I never had a single “coming out as transgender” moment, either to myself or to others, and I’ve always found it difficult to know what dates to use to mark the change. In truth, transition is a process of continuous change, and it doesn’t have a discrete start point or end point. The nearest thing I have to an unambiguous starting date for transition would be August 10th 2016, about a month or so before my 39th birthday. I’d known that I was transgender well before then, but that’s the date on which I first made a clear decision to feminise my appearance, signalled it publicly (admittedly under a pseudonym on an obscure website), and then followed through on that intention.
The process took time. It wasn’t until late 2017 that I’d worked up the courage to wear dresses to work. In mid 2018, I started hormones, almost two years after starting social transition. By late 2018 I’d managed to have my transition noted on most official documents, including having the change marked on my birth certificate. By 2020 it had started to feel normal enough that I’d stopped experimenting with my appearance: my outfits had mostly reverted back to my pre-transition norm of black t-shirt, jeans, and boots, and to my own pleasant surprise I was passing in most contexts.
By this measure, August 10th 2021 marked five years in transition, and I didn’t realised I’d crossed that point until it occurred to me this morning. Using the best measure I have, today marks five years, one month, and six days in transition. In that time my world has turned upside down and inside out. Nothing is the same as it was.
It doesn’t feel like anything at all.
At some level I have this sense that it ought to feel like something. I ought to have some meaningful reflection on this phase of my life. So many things happened to me over that period: some good, others bad, some expected, others not. You’d think that, given all those givens, five years would feel like a big moment and I’d have some cause to look back and ask myself the “big” questions about gender identity, transition, and life. To comment on the political controversies that surround the lives of all transgender people, the relentless demonisation of trans women, and the effect that has had on me and the people around me. To say something about the trauma of the change process. I don’t though. I think I’ve exhausted those subjects. I’ve written a lot about those topics already. Nothing that I could say now would be anything other than a rehash. The thoughts and feelings are all still there, but they aren’t new or strange to me. They’re just a part of my history now.
Perhaps this is what self-acceptance feels like?