By Mila Madison

Many of our readers have reached out to us looking for answers to the questions of whom, what, and why we are. Though this is a common question for all individuals, it takes on a different level of importance when it comes to the transgender community. We are often the exception to what society considers “normal”. We talk about how we identify. Maybe that is the issue? Do we really identify or have we always just been who and what we are?

Webster’s dictionary defines the term “identity” as follows:

: who someone is : the name of a person
: the qualities, beliefs, etc., that make a particular person or group different from others

My problem with the word identity is that it appears as a choice, a conscious decision. It gives the impression that we just decided, “This is my gender identity." The reality is that most of us just came to terms with and accepted the fact that our gender identity is different than what we were told all of our lives. Some of us are lucky enough to realize this fact early in life and others figure it out much later.


The more I progress in my journey; the more I realize I was always female. I was raised as a male because that is what my physical body (my sex) told my parents, doctors, family, friends, and society in general that this was what I was supposed to be. At that time gender was not known to be something other than the physical sex. But today we know differently. We know that sex is the physical body and gender is in the brain. I will go even further by saying it is in the soul, our energy, or whatever that force is that makes us who we are. I did not choose my gender. I only accepted the facts of what it is.

I scoured the Internet this week in search of the terms, “What makes you a woman?” and “What makes you a man?” ( I know, very binary of me). The responses surprised me as the answers were all different. For some, yes it was just physical sex, but for most of the others it varied. Some stated it was their desire to nurture or strong maternal emotions and behavior. Some cited having menstrual cycles and while some cited the ability to bear children. Many stated it was having curves and being able to dress or act feminine. My favorite was, “A feminine woman is actually comfortable being a feminine woman.”

For the men it was again physical sex for some. For others it was words like toughness, being able to provide, strength, and dominance. Some men stated it was having the character of a man while others cited it is having integrity. We also had some who stated it is simply genetics and feeling masculine.

The point here is that the questions of whom, what, and why are all exactly the same for those who are cisgender. They are just not subject to the same pressures about it as those who are transgender. For both of the binary sexes there are a million different answers to the question of “What makes you your gender?” There are cisgender women out there who are unable to bear children. There are some who do not menstruate. There are some who do not want to be curvy while some do not want to be feminine or nurturing. Not every woman has the desire to bear children. It is the same with the men. Not all men are tough nor do they all provide for their families. Some are the nurturers in the family and some are more feminine than others. There is nothing that defines gender other than the phrase “I just am."


I was always a woman. I was just born with male parts. I am no less a woman than any other woman. Society does not get to tell me who I am. My gender is female. I always was. I was just told differently all my life. I did my best to be what I was told, but it is simply not true. If you want to say I am a transgender female because of the parts I was born with that is fine, but I am still a woman. Though some will use the term “Male to Female” it is not correct in my eyes. I was never male. I did not transition from being male, I transitioned from thinking I was male. I just accepted the facts of who and what I am. I stopped pretending to be a man.

So many of us start our journey with the question “Am I trans?” If you are asking that question there is most likely a reason for it. It took me a long time to realize most cisgender people never have to question what they are. They just know. When they are asked, they often become uncomfortable as they never had to think about it before. So why is it that you and I are not allowed to just know who we are? Is it because for us it was physically different?


Gender dysphoria is a physical condition. When your brain does not match your physical body, it often results in dysphoria. The mental effects are the result of this physical condition. This is why the term “gender identity disorder” is no longer used. This is also why gender dysphoria is no longer considered a mental disorder. There is nothing wrong with us, most of us were just born with the wrong parts and the only effective treatment for this condition is transition.

So maybe it is time to lose the word identity? Though for some identity describes them, the description does not fit me personally. I made no choices here. My gender is female. I don’t identify, I just am.

Stay safe and keep fighting for all of us!

Love and Peace,

Mila Madison

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

I cannot agree more. But to be consistent, maybe you should change your version of the genderbread person to put gender where it belongs, and drop that identity word?

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