Coming to Terms

Photographer: Julia Faragher

The concept of ‘coming out’ as transgender to others is often given more gravity than ‘coming out’ as transgender to yourself. It is, however, very difficult to figure out who you are and what you want to do with your own life.

By no means is coming out to others an easy thing; in many cases, it is filled with difficulties and losses. I am so unbelievably fortunate that, in my case, the hardest part was realising that there are people in my life that care about me and want me to be happy with myself.

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I couldn’t quite place where my discomfort was rooted for a long time. I identified as gay for about two years during high school, but that part of my identity never quite felt right. When I arrived at university I started learning a lot more about my options and myself. I started seeing mental health professionals and learnt that being transgender was an option and found that it clicked with me more than anything had before. With this realisation came a period where I effectively went through my entire life, thinking through how things would change – how my existence would change; how my family, my friends, and my co-workers would see and treat me, among many other questions.

With this realisation came a period where I effectively went through my entire life, thinking through how things would change – how my existence would change; how my family, my friends, and my co-workers would see and treat me, among many other questions.

Accepting myself was a long process. I had finally told someone that I was transgender in March, but it hadn’t really clicked yet. Even as I said it, there was some internal recoil, as if I shouldn’t be saying it or it was the wrong thing to be saying. It took about two months of reassurance from friends and mental health professionals, as well as further personal development, for me to be able to say that I was transgender and truly believe myself. I was so happy when this happened because nothing like it had ever happened before.

I was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in May and before this step in my life I already had a great support network. I told my parents about my thoughts and my identity and they were nothing but supportive. My Mum spoke with gender counsellors so that she had a better understanding of how to help and tell my siblings. There are a lot of people in my family, with children aged four to 22, so it was interesting seeing the reactions of the different kids. My 16-year-old sister had a bit of a hard time understanding, but aside from that everyone was very happy and excited for me. My second youngest brother is already trying to call me Lucy.

At university, I have had no issue talking to anyone about being transgender and have only been given support.

I am starting the hormonal part of my transition in a few days and I am so excited. However, due to the clear physical changes that will happen, I will have to say something at work. I work at a store in North Canberra and there are often a few off comments about certain types of people that make the environment feel a little less safe in comparison to university. But as the changes come, I will see what happens and I can only hope for the best.

The most important thing to me was understanding that if something doesn’t feel right in your life, you don’t have to accept it. There are so many ways to change aspects of your life and sometimes the hardest step is realising that there is something to be changed.