On the word “transition”
The terms “pre-transition” and “post-transition” have always sounded a little awkward to me. “Pre-transition” makes sense when we’re talking about physical changes: you can determine the exact date when you started hormones or when you got surgery. “Post-transition” isn’t as clear cut: it might start at the moment when you feel satisfied by your body.
Personally, I wouldn’t define myself by my body, although maybe I can only say that because I “pass” pretty well. I think my transition started around the time I assumed a male-ish identity. I could say my transition only consisted in that moment, but I accept that slowly changing my life is a big part of the process.
Lots of people consider that transition doesn’t end for them, and that sounds right for me too. But “transition” means a transit from one state to another: does it make sense to use that term if you don’t define an ending point? Lately I’ve started to question the very word. I’m not criticizing its use by other trans people –plus I might keep using it myself– but I’ve been thinking about it.
We have the chance to remake ourselves every day. I’m aware that reinventing an identity isn’t simple: I couldn’t start wearing “boy” clothes without a struggle with my family, and my friends couldn’t switch pronouns immediately. But at the same time, I started introducing myself with my new name whenever I met someone; I never had to transition with these people. Where would all of this leave me along the transition line?
I don’t think this process can be mapped along a line; there are too many different aspects to it. If you can’t draw a line –if it’s a huge amorphous neverending beast of a process– can you still call it a transition, or is it just life?
I guess there will be a point in my life when gender isn’t an issue anymore, at least in my daily life. Gender will probably never be a non-issue personally and legally, but when everyone in my life uses my chosen name and pronouns, I suppose I’ll look back on this gender-messy time and call it “transition”. It’s just hard to imagine that future.