This 20-year-old walks us through her transition journey — from hormone therapy to voice training and more

In this episode of In The Know: Walks of Life, a 20-year-old woman, who is transitioning, shares how a night out in Berlin helped instill confidence in her decision to transition. Building from there, she shares how certain steps, including therapy, voice training, and hormone treatment have been equal parts challenging and rewarding, allowing her to explore her identity while transitioning at a pace that’s comfortable for her. 

The subject, who is a senior in college, shares that growing up, she had “never been a stereotypical man or boy.” After eventually coming out as bisexual, she discovered what it meant to be non-binary, which she felt suited her. “I told a couple of close friends and that was that,” she says.

Even after coming out, the subject began to experience extreme levels of gender dysphoria, which led her to going to therapy and grappling with what it meant to transition, from both a physical and mental standpoint, specifically when it came to hormone treatment. “One thing that really bothered and disturbed me in the beginning was hormones,” she says, sharing that she was weighing her dysphoria against the “permanent effects of estrogen.” 

“What I felt was this sense of dread, that no matter what I did, I would be uncomfortable with the result,” shares the subject. She spent a year wondering if taking hormones and transitioning was the right decision, or if it was “just a phase” that could be “cleared up through therapy.” She eventually decided to “socially transition,” at least amongst her close friends, but the COVID-19 pandemic made that difficult. “It was just a lot of introspection and a lot of thinking about transition,” says the subject of her time during the pandemic. 

After deliberating for months, she eventually decided to start hormonal treatment, telling only her therapist and her doctor. But even as she slowly started telling more people, she was still struggling with her identity. “I began to discover more of myself much slower than most trans people I think really discovered themselves,” says the subject.  

Spending a semester abroad during her junior year allowed the subject to embrace her identity in a way she never had before. One specific night, at a club in Berlin, was a particularly essential milestone in her transgender journey. 

“I bought a whole outfit online, learned a bit of makeup and went out. And it was like five in the morning when I got to this super exclusive club called Berghain,” she shares. The subject was intimidated to try and get in, but she went for it, and the bouncer let her inside. 

“The most important part of this experience was that I decided to present as a woman, and I kind of passed for one,” she says. “I spent the next 15 hours just being myself and in this really incredible environment where I could truly express who I was without any fear of judgment.”

This moment was monumental for the subject, especially in terms of her confidence, but she still struggles daily with her transgender journey. 

“For me, transitioning is something I wish I could pull off successfully and fully and feel amazing about,” shares the subject. “But it’s not something I imagine I’ll ever really be able to do 100%.” 

The subject finds it difficult to be “proud” of being trans, and wants people going through a similar experience to know that it’s OK to not experience the “overwhelming confidence” and “overwhelming euphoria” that many trans people present. “Everyone goes through different experiences,” she says. “A lot of us have a much slower process.” 

While the struggle is constant, the subject shares that daily practices like putting on makeup at home, or doing voice training, are great ways to instill positivity. “All those things are very difficult,” she says. “But they’re all so rewarding and they all make me feel so great.” 

About a year after first taking hormones, the subject has changed her name and has started to slowly embrace her trans identity, even amongst her friends and family. “Transitioning for me, has, and will continue to be, a very gradual process,” she shares. “There will be lots of pauses, there will be lots of times where I make breakthroughs, but ultimately, overall, it’s not something that will be particularly rapid. And that’s a perfectly valid way of going about your transition.” 

“In The Know: Walks of Life” is available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, and Stitcher.

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