To All My Trans Brothers and Sisters: It's Not a Race

The Race for Post-Transition

There's no denying it: Being transgender is tough. Reaching a point in life where my transition didn't pollute every inch of my thoughts was my ultimate goal.

Or so I thought.

When I first started questioning and looking for guidance, I participated in a few transgender Facebook groups. The people were inherently nice and I got my questions and concerns answered but I noticed that transition was treated as some sort of race to get hormones, change your name, get surgery and just move on with life.

Now that I'm farther longer in my transition (but not necessarily post-transition), the most common questions I've seen were either "When would it be a good time to change your legal name?" or "When did you get (insert surgery here)?" While these can be done whenever, I noticed many people rushed to get it all done and went either stealth or went on to help others early on in their journey.

Being close to two years on testosterone, most transgender people I meet would, while asking me about my transition, automatically assume that I was post-op only for me to tell them otherwise. For a while, I also originally thought that rushing to get it all over with and then go stealth was the right way to go -- until I realized it wasn't.

With rushing to changing my name early on so I could apply to jobs without worrying about being outed, I'm now going through a second name change because I eventually realized Damien wasn't a good fit for me. I wish I had chosen a name that just stuck with me right from the get-go but it didn't happen that way.

In changing my name a second time, I started to realize that I could go through transition at my own pace and ignore what everyone else was going through because it's not a race. There's no finish line to get to, and there's no need to compete with others on who got the fastest changes on hormones or got the best surgery results. It's your own journey, and it's your choice to decide when you are ready and whether or not you need x, y and z to be happy.

"There's no finish line to get to. ... It's your choice to decide when you are ready."

Knowing what I know now, I decided to put top surgery off for the moment. I have the money all saved up ready to go but I don't feel like it's the right time to have such major surgery when I'm currently depressed. My chest dysphoria may still be alive and kicking but my mental health is important and needs to be addressed first before I go any further. If I want to have it done, I want it done right.

To all my trans brothers and sisters: don't feel that you need to rush because transition is a journey in discovering yourself. There's no shame in wanting to take time for yourself and take a break from going further in your transition. Aways practice self-care and reach out for help when you need it. You are never alone.

This post originally appeared on Dear Cis People.