This is a question I’ve heard many times. How does one know that their gender does not match their genitals? How does one know that they don’t fit the binary they were given? The topic came up in one of my discords last night, and I wanted to share my answer for how I know I am a woman. This is just my answer, and my own experience, as a binary trans woman. Everyone else’s experience is theirs alone, and you do not need to have shared all of this to be transfeminine. If you are AFAB and gender questioning, these answers still apply, but in an opposed direction. These are the things that would feel wrong for you.

My womanhood is in the way I relate to and interact with others. It’s who I align myself with the most.

Men are foreign and strange, I have little in common with them and do not understand how they think. Their behaviors often confuse me, and their conversations bore me. The way they relate towards those of female shape is so different from myself, and I find their attitudes often repulsive and abhorrent.

Women, however, I understand completely. My own experiences align with theirs, my world view aligns with theirs. I empathize with women on a level that transcends personal relationships. I understand their feelings and their wants. I am most comfortable with women, and not in a sexual way, but in an existential way. Women are my kin, my clan.

My womanhood is also in the way I interact with the world and how the world interacts with me. People behave differently when they perceive someone as male vs female, and the way they behave when they have read me as a woman feels much more natural to me than when they would read me as a man. The way other women feel comfortable around me now and engage in spontaneous conversation. The sisterhood of women feels like my home. I never fit into the brotherhood of men.

My womanhood is in the way I walk, the way I talk, the way I carry myself and use my hands, the way I dance, the way I engage with others and how I behave when they engage back. My mannerisms and behavior are all very feminine, not because I want them to be, but because they are. That wasn’t learned, it came to me naturally. It’s how I was even as a child. I had to force myself to mask it in my adulthood.

My womanhood is in my motherhood and the way I relate to my children. I did not know how to be a father figure because I was not a father! It doesn’t matter if I contributed the sperm side of their formation, my relationship as a parent is ten times better now that I have embraced my motherly instinct. That instinct has been there ever since I was a teenager and started to desperately wish that I could give birth to a child.

Finally, my womanhood is in my relationship to my body now, three years into medical transition. I love my curves, I love the softness of my skin, the feminine shape of my hands, my arms, my legs. The softness of my belly. My breasts, dear god am I so glad to finally have breasts. A body part that had been missing for so long and then finally grew in. The way my body responds to stimuli on an estrogen hormone profile; my temperature response, my fear response, my social response, my sexual response. These things all feel correct in a way that they never did before.

You will notice that what I have NOT mentioned is my presentation. Womanhood is not in the clothes you wear, how long your hair is grown, or the makeup you put on. These things are superficial, and while I do use them to express my femininity, they are not my femininity themselves. This is why I could not simply be a feminine man, because I was never a man to begin with.

If I had ever been presented with the idea as a child that it was possible for me to be a girl, I would have known I was girl. I would have demanded to be a girl. I knew at the age of five that something was wrong, and the only reason I didn’t connect that to being a girl was because that knowledge was denied from me. I was actively told I had to be a boy, because thats what people born with my parts were, and I had no choice in the matter.

Even in my teen years, the only reason I never told anyone how I felt was because everything I found said I was a man with a fetish. Everything said that trans people were fake.

Well we are not fake, we are not a fetish. The only person who was fake was the man I pretended to be until I knew I could stop.