I really wish I was a girl. How can I start the transitioning process?

I really wish I was a girl. How can I start the transitioning process?

Sophie Desjardins

Hi Naomi,


First and foremost, being a girl is not something you wish to become, it’s something you realize you are. This distinction might seem trivial, but it’s rather important : sex is your biology and gender is a part of your identity, or who you are. Gender is not something you chose so much as it’s something you feel within you. The choice one has, then, is what to do about it.

The short answer to your question is that process potentially starts with a therapist and a doctor. It depends on what you want to do with your transition and also on where you live, exactly.

Short answers are often incomplete and lacking, so the following is a more complete answer to your question. There are multiple aspects to a transition, which I’ll divide in three categories : medical, social and legal. Note that, contrary to what some believe, there is no better or correct way to transition. That thinking leads to problematic ideas such “good vs bad” trans people. I (and I’m far from being alone in this) know this to be an arbitrary norm. You do it your way and choose what you want or don’t want to do based on who you are and what you desire. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

Medical transition covers everything that changes some aspects of your body’s sexual characteristics. HRT (hormone replacement therapy) changes the hormonal balance in your body. In your case, it would lower testosterone levels and increase estrogen levels to match those of cis women. Since all human bodies are responsive to all sex hormones, your body would then develop feminine secondary sexual characteristics (i.e. breasts, softer skin, etc.). Surgeries come in a lot of varieties, all optional, up to and including vaginoplasty, which is the surgery that changes one’s penis to a vagina. 

For HRT, one needs to see a general practitioner or an endocrinologist. The new standard of care (WPATH) requires informed consent for HRT, which means that the person taking it has been informed of the effects of the treatment and knows what they are choosing to do. For a surgery such as vaginoplasty, the usual requirement is a gender dysphoria diagnosis. Depending on what state you live in and the professionals you see, this might vary. Some follow the established standards of care and some are even very well informed and proactive, but others still follow outdated and conservative procedures or outright refuse care.

Social transition covers everything that regards interaction with other people. Coming out is one major aspect of it, and there are many ways to go about it. Some people will tell everyone and be fully “out”, other will tell only some at first and go from there. Gender expression is also an aspect of it and is summed up by all of the things one does to alter their appearance in order to be perceived how they want to be perceived. Clothing and accessories, wigs, prosthetics, makeup and any other thing that changes one’s appearance are a part of this. Behavior and mannerism also belongs here. The funny thing is that everyone has a gender expression and does some of this to some degree, trans or not. How we dress affects how we are perceived, whatever our gender. Voice is also more often a part of social transition than medical because most people will do voice training instead of surgeries to change it (if they wish for such a change).

Legal transition has to do with changing your legal name and gender.

The reason I’m listing all of the possibilities is because before one starts a transition, they have to think about what they want to do. It’s okay to not know in advance ALL of what one wants to do, but you at least have to know what it is you do want.

As I’ve already mentioned, care can vary according to what state you live in. There has been a wave of conservative and transphobic hatred in recent years and it’s especially strong in your country (I’m Canadian, by the way, but I keep up with the news). Many anti-trans laws have been written and even passed, and though some might get repealed because of their unconstitutionality, as things stand, some states are currently very hateful and hostile environments for trans people. Others less so. 

In this context, before you decide on anything, take your own security into consideration. Since your 17, I’m assuming that you probably still live with your parents. As long as you depend on them for food and lodging, their reaction to you transitioning matters. It’s very hard to predict how the people around you, parents, friends or others, will react to you coming out or being trans, but it’s good practice to consider what your options are if they react poorly or even violently. Better safe than sorry, in this matter. You mentioned that you’re Jewish, and though I’m not well versed on this religion, I have to say that more often than not, religious thinking tends to lean towards conservatism and intolerance of trans people. I sincerely hope that this isn’t the case for you and that the people close to you will react with acceptance and love.

So, what is my answer to your original question as to how one starts a transition? These days, I would say carefully and with knowledge. Join local LGBTQ+ communities, in person or online, and learn about how things are in your state. If you currently live in one of the more transphobic states, I’ll go as far as to suggest at least considering moving to a safer place. We all hope that this wave of bigotry will pass, but in the mean time, knowledge and caution are essential.

In closing, a note about seeking help : know that there are some people or organisations who pass themselves off as allies but are, in truth, anything but. I suggest avoiding those since they don’t care about you or your identity. The only want to impose their normality on everyone.


I hope this helps you in deciding what you want to do and how you will do it.

Sophie (she/her), volunteer for AlterHéros