To those who identify as “Pre-everything”,
I see this a lot, especially on trans groups and on tumblr. People who have not engaged in any medical interventions that they may be hoping to someday pursue. The implication is that they are in a stage where everything that will make them who they are is yet to come.
I want to break this idea.
Transition is not something that is solely distributed by the medical system.
Transition is a process of self discovery and expression.
Transition is a process of learning to know and love yourself.
Transition is a process of finding ways to feel determinately you.
You can be trans without medically transitioning.
You can be trans and not want to medically transition.
You can be trans and not have access to medical transition.
Your transness is not determined by the amount of medical interventions you have accessed.
Trans people have always existed.
We have used many words to describe ourselves.
We have existed the world over in almost every time and place in recorded history.
We existed before the stories started being written down.
Trans people existed before medical interventions did.
Most of the trans people who make up our ancestry of path didn’t have a medical system to serve as the arbiter of their realness.
Some of them modified their bodies.
Many of them did not.
You understand your self to be trans.
You see that your body and identity and presentation may change.
This is all labour that you have engaged in.
It is a big part of transition.
You are not “pre” self exploration.
You are in it.
You may even feel as if you are drowning in it.
You are not “pre” internal struggle of learning who you are.
You have tried on names.
You have tried on pronouns.
You have looked in the mirror from different angles and with your eyes half open, letting your heartbrain fill in the details of something that isn’t visible to others yet.
You have gazed into, maybe even explored, the “other side” of the clothing store.
You have contemplated who a grown up version of yourself could become.
You may have tried to bind or tuck, even if at home, alone, in secret.
You may never do those things. It doesn’t make you less trans.
Trans is a beautiful range of identities and expressions that involve creatively transcending the expectations we were born into.
It doesn’t require hormones.
It doesn’t require surgery.
It doesn’t require electrolysis.
It doesn’t require passing.
It doesn’t require a diagnosis.
Some of us may pursue some or all of these things.
Our choice to do so or not is exactly that, our choice.
Choosing to not pursue such things doesn’t make you less trans.
Look forward to growing more and more into your self everyday.
Recognize that this process will be fed.
It may be fed by medical interventions.
It will also be fed by watching movies with characters that you see yourself reflected in.
It will also be fed by reading books that articulate a part of your experience you hadn’t found words for.
It will also be fed by trees and gusts of wind and forest creatures that see you and respect your unique and beautiful self.
It will also be fed by nurturing relationships with other people who are learning to live and love as themselves.
It will also be fed by good nights’ sleeps.
It will also be fed by clothes that fit just as you need them to.
It will also be fed by your body moving ecstatically, translating music into movement.
It will also be fed by the patience and generosity you can grant your younger selves.
You will continue to grow into yourself.
It will be a process.
Sometimes it might hurt.
Sometimes it will involve other people.
Sometimes it will be something you do alone.
I look forward to seeing you continue to grow into yourself.
You have taken beautiful steps towards your authentic and genuine self.
Do not discount this.
I am proud of you.
This post has been getting a lot of feedback and I want to thank all of you for sharing this amongst others you know for whom it will have meaning. Please also take a look around my site, including checking out the Resilience Building for Trans Folks online course– there will be a fresh round starting in May. Looking around you can also find more about my online and in-person education offerings, one on one coaching support, and more. Thanks again to everyone who has shared this and send such sweet feedback about how it has landed. My site is going to be re-launched with a new design and domain next month- stay tuned for lots of new great stuff.