Let’s face it: being trans isn’t easy.
In some places, it’s dangerous to be who you really are even though hiding it can make you feel miserable. And even if you live in a trans-friendly area, it can be hard to get healthcare that meets your needs, your friends and family might not understand you, and your body might not cooperate when you try to make it match your gender identity.
I’ve had some significant challenges with my own transition. I transitioned as an adult, and it was hard for even my well-meaning family to get used to my new name and pronouns. I’ve had “friends” deny my transition was real or accuse me of only wanting to transition because it was “trendy.”
1. Being transgender has given me a unique perspective.
Although I’m male and always have been, I was raised as a girl/woman. Some of my cis female friends appreciate that they can talk to me about “women’s issues” that I’ve lived through, and I’m more aware than many people of the misogyny many cis women face from adolescence onward. I often feel as if I see the world through two sets of eyes: the point of view of the gender I was raised as and that of the one I really am. I love being able to see the world in ways that most people can’t.
2. Being transgender has helped my creativity.
As a fiction writer, I need to understand how to create unique characters. Being transgender has helped me with this more than anything else. As a child, I created imaginary friends who understood me and as a pre-transition adult, I created male personas to use online, often with their own backstories that felt very real to me. This was great preparation for writing novels!
3. Being transgender has given me a double dose of empathy.
I don’t believe that suffering is necessary, but sometimes it makes us want to protect others from the same fate. I know all too well what it’s like to feel invisible and alone, and that gives me a ton of empathy for anyone who feels that way today, whether they are trans or cis. Today, I empower trauma survivors and neurodiverse people of all gender identities to express themselves through writing. I wouldn’t have the passion for doing that without having had to stand up strongly for my true gender identity.
4. Being transgender has taught me the importance of authenticity.
As a transgender person who underwent medical transition, I’ve sacrificed a lot to be who I really am. I let go of dead weight — the people who didn’t understand and wanted to hold me back — and spent a lot of time and money on my transition. It was all worth it, because at the end, I got to be who I really am. My journey has taught me how important it is for all people to be themselves and how essential it is to forget about trying to please others so that we can be who we are meant to be.
5. Being transgender has taught me to stand up for myself.
I was always a quiet person who disliked conflict. I bottled up anger and then eventually fought back in unproductive ways, such as through screaming matches or by getting physical. That all changed when I began transitioning. I learned to speak up when I needed something thanks to the number of times the pharmacy screwed up my testosterone prescription!
6. Being transgender has allowed me to live without regrets.
I used to be sad that I hadn’t done some of the things I wanted to do earlier in life. But once I understood how being closeted and transgender impacted my life, I realized I couldn’t live the way I wanted to before my transition. I don’t have any regrets about my past now, and more importantly, none about the way I live my life today.
7. Being transgender has allowed me to make a specific impact on the world.
After spending my childhood feeling different, alone, and confused, I didn’t want any other child to feel like that. I’ve been able to do everything from working on an LGBTQ+-oriented crisis line to providing education for parents of young transgender kids. I’m able to help people in ways I’d never imagined, all because of my own experience as a transgender person.
8. Being transgender has helped me become more open-minded.
When I realized I was transgender, I also realized that a lot of things I’d taken for granted about myself weren’t true. I had assumed everyone else was right and I was a woman who believed she could do whatever men could, but I was wrong. That made me realize that I shouldn’t assume that my current beliefs are accurate. I’m more open-minded because of my personal experience than I would have been if I’d been who everyone said I was all along.
9. Being transgender has helped me be a better listener.
I know what it’s like for those whose voices aren’t heard, so I do my best to listen closely and carefully to what others have to say, especially if they’re talking about the ways they have been hurt.
10. Being transgender has helped me become a leader.
As someone who is openly transgender and willing to talk to others about my journey, I often inspire others. I also do my best to be an ally to others who are being mistreated because I know what it’s like to be made to feel powerless.
These are only some of the reasons that I’m grateful to be transgender this holiday season. What are the top reasons you are grateful to be who you are?