Inconsistencies in my transgender experience

  • I wasn’t a masculine woman at all.
  • I wasn’t a tomboy, and nobody gave me a socially hard time about not being ‘girl enough’, or not being ‘boy enough’, or…anything, really.
  • I wasn’t a vulnerable young teen who encountered ‘trans’ online before applying it to myself. I was 27 and struggling internally, day in and day out, with intricate mental imagery and rumination that bubbled within me for my entire life. I ‘googled it’ after I couldn’t take it anymore, and only then did I learn that I was not alone, and that transition was possible (as well as applicable to me).
  • My parents didn’t treat my brother better than me, or expect anything different from either of us (or my sister).
  • I was already conventionally attractive, financially successful, and well-liked as a woman. There was no good reason to mess that up (are you familiar with the logistical and emotional workload that being trans actually is? Nobody takes it lightly).
  • I was (and am) incredibly shy and conflict-averse. I would never have pushed through the risk and horror of social transition if I thought there was another way to feel whole.
  • Before I came out, I kept myself completely isolated and said no to everything. Nowadays, I eat out or hang out with friends once or twice per week (I’m still an introvert, okay?), and it brings such joy to my life.
  • Before testosterone, I never cried and had to strategize to force myself to when it felt warranted (one memory of this was after a difficult argument with a loved one. I curled myself into a ball with headphones and blasted “Love the Way You Lie” on loop until I was finally able to get the tears flowing). After testosterone, I tear up at everything from story podcasts to beautiful art. It’s nice.
  • Before transition, my life was entirely controlled by my eating disorder behind the scenes, and my body felt like an intricate prison. Nowadays, I still have an eating disorder…with one-third the intensity, and no more social isolation. Gaining weight in a male pattern feels nowhere NEAR as terrifying to me as gaining it in a female pattern, and I now enjoy things (like beer and fried chicken and unplanned outings!) that I would never have dreamed of at 15, 19, or 21.
  • Five years after my hysterectomy, I still feel fantastic.
  • One year after top surgery, I likewise still feel fantastic. I match the image that was in my head as a small child, an older child, a preteen, a teen, and an adult. He’s quite the smiling, stubborn lad.
  • (Honestly, you should probably just talk to my mom or my partner or my coworkers and ask them what they saw before and after I transitioned. Some horrifying bullshit about ‘seeming so happy’ and ‘having light in my eyes’ and ‘being excited about everything’ and trivial fodder like that. I’m sure it’s nothing, though.)
  • I don’t want anyone else to be trans if they can help it…
  • …but if they are, I would like them to feel safe,
  • …to access the resources they need — slowly, honestly, intelligently, openly, and kindly,
  • …to be trusted, as dignified human beings who know themselves better than anyone else does,
  • …and to be left alone, in peace.



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Norm Julian

Norm Julian

Software developer, autist, and lover of cake (he/him/his). If you are gender critical, please read "Out of the Gray".