Hi, I’m trans

Chris Northwood
5 min readJun 24, 2021

I have a bit of personal news to share — over the past few months I’ve been on a bit of personal journey and come to the realisation that I’m trans, and I’ve started taking steps on the journey of transitioning to live my life as a woman.

So let’s get some of the admin out of the way: I’m still going to be going by Chris Northwood, but I have changed my legal name (I’m now legally Chris Joanne Northwood). I’m using she/her pronouns, but I recognise that as human brains are pattern matching machines whilst the way I look seems male you might make mistakes and that’s okay.

I am still me, but now I can be even more me, and let a side of myself that I’ve been suppressing my entire life out, and embrace it, and not feel ashamed about it and have to push it down. And I’m so absolutely happy as a result of this realisation.

Why now? It’s been over 20 years since I’ve started feeling this, and everytime it’s come up I’ve always pushed it down. I can’t be trans because I don’t feel the intense discomfort in my body that trans people are supposed to have. I’d be an ugly woman. I’ve got a good life and being trans would make it worse. This is just my Asperger’s playing tricks on me. It’s okay to like feminine things and feeling that you have to be trans to do that is just patriarchal oppression. You’re too old now and you’d have to start your life over again. The things I told myself to suppress it.

Then two things happened at the end of last year. Elliot Page came out as trans, and I had booked in laser eye surgery. Now, Elliot Page and I are the same age which demolished the argument in my mind that I was now too old to explore it. And having laser eye surgery booked in made me realise that if there was something I didn’t like about myself, I could change it! So I decided to (once again) explore these feelings, and something clicked (or as the trans community say — my egg cracked) as I came across the concept of gender euphoria. If gender dysphoria is the down side of feeling like your internal self doesn’t match your body, gender euphoria is the opposite — the happy feeling you get when you do something that does match your internal gender. And I realise that when I do something stereotypically female, it made me really happy (until the shame kicked in at least). So I started reading people’s journeys and transitions, watching video blogs and exploring those feelings and I realised that I’d been missing this my whole life. And it all clicked into place. I’m trans.

Terrifying as it was, I had to start taking those steps. I realised that if I pushed those feelings down again this time, and this was the strongest I had ever felt them, they’d just keep coming back stronger and stronger, and I’d eventually have to take those steps, and regret not doing it earlier. So why wait?

So here I am. I’ve started my journey, I’ve come out to friends, family and at work. I’ve changed my name and taken steps along my “social transition”. I’ve started having laser hair removal of my facial hair. I’ve seen a psychologist and I have an appointment to see an endocrinologist to start hormone therapy to start my medical transition. (I’m doing this privately because the NHS’s provision for trans people is broken beyond belief with multi-year waiting lists, and although there are trials to reform it, I’m not going to hang around whilst I can afford not to).

I’ve been so lucky to be surrounded by incredibly supportive people and to feel loved and embraced by friends and family. I’m also incredibly privileged to be able to take these steps living in a place that’s safe to do so, and having a stable living situation. Not everyone gets that, and as trans people are becoming more visible in society, there’s an increasing force pushing back against us. Conservative religious groups in America are funding (and winning) campaigns for anti-trans laws in the US, having identified that rights for trans people to live freely are a divisive issue that fires up their own base (although most polling shows that the majority of people accept trans people, there is a vocal minority that rejects us). In the UK there’s also a transphobic movement of people known as TERFs or “Gender Critical” who have received funding from these same groups and who have adopted the language of feminism but are ultimately pushing arguments that under even light scrutiny do not achieve the goals they use to justify introducing them, and also in many cases are harmful to cisgendered women too. However, these arguments are also happening in the media without trans people being involved in them, so only one side is shown. I’d understand if someone saw the media coverage and believed the arguments presented, but I would urge you to listen to trans voices speaking against those arguments and see for yourself how they fail to stand up for scrutiny. (This piece by Julia Serano is a great start).

These arguments exist for one reason only: to stigmatise trans people. To what end I’m not sure, to force us all back in the closet? Like most hate groups it’s not clear. The gender critical movement is using the same techniques the right did to radicalise misogyny into young men through Gamergate to radicalise middle-class/middle-aged women into transphobia. Being on the receiving end of this hate is what I’m most scared of, especially as this is me outing myself to the world on social media. But this is pride month. And I’m proud to be me, despite those who might want me to disappear.

I’m more than happy to chat about my feelings and my journey with people in good faith, so please reach out if you do have any questions, or want to understand more. I’m writing this blog post to share my journey and my thoughts, as reading other people’s stories helped me, especially when I related to them hard. I feel like I’ve been waiting around for someone to give me permission to be trans, and now I realised the only person who needed to give me permission was myself. If you’re having the same feelings, don’t make the mistake I did and wait around for permission.




Chris Northwood

A technologist wanting to share knowledge and iterate towards a better world.