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My journey of transition and self-discovery

For me, it started like so many inquiries do: with a Google search.

I typed my query into Google, “what does it mean if you feel like the opposite gender”, and held my breath while Google worked its magic.

That day I learned a new word: “transgender”. It was a word I knew before but had never really considered. As I read the stories of others who felt like I did, I realized something very deep and personal, something that would change my life forever.

I am transgender, too.

The beginning of my transition

My transition started in September of 2021. I did not immediately accept this reality about myself: I struggled for many months against the notion that I might be different, that I was transgender. I struggled with the idea of what would it mean, how would it affect my career, my family, my business, and my life. Growing up as a conservative religious person, I struggled with whether this was even okay. And I oscillated between relief at knowing myself and deep depression at the potential consequences of coming out.

I sought professional help (and I highly recommend this for anyone who is facing a similar struggle). It helped me to realize that being transgender isn’t something shameful. I can be proud of who I am. I had discovered myself, something that many people never do. While you do not need to be transgender to discover who you are as a person, so many people never do the deep introspection to figure out who they really are. I became proud of who I was.

Eventually, I told my wife – my greatest fear being that she would not accept me – and found unconditional love. She embraced my identity, and loved all of me. But, as coming out to the public neared, I fell into a depression that required intensive treatment. I am thankful that I had the time and opportunity to seek this treatment, and I am better and stronger for having gone through it.

Coming out to the world

I made a post on Facebook on January 7th, 2023 revealing my new identity. I expected some kind of backlash, but in reality I found nothing but support from the people who loved and cared for me. I am so thankful for the friends, family and connections that I have.

Still, I never really discussed being transgender with the PHP community until now. I simply changed my name on other socials, including Twitter (at the time) and created a new Mastodon account in my new, chosen name. I changed my name on LinkedIn as well.

In a way, this post is my “coming out” to the PHP community, confirming that I am the same person, but I am a different person at the same time.

Impacts on the PHP world

As I struggled with my gender identity, I stopped participating as much in the PHP community. I stopped blogging, stopped contributing, and was generally afraid of being rejected by the community as a whole. Thankfully, in reality, this didn’t happen.

Now that I have transitioned, I am in the process of reestablishing my contributions and renewing my efforts towards community. The community has embraced me; it’s my responsibility to embrace it back.

Where to from here?

I am proud of who I am, where I have been, and the journey I have taken.

My business is thriving, and the PHP community has embraced me. I am so thankful for that embrace, and I hope that it continues. My gender identity has nothing to do with my skill as a programmer, my status as a contributor, or my ability to share information with the community.

I will continue to live my life, as my authentic self, and continue to contribute, write, speak at conferences, run my mailing list, and run my business. I am thankful for the support of this community, and I am so grateful for the acceptance I have found.

One thought on “My journey of transition and self-discovery

  1. Thank you Sarah so much for sharing, I can fully empathize with the struggles and depression around transitioning into the mostly binary world. As many others probably have told you so many times, I feel so similar in my story without the part of making it through the transitional journey (yet?). I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank you for sharing your story as this brought a small bit of happiness to me this morning reading about you.

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