Think you might be trans? Read this

November 7, 2014 § 9 Comments

One of the most popular search terms to lead to this blog is one variant or other on ‘what do you do if you think you’re trans?’. I’ve been wondering for awhile if I should write something to order – useful steps to take, useful places to contact.


The thing is – there are already so many guides out there – for young people, for UK people, for the families of young people, for university students, for people who like videos. I don’t feel like there’s anything I can do better than the standard advice given: contact support groups, read up, be kind to yourself, explore your options, gather your support network, know your rights.


But there is one thing I haven’t seen anywhere, that I’d like to add.

For anyone who’s just starting out on the path of realising that they’re trans/transitioning – hell, for those of us who’ve been doing this for years – one very basic rule:


Find a space/activity which has nothing at all to do with being trans, and keep it sacred.


Not because being trans is a bad thing to escape from – but because no one can manage without at least a little respite from transphobia and cissexism.

Because there’s a bone deep despair and exhaustion that comes from battling against ignorance (at best) and oppression and outright abuse (at worst) all day, every day.

Because we all need a place where we can just be without having to defend our right to be.

Because we need to let our guard down sometimes.

Because it’s so, so easy to run yourself into the ground trying to right the wrongs of the world, and do your part to ease the collective pain of other trans people – but your resources are not limitless.

Because fuck it – we all need a space to forget about trangst, and forget about the pressures of how we’re read and – if we can – forget about our dysphoria – and remember that we are multi-faceted creatures.


For me it’s often music – and when that’s work, it’s cooking. Because browning onions has nothing to do with people asking me what surgeries I’ve had, and I can lose myself in the rhythm of chopping and stirring and not have to be aware of how other people are judging me. For other people it might be gaming, knitting, painting, walking, woodwork, gardening – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it brings you out of the self that has to deal with the world’s shit surrounding sex and gender – and brings you closer to the core of the self that’s free to exist without justification.


I know that this is a very simple thing – but, I think, something that we can too easily ignore. I know it’s something that I too often ignore. But it makes a big difference for me, when I don’t ignore it, and I hope it will do the same for you.


Good luck.


§ 9 Responses to Think you might be trans? Read this

  • janitorqueer says:

    Great advice. Hobbies are essential for being able to unwind and be mindful / present in the moment!

  • Good advice. I wholeheartedly endorse this.

  • This is very, very wise advice.

    Transition tends to be *such* a consuming, focused time for us that we really need respite. AND, this practice makes it easier to emerge from the transformative “cocoon,” back into the world, now as your improved self. I have experienced this as I move from “transition, the passage” into “transition, the rest of my life.”

    Blessings & Joy!!

  • mrmollusc says:

    So true! Great advice!

  • Firstly, thanks for sharing my link. 🙂

    Secondly, this is great advice, thank you for posting it. I’ll be sure to share it!

  • Traci says:

    Wonderful blog, Dara. So necessary. Sometimes it’s easy to forge that a trans* or gender creative identity is a massively important piece of identity, it is not the entirety of the person. Thank you!

  • Absolutely right. For me it was music; wordless. Even my poetry was overtaken, so that was release but not respite. But so important to exit the obsession and step away.

  • dexxwizard says:

    Yes, being a person first, trans suffering mess second. Great blog.

  • Tracy says:

    I try really hard to not turn my comments on other peoples blog to all about me, but in this case I am unable to resist. This is great advice for almost everything! I am currently going through treatment for my 2nd round of cancer. I am at the no hair stage so when people look at me they see “CANCER”. My life is consumed by my medical and physical needs. It is so important to every once in awhile walk away and find something where I can just be me. At least comes close to keeping everything in a balance. For me I have dived back into reading voraciously. Lovely way to just walk away from everything for a few.

    So, excellent advice!

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