Sensuous in Satin

Reflections on Transgender life

Liberating the term Transitioning

Posted by Adrian • Friday, May 11. 2012 • Category: Gender Diversity
Whilst writing the 2001 TgR Survey report I have been careful to ensure that a reader outside our community can understand the results. This meant looking up definitions of the words I used and checking that their meaning was as intended.

My primary reference source is Wikipedia, and I was (pleasantly) surprised when I read the definition of "transitioning".

Here is the first paragraph from

Transitioning is the process of changing one's gender presentation to accord with one's internal sense of one's gender - the idea of what it means to be a man or woman.[1]
For transsexuals, this process will also involve sex reassignment therapy, and their new sex is "opposite" that of birth sex; for intersex people it is different from how they were raised; for genderqueer people it is neither solely female nor male.
Cross-dressers and drag queens and drag kings tend not to transition, since their variant gender presentations are (usually) only adopted temporarily.

Transition must begin with a personal decision to transition, prompted by the feeling that one's gender identity does not match the gender that one was assigned at birth. One of the most significant parts of transitioning for many transgender people is coming out for the first time.[1]

Transitioning is a process, not an event, that takes anywhere between several months and several years. Some people, especially genderqueer people, may spend their whole life transitioning as they redefine and re-interpret their gender as time passes.

Transitioning generally begins where the person feels comfortable: for some, this begins with their family with whom they are intimate and reaches to friends later or may begin with friends first and family later. Sometimes transitioning is at different levels between different spheres of life. For example, someone may transition far with family and friends before even coming out at work.

The general nature of this definition was what took me by surprise. I read the words and realised this was describing exactly what has happened in my life. Now i will be the first to admit that by Wikipedia's standards of review - this article isn't a first class entry. It may just be one persons view. But it happens to be a view that I totally agree with.

I guess we all frequently hear the word "Transition" used to indicate a process by which those born as male sex have various surgeries, and start a new life in society as a woman.

How many times have I heard people asking "Are you going to transition?" or "Are you going full-time".

Well maybe it is time to liberate these concepts from the narrow interpretation that a small segment of the gender diverse spectrum has placed on them and use them in a way that embraces the journeys of many in our community.

With this definition, I am proud to say I have transitioned and consider myself "full-time" (except at work...but of course that is a different story for many of us). Is that going to confuse you?