It’s been exactly one year since I came out to you world as a non-binary trans person. And what a crazy year it’s been. In case anyone is wondering, I’m still trans. It doesn’t go away like a bad cold. This year I have operated in spaces I have not been in before. I became visibly trans. Then I left that space and became part of the perceived male space. People now see me as a masculine person and instead of being mis-gendered with she/her, I now get he/him. Which is what I prefer if I’m going to be mis-gendered but it’s still an odd space to occupy. Taking up space in this masculine place is something I’m not used to and at times it has made me uncomfortable. Sexism is still alive and thriving my friends. I hope my experience of both feminine space and masculine space can be used to challenge sexism in our society.

People ask me all the time, but you’re happy now right?
And I know I feel better in my body than I did a year ago before hormones.
And I know I didn’t make a mistake in medically transitioning.
And I know I’m still loved by many of you no matter what how much facial hair I have and how deep my voice is.

But the honest truth is that being trans is hard. It’s painful, scary, isolating, and dangerous. I’ve lost important people in my life to coming out. I’ve experienced transphobia by strangers and by loved ones. I’ve avoided going to the washroom for way too long because I didn’t know what bathroom to use and it wasn’t safe.

Hormones helped me relate to my body more but it also causes 2nd puberty. Puberty the first time was awful; try doing it twice. Second puberty is brutal. Maybe worse than the first one because I know I’m acting like an unreasonable teenager now but there’s a level of not being able to stop. Thanks to all you good humans who have been through puberty with me over the past year.

I remember asking some fellow trans friends if they liked being trans. Both of them laughed in that sad, not actually funny way. They proceeded to tell me the struggles I have listed above. They spoke about the fears you carry every time you enter a new place. Whether that be a grocery store or a new job. When do you tell people you’re trans? Do you tell them you’re trans at all? Do you call out their transphobic jokes and comments? I don’t have the answers to these questions but I do know this – for anyone who thinks being trans is a choice, you are wrong. No one would choose to make their life harder, more painful, and scary unless their life depended on it. So to anyone wondering why I made this “choice” it’s because my life depended on it. I could not stand to live in the feminine space I was occupying any longer. I needed to find a way to relate to my body to stay alive. I don’t have to justify my transition to you but I hope in reading this maybe you find some understanding for me and people like me.

For my fellow trans folks: I see you. I hear you. I relate to you. Being trans can be a gift sometimes but often it has felt like a curse. I hope that wherever you find yourself in your journey of being transgender that you find acceptance, love, and support. If it’s not safe for you to be visible on this Trans Day of Visibility please know that there is many of us who will be visible for you until it is safe for you too. But most importantly I hope you stay alive. I hope the world doesn’t take you too soon; I hope you don’t take yourself too soon. Until it’s safe for all of us, be gentle with yourself my friend.


© Ange Neil 2019

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