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What does "transition" mean to me?

general trans advice life Apr 15, 2024
What does transition mean to me?

I am a nonbinary transgender individual and today I want to talk about what “transition” means to me.

I started identifying as genderqueer when I was about 18 years old and at that time the word “nonbinary” wasn’t in common parlance and there was virtually no discussion about what a nonbinary transition could look like.

As a result, I didn’t have a lot of role models, and there wasn’t a clear path to follow towards being happy in my body.

This was compounded by the fact that at the same time I started having symptoms of chronic pain which got more and more severe throughout my 20s.

I had so many health issues during my 20s I really couldn’t make space for thinking about voluntary medical procedures like surgery and HRT.

So for the first, like 15 years of my trans experience, transition was thought experiments and haircuts. I couldn’t even really choose more gender-affirming clothing to wear because what I wore was so dictated by my chronic pain. I wore whatever didn’t aggravate my pain.

The only place I felt free to express my gender was through my hair, and consequently, I had a lot of different haircuts. (see the video below to see some examples!

It wasn’t until the last couple of years, when my chronic pain has started to become more manageable, that I’ve allowed myself to consider what kind of medical transition I’d like to pursue.

I thought because I never wore a binder that I might not be “eligible” for top surgery or people wouldn’t believe that I wanted it.

I even wrote a song in 2018 about how I would never get top surgery because I had some terrible medical trauma!

And yet, here I am, one year post-op. And I’m still discovering new things about my likes and dislikes with respect to my gender presentation. For the first time I’m super into long hair long nails! And that could also change!

My point is that transition can look like a lot of things, and be a winding road. Some trans people may have a checklist of things they want to pursue, but many of us are figuring it out as we go, waiting until we’re safe enough, or well enough, or have enough money to transition.

To me, the choices I made every day in the 15 years before I got top surgery were all a part of my transition. Playing with hair, and clothes, and makeup, and pronouns, and gender roles, and body hair, and drag, and sex, and love… it’s all a part of how we learn what we want for our bodies and our lives.

I’m not certain where I’m going with this but I guess I’ll just say this:

If you’re trans or nonbinary and reading this, know that you’re trans enough just as you are, and also life is long and it’s okay to want things you didn’t think you wanted before.

And if you’re not trans and you’re reading this, please understand that a million factors go into deciding what aspects of transition to pursue and trans people are out here just doing our best to be happy in this life, just like you.

Hi, I'm Renée! (they/them)

I'm a queer, nonbinary, and disabled singer, songwriter and gender-affirming voice teacher. 

I've been a voice teacher for over twelve years, I have four full-length albums out, and I have degrees in physics, jazz, and songwriting.

I love creating, I love figuring things out, but most of all, I love helping people.

Learn more about me

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