I’ve been thinking lately about how I never wanted to end up like this, this was once my nightmare. But I was wrong. I’m happy here.
When I was 14 I knew I was transgender. I knew about HRT and I also knew that I wanted it as soon as possible to help me start my transition. But I was also distraught that I had left it “too late” as the wrong puberty had already started. Irreversible changes had already begun which HRT could not undo.
I was friends with other trans teens who felt the same. We each believed that we were doomed. That pocket community in the early 00s was a haven for me, but it was also a place that often ran on fear. Back then every trans website or forum I could find was all about “passing”. The message was that if you couldn’t look like a cis person, you had failed and transition was pointless.
Whenever people sneer at young transitioners having a huge advantage, I remember those kids. Miserable teens who felt doomed and trapped. There’s nothing lucky about feeling that way.
My nightmare scenario was not being able to transition until I had moved out from my parents’ home, pending their potential disapproval. I was picturing that age 18 or 19 was the absolute limit, the furthest I could personally hang on. Anything more was unthinkable
In reality, I didn’t actually start HRT or even fully change my name until I was 26. A relatively young age overall, but still well after my envisioned worst case scenario, my ultimate deadline. I also began just after 25, the age often touted then as the game over point, where too much permanent “damage” would have been done to reverse.
But now I know that thinking is bullshit. I was dead wrong. Secondly, those priorities which were hyped as the golden rules of transition are seriously fucked up. Transitioning at any age would have been valid and worthwhile, whether at 26, 56, or 76, it’s never too late.
Transition has been the best thing I’ve ever done. No question. Do I look how I’d ideally like to, or how I envisioned I would now back at 14? No. But who even does? I’m happy. That is a hell of a lot more important.
Looking like a cis woman does not mean being happy. Life isn’t that simple. Being pretty is not the root of happiness and it is not the ultimate and only cure for gender dysphoria. The idea that traits that do not match cisnormative expectations of beauty are therefore ugly by default, is ridiculous. It is garbage thinking based on an elitist and capitalist society that wants you to feel bad and inadequate. Well fuck that noise, you’re beautiful.
Some trans people don’t even transition in any sense of the word, but they’re still happy, still valid members of our community. It’s vital to remember that gender is not limited to two binary pillars, two points of happiness with a void to be traversed between them. Gender is a giant concept with endless identities and expressions across it.
Meanwhile I’ve talked to people who do want to transition with HRT, as many do and as I did, but they’re afraid to start because they think they won’t be traditionally pretty or attractive. It always reminds me of being 14, of how deeply I was utterly convinced I had to be attractive, that I had to look cis.
If the 14 year old version of myself could be told I wouldn’t start HRT until 26, I would be distraught. I would expect myself to be miserable. But I know now that age is irrelevant, I’d simply been suckered in by too many websites telling me that being trans meant being perpetually depressed, ugly and disappointed.
Transition has not made my life better because I physically look closer to obtaining what’s considered feminine beauty traits. However, it has made my life better by allowing me to be myself and stop hiding. I feel free to wear what I like, call myself a name that resonates with me and feels like my own, allow myself to stop shackling and suppressing my personality to fit expectations that I never wanted, it’s let me be me. That’s a feeling that everybody deserves. It doesn’t matter how much time has already passed or how much you think you’ve got left, it’s still worth pursuing. There’s still time.
If you’re not transitioning because you think you won’t be pretty, then I want to stress there’s a lot more to transition. If you’re holding off because you think it’s no longer worth it, I guarantee you it is. It’s not worth staying uncomfortable simply because you have been for so long.
Transition can’t be measured in terms of success or fail, and it certainly shouldn’t be measured on heteronormative and cisnormative beauty standards.
If you’re having to wait to transition, I promise you it’s still worth it. If you’re reading this you’ve not missed your chance to transition, there’s no such thing.