10 years ago, I came out as a transgender woman.
I knew the journey would be difficult and would be something I’d have to fight everyday for but I didn’t know it would enter me into the worst years of my life.
Naively I thought I would come out and everything would be fine, I had a good friend group from school, my family had always supported me, I stupidly thought it would be somewhat easy. Yeah, that didn’t happen.
My friends left, my family had issues, and the NHS put me on a waiting list so long that nothing actually happened other than gender identity clinic appointments and a few blood tests.
I was left lonely, depressed and frustrated, and was still nowhere near where I wanted to be. But it did teach me a lot about myself.
It taught me that I don’t need other people to validate me, it taught me that I’m actually a stronger person than I thought I was, it taught me that even in my deepest depressed state that I still had this underlying love for people inside. It taught me to care for other people no matter their situation and it helped me understand other people with identity issues and people with mental health issues. It helped me gain respect for people battling depression everyday, it helped me respect the lgbtq+ people that fight everyday for our freedoms. It taught me that my childhood has led to this mass amount of gender confusion which probably led me to thinking I was 100% trans in the first place.
It taught me that my gender wasn’t set in stone, but fluid. Which is why I have stopped my medical transition.
Its probably going to take a therapist to break this down into something coherent but I’m not a trans woman, I also don’t see myself as 100% male either. I honestly feel like there’s an in between and I’m somewhere there. I think that being brought up with toxic masculinity as an example and being set strict gender rules made me feel like to be happy, I couldn’t be male, because being feminine and gay was wrong and boys didn’t do that, so I decided to try and become a woman instead to match my feelings, personality, feminine traits to the gender norms I was brought up with – which in hindsight is a bit silly, but when its so ingrained that you are wrong – on a core level – what else was I supposed to think.
I truly thank other gender fluid/gender neutral people for speaking out and talking about their experiences because without them, I’d probably be heading down a medical path I’d one day regret to some extent.
So coming out as trans truly taught me that I’m allowed to be me, whatever that is, and if people don’t support it, I can make it through all by myself.
I don’t look back on the last 10 years and think of it as a waste of time, because of what I’ve learned, because of the experiences it gave me, because it taught me to be me.