How Do I Know If I’m Transgender? #identity

Last updated by Katie M.

A few years ago, I was talking with a friend who told me that he’d questioned his identity several times. His assigned gender at birth was “male” but he felt more “female”. Being transgender means feeling a discrepancy between the gender assigned at birth and how you feel. I thought it was something that you knew deep down since forever, but in reality, my friend made me realize that it was much more complicated than that. So, how do you know if you’re transgender? Here’s how.


What is trans identity?

As explained in the introduction, trans identity is when you don’t identify with the gender you were assigned at birth. For example, I was born a girl and I identify as female, so I’m “cisgender” (the opposite of transgender). However, this isn’t the case for everyone. To understand better:

👉 A trans woman: assigned a boy at birth but identifies as female. She wants to use female pronouns to talk about herself.

👉 A trans man: assigned a girl at birth but identifies as male. He wants to use male pronouns to talk about himself.

👉 Non-binary people: Being trans also means not fitting into the binary of genders. Some people define themselves as neither male nor female. On the other hand, others identify as both or between the two.

Detecting a discrepancy

The best way to know if you’re trans is to identify a discrepancy through:

  • The gender assigned by doctors when you were born;
  • The way you’re perceived by society;
  • The way you perceive yourself.

This was the case of my friend who no longer identified as a man, but rather as a woman (from now on, I’ll talk about her in the female form). It can be psychologically complicated to have this reflection, especially depending on the social context in which we evolve 😥. Realizing that you’re transgender can also lead to dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria

The discrepancies felt can provoke a dissociation of your self-image. This can result in self-abandonment to the point of hatred of your body, known as gender dysphoria. The latter is potentially dangerous, as it can lead to depression or suicide attempts… If a person feels an aversion to their body, this may be a sign of trans identity.

⚠️ However, not everyone goes through this. Some people don’t feel hatred towards their genitals and therefore don’t understand that they’re transgender. It’s therefore difficult for them to begin the transition by changing their name, pronouns, wardrobe, taking hormonal treatment, or even having an operation.

Getting rid of preconceived ideas

Beyond the feeling of being out of step and dysphoria, it’s also important to get rid of preconceived ideas about trans identity. You can be transgender and:

  • Enjoy stereotypical activities of your assigned gender. For example a trans man may like to wear nail polish and make-up.
  • Be homosexual in your chosen gender. For example, a trans man who prefers men is considered a homosexual. The female gender assigned at the birth of the trans man “no longer exists”, you should refer to the gender chosen by the person. Only 22% of trans people identify as heterosexual.
  • Understand that you can be trans at any age. 67% of trans people begin their transition between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • Have been a cisgender mother or father: therefore, having had children before your trans identity.
  • Be scared of the transition, even not want/be able to start a transition.

The “we’ve always known” cliché

My friend doubted her trans identity because she had questioned it before turning 25. This is the toughest cliché: no, trans people haven’t always known that they were transgender. It’s possible to realize it at any age for an infinite number of reasons, for example:

  • A protective mechanism of the brain,
  • A social context in which the trans identity was perceived badly or was inaccessible,
  • A fear of abandonment after coming out,
  • A lack of thought about it,
  • A pleasure in “performing” the gender assigned at birth,
  • A repressed denial,
  • ...

👥 There are so many reasons why an individual may hide their trans identity. It’s an internal journey that takes time and needs to be supported by regular introspection.

Projecting yourself as the other gender

A good way to find out if you’re transgender is to do projection exercises. In other words, you should imagine being born in the body of the opposite sex. Do you want to stay there? If so, you may be transgender. Likewise, you can do the exercise: “And if tomorrow I woke up with another gender, would I want to keep it?”. Again, if you answer yes, being trans is a better fit than being cis.

🧔👩 You can project yourself by socializing in another way. Social media allows you to create another identity online through pseudonyms or whatever. It’s a good way to see if you appreciate socializing as a woman or as a man.

What about non-binary?

However, you mustn’t forget non-binary too. You may want to be considered as neither a man nor a woman, nor as both. You should also imagine waking up in a world where everyone considers it normal not to have a gender, would you like that? If so, you’re probably a non-binary person.

❤️ You can be anything you decide to be: trans woman, queer, etc.

Getting support to better understand yourself

Nobody will ever be able to give us the certitude that we’re transgender. It’s up to us to take the journey needed to understand. We also have the right to change our minds about the gender we want to be assigned as many times as necessary. The important thing is to be in sync with yourself. There’s never a time when it’s not possible to change your mind 🤗.

In order to live better with your trans identity, it’s essential to get informed. Surrounding yourself is important to understand yourself 🙌!

Editor’s note: The importance of getting help

When we question our identity, our gender, who we really are, it’s hard. We don’t really know who we are or where we fit in. That’s why it’s very critical to get help from a good psychologist throughout this period. Don’t wait to make an appointment.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy… It’s here and now!

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Article presented by Katie M.

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