April 19, 2024 Brianna Nicole Austin no responses

Why Do Transgender People Want To Be Someone Else?

This is a common question that is asked of transgender people. I [and others] have heard it quite often.  Many times it’s followed with a puzzled look and “Don’t you like or know who you are?” Let’s dive into perceptions — theirs and ours. 

I’ve had many trans-girls relay stories to me that are similar to my own experiences.  When interviewing Lauren Foster, I asked her Does the gay community “get” what being transgender means.  No,” she said, we have an ongoing debate over why transgender people want to be someone else.”

But then as we as a community are learning, no two trans-girls are the same: it’s a wide spectrum and everyone has different paths, experiences, internal feelings, and identities. For example, my friend Teryl-Lynn Foxx didn’t dress up the first time until after college; beginning transition a few years later  “I always did girly things, but never dreamed of becoming a girl early in life” she said.  And then other friends describe knowing they were the opposite sex as far back as their earliest memories.  Venus Demars noted, “I can never be a woman, but I’m no longer a man — I’m just presenting on the outside the way I feel on the inside.”

I never thought “I’m a girl,” when I was a kid, but I did wonder often — relentlessly — “What would it be like, and could I become a girl?” 

Brianna Austin downtownThrough the years — like many of you — I experimented with dressing up, then make-up.  And we also seem to want to push the envelope, extending our “girl experience” longer and further each time. 

So do we know who we are?  Or are we going through the motions to discover the answer? When I first came out in 2000, it was to explore what I considered a compulsive crossdressing problem so that I could get to its root and cure myself.  

What followed was jarring;  my exploration became a girl’s life, and I was comfortable and content living it.  Could I let go of the man I had developed into over forty years of practice?  Did I want to?

Before coming out we might be confused as to what this internal drive is. After coming out — once we better understand what being transgender means, and how it relates to us on an individual basis — we may find ourselves equally perplexed: we now know more about ‘who we are’, but find ourselves at a crossroads about what to do about it.  

Why Do Transgender People Want To Be Someone Else?

When I asked Venus Demars about what her transgender-ness meant to her, she simply said “Well … I’m a transgender person, I can never be fully a woman, and am no longer a man” and continued, “I guess I am just presenting on the outside the way I feel on the inside, whatever that may be.”   

Do you know who you are? seems perhaps to be a bit misleading a question. Certainly, some transgender people have a clearer understanding and deeper conviction of who they are regarding gender than others. At the same time, there are those in the mainstream who have a clearer understanding and conviction as to their sexual orientation, or the core of their passions, some with the heart and soul of an artist, while others are builders, businessmen, or philosophers. 

It seems that transgender people are no more conflicted or less ‘normal’ than many in the mainstream; we just wear it on our sleeve while they are better camouflaged.     

Do I know who I am?  Certainly. I’m not defined by my gender or gender presentation, but rather by my actions, passions, interests, ideas, and heart.  

Until next time, stay safe, be happy, and always think pretty!
Brianna Austrin

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Brianna Nicole Austin is an author, writer, columnist and journalist and editor of TGLIFE.com from New York City, now living abroad.
Brianna Nicole Austin