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How Do I Know If I'm Transgender?
It Started at Birth
First of all if you are asking yourself the question of: "Am I transgender?" the fact is that you are already questioning your gender identity. Many people at different times of their lives will question their own sexuality and gender identities and it is completely normal and healthy to do this. If you're asking the question then there is a reason for it and it is always a good choice to seek out an answer to a personal question. It's a very good idea to get in touch with yourself because knowing who you are and being authentic is a path to being happy and content.
Maybe you have just come to this realization, or perhaps the feelings have been with you for some time. Whatever the reason or for however how long you've had the feelings, the opposite sex has just appealed to you on a different level. Gender is a spectrum and not a clear cut binary of male or female. Sure most people are born one sex or the other, but at birth whether you are declared male or female based on your sexual features is a matter of biology and the assignment of a doctor.
The binary assignment of gender at birth in the past has posed a problem for many people who at birth exhibit at least some sign of being intersex. Being born between the sexes can seem like a horrible thing to some parents and a nightmare for the people who live lives in a clear cut society. The truth is that as many as 1 in 300 people born in the United States exhibit some characteristic of the opposite sex, yet the current method at nearly all hospitals is to assign a child as either male or female at birth based upon a doctors opinion. The assignment is something that is being questioned more throughout society as we look more into the development of a child. Biology is one component of a person's identity but there is also a psychological component. Many studies support the idea of gender as a sort of mental state. Scientists have performed scans of male and female brains and seen that men and women's minds are wired differently. So gender as we know it may be more psychological than biological.
Should I know right now?
It's okay not to know. Really. It is. Take as long as you need to figure things out. I encourage you to think about it, and think about yourself. I knew something was weird, gender-wise from a young age. I remember back to Christmas when i must have been about ten years old. One of my aunts got me an easy bake oven. Maybe it was because I loved to cook or maybe my aunt could just see it in me then, but I just loved my pink Easy Bake oven. Maybe because it was a "girls toy" I am still not completely out being transgender in public. I know I have this identity that I want to express but I am still working my way up to that identity. There is no hurry, no deadline, no day that will suddenly pass and too late! Your gender is not set forever! Take your time. And if there is ever a point, remember you can change your gender identity at any time, it's flexible.
The COGIATI Assessment
COGIATI (Combined Gender Identity And Transsexuality Inventory). Although not medical or scientific, the test administers questions to which the taker will answer as openly as possible. The final result may help the taker know more about their gender identity and give an idea if transitioning is the best option. The test is not intended to give any definite answer and there is no replacment for actually talking to a qualified gender therapist.
*** This test is known to be outdated and debunked as a tool, but it still exists online. read more on that here.
Coming out, might take time
It's not like a switch you just decide to flip one day. Coming out may take a long time, years even. You may start slowly with dressing up in a few clothes, trying on make-up, or experimenting with your voice. Transition, if that is what you decide is right for you will take time and it's different for anyone. The absolute best path you can take once you have decided would be to seek out a gender therapist and they're not as hard to find as you might think.
Coming out can be the hardest thing to do, especially with family and friends. While it can be important for other people to know about transpeople, it is more important to use good judgment about telling. Some friends may tell other people without your permission. Family members can be the most difficult people to tell. Even though some families are very supportive, some trans youth have been kicked out of their homes when their parents found out. Only you can decide whether or not to tell your family and choose the right time.
Love Yourself, No Matter What Others Think!
If you have just discovered or recognized that you are transgender, remember that you are normal and you are likeable, just as you are. With big discoveries come big life changes, and it is normal to feel nervous, apprehensive, and upset about the days ahead. Remember, too, that discovering something this important about yourself can be a truly amazing experience. You are one step ahead on the journey of discovering who you truly are, and with that journey, the world becomes full of possibilities as well as challenges. You are getting to know another part of yourself, and this is truly a wonderful opportunity!