How did you know?

What’s it like to be trans? How do you know? That seems a rare sense of self-awareness at such a young age, don’t you think?

These are no doubt just some of the common questions the trans-community faces on a daily bases, as our cis-compatriots struggle to try and make sense of our very existence.

While the trans-experience is certainly complex and multi-faceted, and while I certainly can’t speak for the community at large, for me personally these questions are at they’re very basic level the easiest ones to answer.

I wasn’t any more self-aware as a child than anyone else. I was naive and innocent. A child, with a largely ordinary experience of life at that age. The truth is, I just knew. There was something intrinsically awkward and uncomfortable about being a boy. Something I felt in every fiber of my body. Something I didn’t have words or even an explanation for.

A simple example I like to use to help make sense of this for others is that of a right-handed person having to write with their left hand. It’s a skill that certainly can be mastered, but deep down you just know it’s wrong. It feels awkward, uncomfortable even. That’s what it’s like being trans. That’s how you know. You just know!

Funnily enough, I have been seeing this very example used more frequently by other trans-folk in the media recently. I don’t claim any part in spreading this analogy, but I do find it kind of interesting that something that once made me feel more alone in the world than anything, is a shared experience with so many brothers and sisters.

If you are a cis-person, an ally or otherwise, I hope this example makes the trans-experience just that little more relate-able to you. If you are trans, please know you are not alone.

Cross-posted on Medium.