I’ve known for a long time that given the choice, I’d want to be a woman. If I had a magic button that would “make me a woman”, I’d press it without hesitating.

“Don’t lots of people wish they were another gender?” I thought. (Apparently they don’t.) Turns out if you wish you were another gender, you probably are. I wish someone had told me earlier.

Like most trans people, I just want to live my life. The attempted suicide rate among trans people is something like 45%. This is 25 times higher than the suicide rate among the general population. Similarly the rates for harassment, discrimination, joblessness, homelessness, sexual violence, and more are all significantly higher for trans people. If given the option, very few people would ever choose to be trans. But it’s not a choice, it’s who I am, I can’t pretend it’s not and I shouldn’t have to.

I don’t know how to explain gender dysphoria to anyone that doesn’t already have it. There’s no analogy that captures what it’s like. But what I do know is pretending to be a guy doesn’t feel right and I can’t keep doing it. Living as a woman—depsite our society’s misogyny—does feel right and I wish I’d realized this years ago.

For the first time in my life, I’m starting to actually like who I am. Any time I catch my reflection and see a woman, I feel like I’m finally seeing the real me. When I heard a complete stranger refer to me as “her” I almost jumped for joy. And hearing my amazing and wonderful partner Jane refer to me as her “wife” feels almost magical.

I get to be my real self every day now! This is special and joyous and I want to share it with all of you. So I’m very excited to re-introduce myself: Hi, I’m Lily, a woman with she/her pronouns.