“You Cannot Be What You Cannot See”: My Gender Transition via Personal Development

by Sophia Gubb on November 2

TransformationIt seems like I started to transition just before the little explosion of transgender awareness that’s currently hitting the popular consciousness. I won’t call it the “transgender tipping point” because, for my taste, that seems to suggest that things are no longer incredibly hard for trans people—an idea I’m keen to challenge. But nowadays, trans people are in the media and are being empowered to tell their stories their own way. First, it was Laverne Cox. Then, Lana Wachowski became publicly visible with her HRC speech. Then there was Janet Mock, and hero Chelsea Manning came out right after having captured the media’s attention for being a super badass.

If you think about that, it’s a LOT of people coming into the public eye all at once. And I do think it’s no coincidence; the changing times have made it easier for some famous people who were previously in the closet to come out, and for some other people to become famous where previously their voices would have been silenced because of who they were. There was a chain reaction sparked by a sort of critical mass of acceptance… perhaps we could call it a tipping point, if not of rights, then of visibility.

Visibility is a powerful thing. I don’t have any statistics but I get the impression that a lot of trans people are transitioning now in particular. It’s because, as they say, “You can’t be what you can’t see”; visibility has finally shown people what was possible.

I started transitioning just before all this happened and missed out on all those role models. I still had one thing going for me though: the internet, another force that has been changing the face of the trans world for a good few years now. With the internet, you can find things out.

And this brings me to the Steve Pavlina forums. I’d been engaging in self-exploration for some time now, discovering all sorts of different things about myself. I learned that I was bisexual and oriented towards polyamorous relationships. I’d discovered I was into animal rights and veganism. I’d realised that Pick Up Artistry is staggeringly awful…and so on.

When I began to notice that I enjoyed crossdressing, I started to approach this discovery as I had approached any other form of self-exploration. I experimented, I journaled, I talked about it with the people close to me, and I mentioned it on the forums.

trans 3But still, I couldn’t be what I couldn’t see. Fortunately, the forums were kind enough to give me a little push in the right direction.

I can’t dig up the old posts and show you, but I more or less remember the content. There were two posts on the forums that started me down this road. Both of them were second-hand accounts, people on the forums writing about what had happened to other people they knew or had heard about.

One involved a guy who decided to take hormones as an experiment. This was very much a “PD” kind of thing: the guy apparently had no proclivities in this direction, he just wanted to discover how hormones influence thinking. And good on him, I say.

I don’t remember that much about the details; I think it was the mere fact that he did it at all that stuck with me. As far as I can remember, it made him cry more, and after a month he started wanting to wear dresses, at which point he got cold feet and dropped the experiment.

The other post I read was even more interesting to me. In retrospect, I believe that this wasn’t so much an “experiment”, as the poster was presenting it, but a case of actual transsexualism. But whatever it was, the person being mentioned had moved city and started life as a woman, taking hormones and what have you. Apparently s/he seemed pretty comfortable in this role, despite occasional harassment, but eventually quit. Who knows why; the haze of memory and second hand reporting obscures a lot, even though I’m sure that if I saw the post again I’d read it with different eyes.

So it was basically these posts—and a podcast I listened to explaining the concept of gender fluidity—that formed my idea of what I could do. I knew I could live as a woman, I knew I could take hormones, and I knew that gender fluidity was a thing. I’d later read more, and eventually would become the budding trans scholar I am today, but to start with it was those three things, discovered without looking for them, that set off a little fermentation in my head that eventually became my NEW LIFE EXPERIMENT.

I really didn’t read that much before I started. In general, I’m the “start acting, refine your ideas later” kind of person, perhaps because I once was an over-thinker and needed to do this to overcome analysis paralysis. Whatever the case, I started my little experiment with a warm-up month, wearing a few small items of feminine attire, and then when I felt the time was right, I exploded into action with a Facebook post telling people how I’d like to be referred to now, and a full wardrobe change.

In the Facebook frenzy that followed, someone from the forums told me privately that he thought that this might be the reason I had been so highly strung before. I had never thought of it that way, and it would take me a good couple of years to see where he was coming from, but I’m now certain he was right. I had been this angry crusader in the forums because deep down, I just wasn’t comfortable with myself. Funny how sometimes, other people can see these things even when you can’t.

