Samantha Jane, is a scientist and GenderGP community member.
The notion of transition is one which attracts a lot of debate both inside and outside of the trans community, though the two perspectives vary considerably. As someone who is going through the process, I wanted to share my personal views on why that is and what transition it means to me.
Outside of the trans community, there seems to be a perception that transition describes a change-of-state from being male to being female – or vice versa. One day you are one gender then you decide to transition and – hey presto – you are the other. It’s like turning on a light, very binary and instantaneous.
Wouldn’t THAT be nice!
Sadly, the reality is very, very different. In truth, the suggestion that transition is a quick process is at best misguided and at worse misleading. So where does this perception come from?
It all seems to boil down to the simple act of changing one’s physical presentation. To the outside world – friends, family, colleagues – this is the identifiable shift. The moment that the “change” took place. To anyone undergoing transition, this is the first public step on the path to realising their true selves – after months and often years of secret contemplation, self analysis and dysphoria.
In some cases, this period of secret contemplation, self analysis and dysphoria doesn’t even have a label. The individual in question just knows that something is wrong. That’s how it was for me. I would look in the mirror and see someone else staring back. For a long time I couldn’t understand why I felt like this, particularly as I had no reference points and I certainly didn’t know anything about being trans.
Again, speaking from a personal perspective, time has been the most significant factor in my transition which has been ongoing for many, many years.
Indeed, I see transition as a continuous process with no defined start, and no defined end. I have been on this journey all my life, sometimes moving faster, sometimes slower, sometimes even backwards. I don’t expect my “change process” to ever be complete. Never has the saying been more true: Life’s about the journey – not the destination.
The question of what destination you are aiming for is an important one. Personally, I think it is better to not have a final goal, as it can often lead to disappointment. So perhaps it is better to just continue your journey along a chosen path and find a place where you are comfortable.
It is important to realise that there is no right or wrong result in your transition. It may or may not mean a radical change to your appearance. Some people require a complete makeover for their gender dysphoria to be resolved, while others may need less.
For a time I thought I was genderfluid and that is where I planned to be, but with time I have slowly moved to the female end of the spectrum. To be honest, if you had told me this at the start, I would have laughed it off because at that time, I needed a little masculinity in my life.
The final and major misunderstanding that many outsiders make, is that transition is a conscious choice. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A trans person doesn’t decide to transition – the only decision they make is if, and when, to tell their loved ones.
There is no formula for the perfect transition. Everyone is different. What is important is that you start with your needs, rather than worrying about those of the people around you. Whether you end up fully transitioning, being non-binary or genderfluid – whatever you choose, your journey is valid. Wherever you end up, as long as it’s where you want to be, then it is fine.
Enjoy your transition!
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of GenderGP or the transgender community.