So: I’m trans.
First things first. I’ve taken “Natalie” as my new name and I use female (“she”) or neutral (“they”) pronouns. If you get these wrong, I’ll gently remind you, but don’t worry: I’m not upset.
Practically speaking, not much is changing beyond my name, pronouns, and presentation. I’m still happily engaged to Liz and I’m still working on both Dart and Sass. Expect considerably more pictures of me in cute outfits and complaints about laser hair removal, but otherwise my social media will remain largely the same.
In terms of my identity, I consider myself to be a trans woman but also to be gender non-binary. When I first started understanding myself as trans, I was motivated mostly by a feeling of alienation from masculinity, and I described myself as genderqueer. As I’ve explored femininity more since then, I’ve found myself comfortable with it to varying degrees in various situations. The whole thing is complicated and I’m still working on understanding it myself, which is why I’ve taken to just describing myself as “trans” and leaving it at that.
I’m very lucky to have friends, family members, and colleagues who are uniformly wonderful and supportive. Their support has allowed me to see my transition as a way of understanding myself more deeply, expressing myself more honestly, and even—this took me by surprise—as fun. Sometimes it also seems terrifying and impossible, of course, but by and large I’m excited. Excited to finally be out to everyone, excited to wear clothes that make me feel good about how I look, and excited to spend the next day and a half painstakingly changing my name on every website I’ve ever visited.
How should I refer to you in the past, before you started transitioning?
Use my new name and pronouns. This is generally considered to be the polite way to refer to any trans folks, regardless of what point in time you’re referring to.
Do you prefer “she” or “they”?
I don’t really have a preference, although many people find “she” easier to get used to.
How does “they” work grammatically?
Some of you may already be using singular they in your day-to-day speech, but some of you may not. Generally, you treat it as though it were plural, despite referring to a single person: “they are awesome”, for example.
Can I tell other people about this?
Yes, especially people who know me in meatspace but may not see this! This post is the last step in my process of coming out, which means that as of now I’m no longer closeted anywhere. I expect to be doing a lot of explaining to people about why I’m wearing skirts over the next few weeks, so the more people who know in advance, the less worn-out my spiel will be.
Can I ask you more questions about this whole thing?
Also yes! It’s probably a good idea to do some background reading to understand the basics, but I’m happy to talk to people about it. If there are any questions I don’t feel comfortable answering, I’ll say so.