I recently had an interesting exchange with someone whom I don’t think is transgender. They are in a questioning state because of some feminine characteristics. In the case of this person, the sense of having an inner gender different from their assigned gender is missing. After spending an evening interacting with several trans women–I was one of them–they came away feeling as if they didn’t fit there. We have had further email discussions.

This is an excerpt from an email I sent them:

I was reading recently about some research being done by a developmental psychologist working with kids who were in some way gender non-conforming. One of the interesting finding was that kids being brought in for assessment at gender clinics because their parents think they might be transgender fall into roughly two categories.

One group of kids definitely have a persistent and profound  experience of themselves as not being the gender they were assigned at birth. In my case, that’s since I was about three or four.

The other group is made up of kids where some persistent aspect of their gender expression is definitely out of line with gender norms (girls who are extreme tomboys, boys who strongly prefer girls’ clothes and activities), but who don’t experience a deeply disturbing conflict between their assigned gender and who they are behind their eyes.  This latter group is not, strictly speaking, transgender.

I am so ridiculously classic a binary transgender woman that quite soon after I started having sessions with my psychologist, someone who has worked with dozens of trans clients since the 1990’s, she said, “Yeah, you’re the real thing.”

When I was finally able to meet and have long conversations with my sisters, all sorts of lights went on as we compared notes about what it is like to be us. It’s almost eerie how similar episodes of our life histories often are.  If you don’t at least sometimes experience that feeling of “Yes, I know exactly what that’s like!” in talking to us, then you are probably not a binary trans woman.

This is something you must judge for yourself. No hurry.

The important thing is to be comfortable in your own skin, to live as yourself, whoever you may be, and to have people in your life who accept and love you.

In case you are interested, this is a good book on what it’s like to be a trans woman:

This is a brief conversation between a gay cisgender man and a transgender woman. The scene was written by a trans woman. The actress, Jamie Clayton, is trans.


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