In the coming months, I blogged about this “experiment” a lot. I reported on it like I had seen Steve report on his lifestyle changes. The only thing is, shortly after starting I began to realise that this wasn’t just any old personal development stunt. With personal development, I feel like there’s this clinical sort of perspective, where you make a change, then step back and observe it. This couldn’t work that way because it changed the whole of me, the whole of my context, including the experimental set up. There could be no objective observation after this.

In other words, I thought I had control, I thought I was making things happen, but instead, all I had done was throw the first stone in an avalanche that was entirely outside of my influence.

happiness 2It’s been three and a half years now, and the last few stones are still trickling down the mountainside. My mind has been officially blown and then put together again a thousand times.

For example, I’m now aware that studying social justice is an integral part of developing as a conscious person. I’m aware of what sexism means, and what it feels like to be oppressed for being a woman. I’m aware of what it’s like to walk down the street and not feel safe just because of what you look like or who you’re holding hands with.

I’ve become a lot more mellow and grounded. I’m no longer battling one of my biggest inner demons, which has allowed me a lot more psychological freedom and dare I say, made me a nicer person. This in turn seems to have finally allowed me to make headway in self-love. I can finally look at myself in the mirror and say “I love you” and mean it, which is a massive change from before. I didn’t realise it, because it had been my default state for all my life, but I used to loathe myself.

All in all, I consider my gender transition a successful experiment and a good example of how personal development can really change your life.

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Hi! I’m Sophia. I’m a transgender indigo adult, who, after an intense waking up process involving chronic illness, depression and madness, came to deeply find herself. As a small indigo child I already had a commentary going about life and society. Now that I’m an adult, and had to fight my way through hell to get here, I have a lot to say.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn Serra | Sex & relationship coach November 2, 2015 at 8:26 am

Thank you for sharing your journey with the world. It’s so important. And social justice – that is the thing that all of us really need, recognizing all of the intersections of injustice, speaking our truths to help pull along the folks who feel safe in their stereotypes and assumptions.

So much yes!

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Noel Rosos November 2, 2015 at 6:36 pm

Very inspiring post Sophia!

I totally agree that for you to discover who you really are, you must learn to love yourself first and accept who you are and what you represent. Only then will you finally know why you’re here on earth, you life purpose to be exact.

You should be your biggest fan because each of us are unique and special.

Thanks for sharing.

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Kahnie November 3, 2015 at 2:00 am

Wow, before reading your post I did not understand why people chose to change the gender they were born with, but I didn’t judge because I believe “to each his own”. Then after reading your post I was almost in tears from happiness. Toward the end you stated that you can now look yourself in the mirror and say “I love you”, that’s when a click went off in my head and I finally understood. So many people search their whole life’s trying to find themselves and never loving themselves. I’m so proud of you for beating the masses and making it to freedom, you rock!

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Sheena November 3, 2015 at 3:50 am

wow such an amazing story you shared here. truly inspiring. thank u!

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Paul Mathis November 3, 2015 at 9:56 am

Thank you for sharing your experience!

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Sharon November 7, 2015 at 5:00 am

What an awesome share Sophia and to me the most important thing of all is you have found peace in yourself and that you love yourself!!! Thanks again for your share!

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Alex November 18, 2015 at 8:29 am

Wow, never have I heard anyone’s story of transitioning to a different gender. Interesting read.

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Stephanie D'Laroy February 8, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Awesome post and sharing a truly amazing story. Thank you

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Deth February 18, 2016 at 1:19 am

Gud vad du e4r underbar som ke4mpar ff6r din falimj och dina barn! Vilken ke4mparglf6d! Den glf6den beundrar jag je4tte mycket, men jag tror inste4llningen spelar roll! Du har en fantastisk inste4llning! c5 att du gf6r minnesle5dor till barnen e4r fantastiskt! De kommer titta ofta i le5dorna och minnas dig, din ke4mparanda, din ke4rleksfullhet, din gle4dje och alla saker de har upplevt med dig! Kramar i massor! All ke4rlek till dig underbara Elisabeth!

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