I knew I wasn’t really a girl a long time before I actually wrapped my head around the idea of being trans. In middle school especially, all the girls seemed to have this moment where they veered into being young women who were so excited to get their first period and prayed for the day they’d have enough chest to justify getting their first bra.

I remember being twelve, much curvier than most of my classmates and having lived with a period for a year, and thinking they were all nuts. I just wanted these lumps growing out my chest to fall off, thank you so very much.

Looking back on it now, a part of me thinks, “Man, you should gotten to this transmasculine point a long time ago, kid.”

A big, big part of the reason why I resisted the trans label for so long was because I had all these vague notions and ideas about what transpeople did and what transpeople were that didn’t seem to fit with who I was.

In my head, transition had a false homogeny. I assumed that there was a One True And Right Way that each and every person went about transition. It was a 123, abc process with months of hormones shots that either caused homicidal rage or uncontrollable weeping and surgeries that created crude facsimiles of genitalia. And at the other end of it all emerged intensely masculine men and feminine women.

Again, looking back, I can never decide if I want to thwack my past self on the back of my head or pat my past self comfortingly on the shoulder.

I’m really not a traditionally masculine dude. I knew I wasn’t a manly man who does manly things. I didn’t fit in with the mental picture I had of what a transman was, so I spent a long time assuming that meant I wasn’t trans and, thus, couldn’t transition. I didn’t even do any research because I was so convinced of this true.

Fortunately, in the past couple years, I both became an LGBTQ Studies major and started participating in gender discussions online. I’ve long since known I was queer. That part I never really had any trouble with. I’ve been lucky enough to have the unwavering love and support of my family.

Gender, on the other hand, was something I never much thought about until right before I graduated high school. And it took more than eighteen more months for me to really learn enough to feel like I finally got the gender spectrum and, more importantly, that the spectrum applied to transpeople, too. Not gonna lie, it was a little bit like turning on a light.

I came to realize that transition itself is as unique as the people who want to transition. Some want surgery, some want hormones, some don’t have any desire to physically transition at all. And none of that keeps a person from being able to label as trans.

This was a total revelation for me and it opened up this whole amazing realm of possibility when it came to myself. I didn’t have to take hormones or get surgery or change my body. I didn’t have to fit an imagined definition of what it meant to be trans.

I can do exactly what I want! My transition is for me and me alone to shape and experience.

Deciding what I want out of transitioning is something I spent a lot of time thinking about over the past couple months. It’s something that changes, too, depending on the day and my mood and what’s going on in my life. Which, hey, I’ve come to realize is okay.

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