All trans people, whether they’re on hormones or not, whether they’ve had surgery or not, are valid. Neither one of us is more trans or less trans than the other. There is a toxicity that I have noticed from people both in and out of the LGBTQIA community, which is the belief that if you have not medically transitioned then your ‘transness’ is invalid. This is an incredibly negative and absurd view as it reinforces sexist ideals and stereotypes and reduces people’s identity and value to their genitals.
I am a 25-year-old transgendered man, who has socially transitioned and not medically. I came out as trans about two years ago and whether I will take hormones or not is something that I ask myself every day. However, whatever decision I come to, the fact remains: I am absolutely 100% trans enough.
Often, when meeting new people and in conversation, I say I am trans and my pronouns are he/him. I then usually get asked ‘How long have you been transitioning?’ To which, I simply say, ‘Well, I have transitioned,’ Or another question, I frequently get asked is, ‘How long have you been a man?’ To this, I reply, ‘All my life.’ Both of these responses usually get met with puzzled expressions. I observe that these people’s brains are slowly imploding.
Another incident was after I did a public presentation at an event on this very matter. I explained my journey and how my transness is not invalidated just because I’m not currently on hormones. I was approached by a cis woman who then lectured me saying that my message was too forward thinking and that ‘actual’ trans people need to have the medical procedures. She said she worked with a trans charity and helped a lot of trans people get the medical care they wanted and needed. There is no doubt that hormones and surgeries can be life-changing and life-saving and I support any organisation that helps trans people get them. However, this was a classic case of a cis person policing a trans person’s identity and she made an awful lot of assumptions about me. She had worked with a few trans people, and therefore assumed she knew everything there is to know about being transgender. Unfortunately, there are plenty more people out there who think like this.
It is going to sound perhaps a little cliché, but we, as a society, are so hooked on people’s appearances. Maybe because I, and many other trans men, may not look like what someone’s idea of a man is (whatever that is meant to be anyway), they continue to misgender us. Even after we have told people tirelessly our correct pronouns. It is bizarre, and I speak from personal experience here, that it seems unless there are any significant physical changes that people can see on a trans person, they do not take our identities seriously. This, of course, is incredibly dangerous and damaging to our lives and this is made clear by the trans murders and suicides forever on the rise.
We must understand that not all trans folk prioritise or desire procedures, such as hormone therapy and gender-reassignment surgeries. While many of us do undergo medical transitions for cosmetic, psychological, and/or health reasons, many of us also do not for whatever personal reasons.
As mentioned earlier, I am undecided about whether to undergo medical transition. And if I do, I know that too comes along with my many struggles and challenges. Being trans in a cisnormative world is certainly not easy.
So, that’s my story. That is one story from one trans person out of the millions and millions of other stories there are in the world from other trans folk. All are stories are different and just as important as each other. We are not going to be all on the same journey, not all of us are going to go through the same experiences. There is no mathematical equation, no rule book, no step by step guide on being trans.
I think when people can finally see and understand that knowing one story from one trans person does not mean that all of a sudden they know all of our stories, then we may have some more hope of transphobia being completely erased. Until then, educate yourself because no-one is going to do it for you.