Today, 31st March, marks one year since I fully came out as trans to everyone I knew, and changed my name on legal documents and online profiles. I wrote my original coming out message with shaky and doubtful hands, both excited and terrified about the future. 31st March is also, poetically, Trans Day Of Visibility. I did not choose this date accidentally.
Here’s how I’ve progressed; two years ago, one year ago, and this week:
Twelve months later, I feel like I’ve grown a lot in confidence and have started feeling so much more comfortable, both socially and in my own skin. Progress hasn’t been linear or all perfect by any means, but compared to a year ago, and definitely compared to two years ago, I feel that my life has improved immeasurably.
Reading back through my initial coming out message was really quite a trip. I remember quite vividly how nervous and scared I was, even though I was out to many people, including work. I lacked so much confidence and conviction, and I tiptoed my message so carefully to try and not alienate or scare people away. Something therapy has shown me quickly is how much I based my self-worth and identity based on how others perceived me and valued me, and I’ve been actively working to unlearn this.
Today, I am more unambiguously me. There’s still so much personal growth I will do in the future—this is a lifelong process for everyone!—but I feel so much more surefooted in who I am. And I’m slowly working out who I am a bit clearer. To think, two years ago, I just didn’t really know my emotions all that well, and I was absolutely terrified of my gender thoughts and feelings running through my head. And to be honest, throughout my teen years and into early adulthood, I didn’t truly have that strong emotions and I felt so… disassociated from things. It’s going to take a lot of work on my part.
Beyond socially transitioning a year ago, three hundred days ago today, I put on my first estrogen patch and started interfering with the very fibre of the universe. I mean, changing and modifying aspects of my biological sex as a marvel of modern medicine. It’s not something that every trans person can or does go through, but for my story it’s been incredibly beneficial and has made a massive positive improvement upon my life. I talk about the changes I’ve experienced in length here, there’s been a number of physical and mental changes that have come from this medical transition so far, with far more to come. It is just incredibly cool that the human body will just grow tits when presented with estrogen!
Among other things, hormone therapy has softened and thinned my skin, made my skin and hair drier and less greasy, and it feels like it has relaxed and tempered my mood. I think transition as a whole has made me feel more emotions, both happy and sad, a lot more vividly; like discovering a piano having more than just one octave of keys. It’s been really fantastic. Of course, this journey is far from over, my body is continuing to change and develop, and I’m really excited for how things develop further, especially now that I’m using a full hormone blocker too.
Laser hair removal has been agony at times, but the results have been remarkable. I had my latest session this week, which was probably one of the worst instantaneous pains I’ve ever experienced, but seeing the stubble disappear from my face a couple of years later brings me so much joy and happiness. I’ll need a few more sessions, but progress already has been so wonderful. You can see here just how dramatic the eight sessions have been (1st August 2021 to March 2022):
I also like to think that my fashion sense has improved so much in the last year, lol. A year ago, I was basically applying foundation and heavy concealer daily, as I felt a strong need to hide my chin and face from the world as much as possible. Laser and hormones have worked in tandem to make me feel a bit more comfortable and at ease with my own body, and I don’t feel as bad about it. That’s not to say that I never get dysphoria any more—it’s still present, and on bad days it can be debilitating. But those days are slowly getting fewer.
Over the last year, I’ve managed to meet and make so many new friends in the trans and queer communities, both online and in person. I feel so wonderful and valued and loved, and I’m still ever grateful for, and love, my friends I knew from before transition. Having that support network of people who you can relate to has been so irreplaceable, and I don’t know where I’d be without them. Even things like being able to take part in trans fitness classes have been so fantastic.
Being visible is vital to me. Growing up, I did not really know trans people were, like, a thing, and I think that really stopped me from realising my feelings a lot sooner than I actually did. I spent so long feeling ashamed and scared, and needing to hide and repress myself, that it’s caused long-lasting trauma. I feel like being out and proud is so important to help others see themselves.
Furthermore, I had many irrational thoughts when I was contemplating my gender (that makes it sound a lot more wise and sage than reality, which really was just me screaming internally for many hours). I worried that my life would be ruined or that I “wouldn’t ever be or look like a real woman” (which, really I shouldn’t have cared about, was not true for many reasons, and moreover, is no longer a concern). Seeing trans people surviving, thriving, and doing remarkable stuff—like seeing trans people who do cool art, do interesting stuff in the tech industry, or are accomplished sportspeople—would have really changed my outlook on things. Again, pretty irrational thoughts.
But I’ve always pledged to be pretty open and proud about my transness, as much as my personal safety allows. I believe it has a significant positive effect on myself and other people, especially those at the start of their journeys. Feeling that sense of community and togetherness, especially locally and at work, has been so important to me, and I’m deeply grateful for being part of a wonderful community of trans people at Apple .
Anyway, here’s to the next year, I’m excited to see how things carry on changing on this fantastic journey, and I hope you’ll stay along for the ride! 💖