what being trans
means to me
written by Kyle William Urban
Well, I have a complicated relationship with it, if I’m honest.
I began questioning my gender identity in my early teen years. I was always ‘boyish’, and I began wearing stereotypical ‘boy’ clothing when I was around eight because my mum believes that clothing is clothing. Still, I always pushed the thought that I could be trans to the very back of my mind.
At 18 years old, I cut all my hair off.
At 19 years old, I came out as a trans man. I was very lucky to have a supportive family. I started going by Kyle and he/him pronouns. I also went to my GP about going to the gender clinic.
I legally changed my name at 21 and my gender marker on my ID at 23.
I started hormones at 22.
It’s been a long and slow process.
I said earlier that my relationship with being transgender is difficult, and here’s why:
There is so much prejudice towards trans people, both within the LGBTQ+ community and out of it. Reading all the negativity about trans people really does affect my mental health.
But here’s the thing. Before I came out, I saw no future for myself. I was severely depressed and anxious. Now I’m still depressed and anxious, but I’m happy with who I am. Coming out doesn’t fix your mental health, but for me, it helped. Do you know what also helps a trans person’s mental health? Acceptance.
Sometimes, I want to live as stealth (I don’t want people to know I’m trans), other times, I’m okay with people knowing.
In my real, everyday life, I want to be seen as a cis guy. It’s safer for me, and it’s also easier.
I’m at a place in my transition where I am passing pretty well, but this is not something every
trans person wants or can do.
My online life is very different. I’m open about being trans on my blogs. I am a book
blogger and writer, so I keep a close eye on books with themes around transgender
people, and I read and review these. I have also written and published a poetry book, in
which I state that I am trans. I am very aware that at some point, my two worlds will collide,
but this is within my control.
The world isn’t kind to transgender people. This is the harsh truth. We are slowly finding more acceptance, but it will be a long path. I know that me being out online can make a difference, even if it’s small.
I have one simple request that I have given my friends and family: do not out me. I’ve had issues with people outing me in my real life and it was terrifying. Sure, you might think that your friend is accepting, and they may be, to your face. But someone might overhear or they might tell someone who isn’t as accepting. It’s dangerous, it’s disrespectful and it’s no one else’s business. If I come out to anyone, it will be because I want to, not because I’ve been forced into a corner.
To me, telling someone that someone else is trans, is like telling someone that someone else’s hair colour isn’t their natural colour. Or telling someone another’s secret that they trusted you with. It makes no difference to them if they know someone is trans or not, but it opens up a whole world of them making assumptions about us and our bodies.
‘Wow, I couldn’t tell that you are trans.’
This is also not a compliment. What does trans look like? I know most of the time this is coming from a good place, but it implies that being and looking trans is a bad thing.
I’m not ashamed of being transgender. I will never be ashamed. I am scared of the hate in the world.
Being transgender means different things to different people, and some people don’t wish to be known as transgender. This is a personal choice, and one which many relate to. Some people are okay with people knowing, but still, please don’t out anyone, to anyone else, without asking the person first.
Being transgender is only a small part of my identity. I’m British, I’m gay, I’m a writer and artist, and I just happen to be transgender. That doesn’t make me more, or less, interesting or important than anyone else.
My name is Kyle and I’m a trans man, but I wish that wasn’t the one thing people focused on.