The LGBT Health & Development Program

Youth Blog> A Transgender Journey: Beginnings

Posted on May 22nd, 2013 by Lou in Featured, Transgender Blog, Transgender Youth, Youth Blog. 1 Comment

Transgender symbol with a butterflyFirst realizing you’re transgender can be scary.  I know when I first started questioning my gender a few years ago, I was scared.  There were so many parts to it that I didn’t know about and so much that was unfamiliar.  After taking time to learn about transgender issues and go through my own transition, I’ll share some resources here that might be helpful to those just beginning this journey.

There are many different ways to transition and live authentically, so the first thing to do is gather information and resources.  Take as much time as you need and follow the path that your heart tells you.  For some people, their new gender expression may just need a change in haircut or clothing styles.  Others might find it important to ask people to refer to them with a new pronoun and/or name.  And others may need Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and/or surgery to feel comfortable in their body.  All of these decisions will be different for every individual, and there are no right or wrong answers.  The important part is to listen to yourself and take time to consider your options.

You can get a lot of information about transitioning from websites such as the links below and from YouTube.  Searching for “FTM intro” (for Female-To-Male, or transmasculine folks) or “MTF intro” (for Male-To-Female, or transfeminine folks) on YouTube will bring up hundreds of videos posted by individuals throughout their transition.

While online resources are great, try to also include at least one person in your daily life to help give you support and talk through decisions.  LGBT or trans-friendly therapists are ideal for this, as they can help guide you through the process.  Even if you don’t have a trans-knowledgeable therapist where you live, finding an accepting therapist who’s willing to learn with you can be a huge support.  Similarly, support groups are ideal for connecting with other transgender people in your area.  Many cities have transgender support groups; in Chicago there are two run at the Center on Halsted, as well as several others around the city (see below for the links).  Family, friends, and romantic partners can be supportive or challenging throughout your transition, depending on your situation.  But finding at least one ally there to talk to and help you make decisions can be very affirming in your daily life.

No matter what decisions you make in your transition, look for support and honor yourself.  Transgender people are courageous and beautiful, and our voices are powerful!

For more information like this, check out the sequel to this article, A Transgender Journey: Hormones, and an update from Lou about his personal journey, Breaking Out.

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