Coming out isn’t a new concept to me. In the past 6 years I’ve come out as a bisexual woman, a gay woman, a queer non-binary person, and now, a queer trans man. After all of this, I thought I’d experienced all of the responses a person can get after coming out: excitement, confusion, anger, indifference. But the response I’ve only come across recently after coming out as trans is one that baffles me the most – sympathy.
I’ve watched people’s eyes soften and their eyebrows knit together as they give me their best “poor you” smile. And this confuses me because I don’t see being trans as something to feel bad about.
These people react this way because they’re scared for me and what other people might say or do to me because I don’t fit the gender binary, or because they’ve realised that I may have gone through a tough time before coming to this realisation about myself (which is appreciated, don’t get me wrong). However, I’ve had enough of talking about negative stuff. I’m sick of hearing “people might not like it” and “be careful when you go into a public bathroom”, because while I appreciate the concern, I don’t want to dwell on the negative side of things. It’s time we focus on some positive things about being trans, because I reckon we could all do with something to smile about right now.
We get to choose our own names
The first perk of being trans, of course, is getting to choose our own name. While most people seem content with their birth names, I’m sure some would love to have been able to pick their own; to pick a name that resonates with them, a name they think is cool. That’s exactly what we get to do. For many trans people, our name is an integral part of our identity, and I think it’s amazing that we get the chance to choose one that fits us perfectly.
Puberty is great the second time round
The next positive is something that many cisgender people might find confusing – enjoying puberty. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Puberty is horrible! Why would you want to go through that again?” Well, for us trans folk, experiencing puberty the first time round was especially awful because it wasn’t even the right gender experience. Many trans men have to go through female puberty and honestly, it sucks.
I didn’t know I was trans when I was dealing with puberty and it still made me uncomfortable, so I can’t even imagine how excruciating it must be for my younger trans brothers who have to watch their bodies change while knowing that it’s just not right for them.
The opportunity to go through a second puberty after starting testosterone is definitely a positive – we get to see our bodies develop the right way this time, with all of the desired changes (hair growth, voice deepening, fat redistribution, facial shape changing) that we missed out on the first time.
We understand our sisters better
Having a different kind of connection with women is also something that stems from being trans. I’ve found that, because we were socialised as female for at least some of our lives, we are able to empathise with women in a way that cisgender men cannot. We can see things from their perspective without cis male privilege getting in the way, and this enables us to be great allies for women. Trans men tend to be proud to label themselves as feminists (myself included), and don’t hesitate to show active support for women’s rights.
We literally get to construct our sexual identity
This next positive is a little X-rated, so kids, look away.
Without going into too much detail, one thing that trans guys often struggle with is bottom dysphoria (feeling uncomfortable and disconnected from our genitalia). But, the positive side of this, for those trans guys who choose to undergo bottom surgery, is that they have a choice in how they want their junk to look. Having this choice can be empowering and allows us to form a connection with our bodies in a way that is different to that of cis people.
I’ve been able to experience the world from a very unique viewpoint because of my identity. Being transgender has given me such amazing experiences, and allowed me to meet many interesting, beautiful people who are part of the transgender community that I never would’ve met if I wasn’t the way I am.
Being trans has not only enriched my life and my experiences but it’s made me more open-minded. In the past years when thinking about my own identity, I did a lot of research into the wide spectrum of both gender and sexuality, and this led to me being a lot more educated.
It wasn’t too long ago when I was throwing around phrases like “that’s so gay” without being aware that it was a slur when used in that derogatory way, whereas now I am the one educating my family members about the use of certain words and how they can be offensive. I’m not sure I’d be as well-informed if I hadn’t had to first do that research to understand my own gender identity.
So, there you have it. For all of you out there who think being trans is all doom and gloom, I am happy to say that it’s not. There are some wonderful aspects to being transgender, and I personally wouldn’t have myself any other way. I’ve met phenomenal people, begun an incredible journey of self-discovery, and have come to know myself in a deep and refreshing way.
Being trans is awesome, and to all my trans brothers out there: you rock and I love y’all.
This is an opinion piece that expresses views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of It Equals.