I’ve been thinking about transitioning for months — shouldn’t I have this figured out by now?
It’s perfectly normal to take time before starting to transition. Everyone’s timeline is different. There’s a lot to think about, and most trans folks need time to figure out how they want to transition. Having gone through something similar, I want you to know that taking your time is okay.
Transitioning is not just one process but a series of choices about our legal identities, social relationships, and physical appearance. These are big decisions, and every trans person must decide how they want to go about them. Most folks go through a period of reflection and research before starting any kind of transition. Although for some people, this is a really short period of time, you should also keep in mind there are trans folks who have waited many decades before finally beginning their gender journeys — and that’s still valid. You don’t need to have everything figured out immediately.
A lot of this back and forth is also because there are a lot of valid fears that come up. We live in a world that does not yet understand or accept us. And this is especially true for trans women and femme people because they have to live under the threat of transmisogyny. It’s hard to think about this, but it’s also really hard not to think about it. My partner came out as trans feminine not too long ago, and I’ve been a witness and companion to their journey of exploration, doubt, and self-discovery. While I carry my own fears for their safety and well-being, that’s overshadowed when I see how living as their true self is bringing them joy.
Taking time to question and reflect can be agonizing, but it is necessary and can even be healing. From the moment I realized I was transgender to when I decided I was ready to begin my social transition, six months of soul-searching and heart-wrenching questioning had gone by. There were weeks when I was too scared to think about it, and was fortunate enough to have a supportive partner at the time who helped me process my feelings. I also found it extremely helpful to have a support group where I could discuss my thoughts and get my many questions answered. When I was able to answer my questions honestly, to fully embrace that I was trans and that my happiness depended on being able to live my life authentically, I knew I was ready to transition.
Today, I’m a support group facilitator, and folks often come to the group because they are trying to understand if they are trans and what they can and want to do about it. Many find the answers and validation they need to begin their transition; others realize it’s not who they are or that they have more options to transition than they ever thought existed. That’s why it’s so important to sit with your thoughts and not rush your decisions — any steps you want to take in your transition deserve your patience and care.
I recommend leaning on any supportive person or community you can. One way you can do that is by calling our hotline if you’d like to talk with other trans people who have gone through similar experiences. You can also visit our website for other community resources. Based on what you’ve shared in your submission, I recommend checking these resources first:
Above all, trust your heart, your instincts, and your process. You got this.
I wish you the best in your journey.
–León at Trans Lifeline
Do you have a question about trans stuff? Send in your question here.