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Am I trans? This is the question many of us ask as we begin our journey to being our true selves. Some of us still ask it well into our transition.

It is the question many will wrestle with over and over again. Some people for their entire lives. For some they just know the answer. Some of us ask it much later in life. It is the one question many people ask when they enter a transgender forum or talk to a group for the first time. It is often the most difficult question to answer.

The usual response that you will receive is that “only you can know who you truly are”. Though it is the correct answer, it leaves us still pondering who and what we are. It still leaves us asking the question, “Am I Trans?”.

So as you ponder this question in your head maybe you start to think about events throughout your life. Maybe you raided Mom’s closet when you were younger. Maybe it was a dress or some stockings you put on that you just felt right about and you could not explain to yourself why you were doing it. Maybe it was Dad’s stuff you went through or you wanted to get rid of your long hair to look like his and you did not know why. You probably felt guilty for it afterwards. Perhaps even shame.

As a kid you may think maybe you are just a tomboy or an effeminate guy. Thoughts cross your mind and any action towards these feelings would often result in ridicule from a parent or relative. You are not girly enough or you are too girly. Dad tells you to “man up!” or Mom says, “that is not ladylike!”. You start to repress these thoughts. You begin to wonder if you are just gay or lesbian. Maybe you begin to explore it. It just doesn’t seem to work.

“YOU GO THROUGH MOMENTS WHEN YOU SEE A PAIR OF SHOES OR A DRESS AND YOU FEEL THEM PULLING AT YOUR CONSCIENCE.”

So you go through life repressing these feelings. You do what society expects you to do. You may even get married and have a family. You get involved in them and it helps to distract you from yourself for a while. You go through moments when you see a pair of shoes or a dress and you feel them pulling at your conscience. You secretly wonder what it would be like to put them on. Maybe you dream about growing facial hair and having muscles. It is different for all of us but yet it is the same.

You eventually reach the point where you can no longer be the person society wants you to be. You start to come to terms with the fact that you are just not like everyone else. You begin to realize most of the depression you have experienced throughout your life is caused by the suppression you imposed on yourself. You realized why you just wanted to stay in bed all day. You start to realize that maybe you are in the wrong gender.

This is the moment we know as “when your bell rings”. That is the moment of realization. Once it happens it is hard to put that genie back in the bottle. You begin to understand who you are and now you start to think about what to do now. You have all the pressures of society. You have the risk of losing people in your life. You wonder if you are strong enough to go through with it. You scour the Internet. You watch a million transition videos on YouTube and wonder if you have the guts to really be free like that. You try to convince yourself you are not transgender. You tell yourself you would just be so ugly or that there is no way it would be possible. You wrestle back and forth with yourself. You wonder how your parents and friends will react. You worry about your job.

Though our stories vary, many of these things are common. Maybe you may end up in a Reddit forum or an online group asking the question, “Am I trans?”. Many of the emails I get here at Transgender Universe ask that very question. I’ll do my best to answer it.

“PERSONALLY I USED TO THINK EVERYONE WONDERS IF THEY ARE GAY OR TRANSGENDER.”

Though it is right that only you can know who you truly are, I can say this. If you are asking this question, you probably are. Personally I used to think everyone wonders if they are gay or transgender. I was even surprised to learn that most people don’t think about these things. Most people don’t have to go through life wondering what their gender is. They don’t even question it. If you are asking this question there is a reason for it. You need to answer the question even though you probably already know the answer deep down. It is fear from the pressures of society that make it hard to answer. This is because if you realize you are transgender, you may have to go through the challenges of transition. You will have to go through the challenges of a society that doesn’t accept you. You have to give up everyday privileges that most people take for granted. You may have to figure out how to pay for it all and endure painful surgeries or treatments. It is a long road.

Just know that society is what makes you feel bad about it. It is what makes you feel shame and fear. It is the very thing that makes you wonder if you can go on and if life is worth living. I can tell you it is worth living. By being yourself you help all of us. You get to make a change in the universe even if it is just one person who opens their eyes because of your journey. Your decision is whether you want to be who you are or what society thinks you should be. It belongs to you and no one else.

So if you are asking yourself, “Am I trans?” I would suggest you see a gender therapist as soon as possible. They can help you answer that question for yourself. Just know that the decision is yours alone and it doesn’t mean you have to transition. You deserve to be yourself and what society thinks does not matter.

Stay safe and keep fighting for all of us!

Love and peace,

Mila Madison

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