My journey of understanding my gender identity

Unlike a lot of other trans people that I have read about and known; I didn’t really have trans thoughts when I was young. Growing up, I had always believed I was a boy, because that was how I was born. Puberty didn’t trigger any dysphoria, in fact, I was excited about the changes to my body. My voice breaking and facial hair growing in particular.


When I was 19, I was venting about my depression to a friend and made an off-hand comment about how I think I might have been happier if I was born a girl. I knew about trans people then, but I wasn’t trans, I knew I was a man, I just wanted to be a woman. I didn’t realise it then, but this was the first step to finding myself.


About a year later, when I was 20, I remember saying to my girlfriend that I wanted to start wearing more feminine clothing and I wanted her to refer to me as a girl. But I wasn’t trans.

It was a few months ago, at 22, when I finally realised that I was transfem. I have no shame in saying this brought me a lot of mental trouble. It made my depression and anxiety worse. I experienced a huge wave of gender dysphoria. I didn’t know what to do.


The first thing I did was let it stew in my mind (not recommended). It was all I could think about, day and night. This went on for about a week before I finally told someone I was having these feelings, a mental health specialist I was seeing at the time. She recommended that I speak to my doctor about these thoughts, so I did. 


My doctor then told me what I could do about these feelings. He informed me about the gender clinics in Scotland and which one I would need to refer myself to, which would be Sandyford in Glasgow. Since the waiting list is long, I would still be stuck with these confusing feelings for a while.


I had decided to go online and do some “Am I Trans” quizzes, which is not a recommended way to find out if you are trans, by the way! When I got a yes, I was happy, and when I got a no, I was disappointed, but for some reason, I was still confused about if I was actually trans. 


I went onto online spaces for trans people to see if I related to anything that was being said or posted there. I did relate to some things, which was good, and some I didn’t, which was not good.


After being a little bit lonely and still a bit lost, I decided to see if there were any LGBTQ+ groups in my area to try to connect with trans people in real life. To my relief, there was a group run by LGBT Youth Scotland. I signed up for it and have enjoyed my time there greatly.

Nowadays, after speaking to all of these people and reflecting on what they said, I am pretty comfortable with my gender identity, but I am still pretty anxious about expressing myself, but I’m getting there. Little by little.


I have chosen to share my story to show that everyone’s journey is different, and you don’t have to be able to relate to another person’s story. If you are currently questioning your gender, you don’t have to do it alone.


I have made a list of things that you can do if you are currently questioning:


  • Speak to someone you can trust, such as mental health professionals, your parents, your doctor, youth worker, teachers etc. (If it is safe for you to do so)
  • Join LGBTQ+ groups
  • Read or listen to stories from other trans people, including meme pages (that was my first instinct)
  • Research gender clinics
  • Read about gender affirming care, and what it could include to see if you think it could be right for you

Erin, 22, Falkirk

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