in nature, you see homosexuality and transness in animals. Everywhere.
We have scientific evidence backing this up. We have proof that we are who we say we are.
And if you think it’s just a phase, it’s not. It never goes away.
On the other hand, pretending to be a straight, cisgender male… THAT was a phase.
So get over the idea that you are abnormal. It’s a trap. It’s a lie. And speaking of lies…
2. Don’t believe the lies.
I believed many lies. I believed that I was wrong, and that I shouldn’t exist, that no one would love me, and that I was too ugly to be a woman.
And, though I wasn’t very religious, I even believed that being transgender was a sin.
These are all lies.
Did you know, the bible says we have no gender? And that God doesn’t really have one either? It says we’re all equal.
Jesus never condemned homosexuality or the transgender condition.
What this means is that you should exist. You do exist, and I see you.
Many, many people have walked this path before you, and they found a way to make it work. So can you.
You are loved. You have value.
And that brings me to the next thing I would have told myself…
3. You are not worthless.
I see, in so many trans folks, talent, intelligence, independence and an undying spirit.
I see confidence, poise and grace.
We are doctors, teachers, lawyers, architects, elected officials, engineers and computer scientists.
There are transgender artists, dancers, activists, advocates, White House interns, and some of the bravest, most heroic, loving and kind people I have ever met.
I see this within you because I have seen it in so many other transgender people I have met. And I have met many transgender people in my life.
Your value as a human being is not incumbent on others’ judgement of the way you were born.
You are who you are, and regardless of what they think, you deserve happiness.
4. It’s not going to be easy being transgender, but it’s easier than you think.
When I first started transitioning, I had no idea where to begin.
For me, the two biggest obstacles I faced were facial hair and baldness on my head.
Turns out, wigs exist, and they look great. They can even be fun.
And yeah, shaving every day sucks… but there’s always laser, and electrolysis.
And until you can get those, makeup can do some incredible tricks.
But where things really get difficult is dealing with society.
Dealing with bigotry and hatred will be a taxing process that will continuously sap your strength.
But you have a lot more strength than you realize.
And every time you feel yourself getting close to the end of your rope, stop.
Breathe, relax, regroup and try again.
Only you can determine how far you will go, but only if you keep trying.
5. You are not alone.
I have been all over the state of Pennsylvania.
I’ve been to conferences in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
I’ve attended Prides in Philly, Chester County, New York, and several in Northeast PA.
And what I can tell you is that if there are as many trans people living in this small area as I’ve met, then there are far more of us than we realize.
We’ve done polls, studies and endless research, and we have a pretty good idea of how many of us are out there.
But we really don’t know.
And it never ceases to amaze me.
The diversity and ubiquity of the trans experience is amazing.
There are so many different ways to express gender identity and to be who you are.
So maybe you live in a small town, or you can’t travel, or you’re just young and haven’t had a lot of life experience, so you don’t know anyone else like you.
Hey, that’s ok; I was there. I thought I was alone.
But I wasn’t. I know that, now.
I’ve seen thousands of us, together, in the same space, each existing and living our lives.
So don’t feel alone; don’t feel like you don’t know anyone.
You know me… I’m trans.
And you know people like Jazz Jennings, Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Chaz Bono… You know Olympians, world class athletes, who are just like you, and they know exactly what you’re going through. They understand what’s like being transgender.
We all do.
Plus, you’ve got Tumblr, and Twitter, and Facebook, and Instagram, and SnapChat, and how many other ways to meet and communicate with other trans people?
If you’re watching this video, you know I’m here on YouTube, and there are many others who are, too.
You are not alone. Not even a little.
I hope this video helps you.
I know it would have helped me.
Until next time… Love each other.