Gender transition is a deeply personal process. During gender transition, a person makes many changes to align their physical, social, and emotional experiences with their gender identity. Some of these changes are obvious and others are not. Gender transition can involve clinical support such as:

There are as many paths to gender transition as there are people. Your gender transition might include a range of experiences such as changing your name and pronouns, using gender-affirming hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgeries, and sharing your gender identity with friends and family.

Understanding gender dysphoria and gender euphoria

When you’re talking about gender transition, it’s important to understand the concepts of gender dysphoria and gender euphoria. Gender dysphoria is the distress or discomfort someone feels when their gender identity does not align with their physical body or their innermost self. Anyone can experience gender dysphoria (even cisgender people!). However, it is more commonly discussed in regards to the transgender and nonbinary community.

Many people begin their gender transition in order to get relief from gender dysphoria, but this uncomfortable feeling isn’t required to access the health care you need. Gender-affirming clinical support such as hormone therapy or surgeries can help lessen or alleviate gender dysphoria.

Gender euphoria, on the other hand, is the positive feeling that someone experiences when their gender identity is affirmed. For some people, this might be a fresh haircut or a new outfit, a compliment from a friend, or loving how your body feels.

It is also important to recognize and celebrate moments of gender euphoria. This might be through wearing clothing that aligns with your gender identity or being referred to by the correct pronouns. Doing anything that is gender-affirming, from wig shopping to flirting, can give you gender-euphoric feelings. Whatever your experience, know that your joy is just as valid as your struggle. You do not need to be defined by the experiences that caused you pain, but by the ones that filled your heart with light.

Different gender identities within the trans community

The transgender community includes people with a variety of gender identities, including transgender, nonbinary, agender, genderfluid, and gender non-conforming (GNC) identities. You can read more about these identities, and other gender identities beyond the binary, in this blog post. Here are a few basic terms:

  • Transgender people identify with a gender that is different from the one they were assigned at birth.
  • Nonbinary people do not identify as exclusively male or female, as a combination of multiple genders, or they may identify with an identity that is undefinable.
  • Agender people do not identify with any gender.
  • Genderfluid people experience a fluidity or variability in their gender identity.
  • Gender non-conforming people do not conform to societal expectations of gender expression.

Each of these identities is unique and valid. It is important to feel that your gender identity is respected and honored. Many of us live in multiple gender identities during our lives. We fulfill a broad spectrum of gender roles as workers, parents, friends, partners, and community members. Gender should not be a limiting experience, but one that introduces us to the expansiveness of ourselves.

Common gender identity challenges

Gender dysmorphia can pose a variety of challenges. It may make you feel worn down, defeated, or disconnected from yourself. This blog post can help you cope with body dysphoria using non-clinical, self-care techniques. including cognitive, social, and body dysmorphia.

There are several different types of gender dysphoria. Some people experience only one type, or even none at all. Other people experience multiple types of gender dysphoria, either at different times or all at once. Here are the three types of gender dysphoria that many of the people in our community contend with before and during our gender transitions:

  • Cognitive dysphoria is the distress or discomfort that can arise from the incongruence between someone’s gender identity and the gender they were assigned at birth.
  • Social dysphoria is the distress or discomfort that can arise from the incongruence between someone’s gender identity and societal expectations or norms.
  • Body dysmorphia is the distress or discomfort that can arise from the incongruence between someone’s gender identity and their physical body.

It is important to recognize and address these challenges as they arise. Experiencing gender dysphoria is not a reflection of your worth or your identity. It is a common response to existing in a world that does not have space for us, and a culture that refuses to see us as valid and real.

If you’re struggling with gender dysphoria, you might benefit from connecting with a support group, helpful friends and family, or a mental health professional. Don’t let yourself be alone with your gender dysphoria. Instead of isolating, ask for help in navigating these challenges.

Gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) effects on your body

Plume provides many types of gender-affirming health care, including gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT, sometimes also called hormone replacement therapy or HRT). While GAHT isn’t part of everyone’s transition, more than 90% of Plume’s Members rely on access to hormones. This life-saving clinical support can be an important part of gender transition for folks of very different bodies, gender identities, and transition goals.

Plume provides estrogen, testosterone, T-blockers, spironolactone, progesterone, and many other gender-affirming medications to our Members. Taking GAHT means involves taking hormones or other medications that will help you align your appearance, emotions, and body with your gender identity. Your personal, individual care plan may involve taking testosterone, estrogen, or a combination of medications, depending on your transition goals. Talk to your Care Team about how gender-affirming hormones can support your goals. If you decide you’re not ready for ongoing treatment or it’s not something that’s right for you and your goals, you can simply cancel after the first one-time fee. (You will be refunded your initial consultation fee if you’re medically ineligible for gender affirming hormone therapy.) 

Gender-affirming hormone therapy can create both physical and emotional changes. For people who take estrogen and people who take testosterone, the timelines may be different. However, both types of hormones will create changes in body fat distribution, muscle mass, and hair growth patterns. Both types of hormones also create emotional shifts, including changes in mood, libido, and energy levels.

Navigating the emotional journey of gender transition

No matter where you are in your journey, your gender transition can feel inspiring, emotional, or just plain wild! Transition can be an emotional adventure. It can involve all kinds of feelings of excitement, anxiety, and uncertainty. (Yep, that’s true no matter what your transition looks like.) People go through many milestones during gender transition, including starting hormones, getting gender-affirming surgery, or strategizing how to come out.

When you are transitioning (or deciding to get started), make self-care your priority. Take extra time to give yourself the love you deserve and seek out support from folks you trust to hold you during this profound, transformative experience.

It is also important to recognize the emotional impact that gender transition can have on relationships. Coming out to loved ones and navigating changes in personal and professional relationships can be challenging. However, it is important to remember that living as your authentic self can lead to more fulfilling and meaningful relationships.

Embracing your gender transition and living as your authentic self

Gender transition can be a challenging journey, but it is also an opportunity to embrace your authentic self and live a fulfilling life that is true to who you are. During your transition, it is important to prioritize self-care and seek out support from trusted community members and your Care Team. or mental health professionals, Remember that your gender transition is as beautiful and unique as you are. There’s no comparison, because there is only one of you! Whatever your transition goals are, you can find the support you need as you undertake this amazing experience.

Whether you choose to change your name and pronouns, seek clinical support for gender-affirming hormones and gender-affirming surgeries, or simply transform the way you move through the world, your transition is valid. Your gender transition reflects your new self-awareness and can be a powerful and transformative experience for you. 

Whatever your transition looks or feels like, know that you are not alone. This journey may be long (and sometimes surprising), but it is all yoursto make of what you wish.