Doctors made a mistake when I was born. They took a look at me, then said “it’s a boy” — except I’m not. I’m a transgender woman.
Being trans is equal parts amazing and confusing. It’s confusing because the sheer lack of representation in media and in education means you have to figure out a lot of things for yourself (it took me until I was 20 to know what the word “transgender” meant, and until I was 23 to accept I was a woman). It’s confusing because you’re asked to prove your identify at every turn by answering questions like “But what does it mean to be a woman?”, which I doubt most people have the faintest clue how to answer.
It’s confusing also because it’s a bit like walking on a tightrope, between knowing that society’s gender stereotypes are damaging and not wanting anyone to be held to them, and having to conform to them myself for my own sake and survival. I’m a staunch feminist, and I despise the pressure that society puts on people, especially anyone who isn’t a cis man, to conform to protracted gender stereotypes. On the other hand, being perceived by society as a man triggers intense gender dysphoria for me, and a lot of those stereotypical traits are ingrained in me, simply because I was raised with them.
Having boobs doesn’t have to mean you’re a woman, just as you don’t need boobs to be a woman. But to 4-years-ago Amy, the prospect of having access to Hormone Replacement Therapy (testosterone blockers and oestrogen), of which one of the effects is breast growth, was a lifeline — partly because it meant I would have a higher chance of being perceived as a woman by society and not be misgendered.
Almost four years in, it’s helped me have a body and boobs that match the person I’ve known I am for the longest time. It also means I can relate when my peers are talking about how great/annoying it can be to have boobs. It sounds silly in a way, but being trans came for me with the intense regret of not having experienced child- and teen-hood as the girl I now know I am.
I absolutely love my body, which is not something I would have thought possible five years ago. I have home-grown boobs, and they’ve helped me feel more confident, comfortable — myself.