I Transitioned 3 Years Ago. Here’s What I’ve Learned So Far.

No One Looks at Pronoun Pins

A “they/them” pronoun pin sold at Target.

Appearances Aren’t Everything

Some trans people, like the Youtuber Natalie Wynn, think that transition is mostly about “the aesthetic”. That is to say, that transitioning requires changing one’s appearance, and managing the impact that one’s appearance has on other people.

Contrapoints’ video on “The Aesthetic” of being trans.

New Names Are Easy to Learn; New Pronouns Are Not

Man, I wish I had known this one three years ago. I would have changed both my name and pronouns right out the gate. But that’s not what I did.

No One Looks at Gender on ID Cards

When I changed my name, I also legally changed my gender. In Illinois, a gender marker change only requires a letter from a doctor, so getting an M on my documents was pretty easy. It felt affirming and accurate for me to have that “male” signifier below my name.

A Few Years In, Misgendering Hurts Less

This is a simple and hopeful one. In my experience, the pain of being misgendered gets less and less intense as you become more comfortable with yourself.

Loving Myself Is So Much Easier Now

Before I transitioned, I was conventionally beautiful and academically accomplished, and I hated myself. People would stop me on the street to tell me how gorgeous I was. I graduated with a PhD at age 25, and secured a first-author publication in a top-tier journal immediately after. On paper my life was great. In reality, I would spend hours crying alone at night, wishing I could just disappear from existence.

My friend Jessie and I, at Pride in Chicago last year.

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