19 Transgender People Reveal The First Sign That They Were Trans

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Puberty for any adolescent can be perplexing, annoying, scary, and awkward — but going through puberty when your body doesn’t coincide with the gender within? That can turn everything upside down if you don’t have a loving and supportive network of family and friends to confide in and help you through transitioning and understanding who you really are.

For some transgender youth, their first memories of being trans happened as early as 3 or 4 years old. The confusion and longing and wondering why they couldn’t be Nala from The Lion King for Halloween or wear dresses to preschool marked their childhood as being different. Some would hope and pray for magic potions that would swiftly change their sex overnight, but every time they woke up the next morning, they’d have to face their devastating reality.

In a crushing and ridiculous political climate, trans people across the country and world are having their rights stripped and their lives threatened — even ended — and just because they are living in their true identity. So let’s listen to our trans brothers and sister because these outdated, backward, and stifling heteronormative, patriarchal gender norms can GTFO of here!

These 19 individuals look back on their first memories of being trans:




Honestly, I grew up pretty conservative, so I didn’t really even consider it until college, at 19 (I’m 24 now). My mom pointed out after I came out to her that she started wondering when she noticed that all of the characters I created were men or “women disguising themselves as men” (they were trans before I knew what being trans was or how to describe them/being trans, basically) because that was something that I was drawn to. I really only started looking into it when I got my first girlfriend the spring after I turned 19– I pretty much exclusively wore jeans and t-shirts and had my hair cut super short, so she would jokingly call me her boyfriend every once in a while. I started wondering why I liked that so much better than being her girlfriend, so I started googling. Found out… oh, this is a thing. this fits me. This works. I’m not a girl after all.


There were no sudden clicks. There are some things in hindsight that might suggest it. But overall it was a gradual buildup of wants that culminated in the idea of transitioning. I might add here, my mother was very very much 90s liberal feminist and also lesbian, so I grew up in a household without gender roles enforced on me. I was let to paint nails, she suspected I was bi/gay and said nothing, they bought me barbies if I wanted. Also I had very high estrogen count when I was born, I think I had weird breast buds or something? My mother had told me that when I was young but I didn’t know what estrogen was, she mentioned it again after I came out to her recently. I was constantly called out by my father who I had little contact with for having many female mannerisms at ~12. My male friends were cool to me but I never felt like “one of the guys”, I felt like I was trying to be “one of the guys” and failing, but it was funny to me and they’d make a lot of sexual jokes that totally weren’t gay bro.


In hindsight probably the time in 6th grade when I was adamant about having really short hair so I could spike it and wearing boys clothes including boxers I stole from my step brother (they had cats on them and he never wore them) but my dad beat the shit out of me and showed me the mangled bodies of trans and lesbian people who were murdered and I didnt figure out I was trans until I was 23.

Written by Laura McNairy

Laura is a freelance writer for TFLN. She likes to write about what she knows best — dating, sex, and being awkward, but usually in the opposite order. She is the Assistant Editor and videographer for Peach Fuzz, a sex-positive nudie magazine in ATX.