Gender transition will be life-long process for Islander
'It felt true, but at the same time I felt like I didn't have any right to be this identity'
Charlottetown's Isaac Grant began a process of gender transition four years ago, and he thinks he will probably never be done.
A major relationship in his life had come to an end, and demands at silverorange — the company he co-founded — rose dramatically.
It prompted him to start thinking again about who he was in a way he hadn't since he was a teenager.
It has been a slow and difficult process.
"It took a few years to get to the point where I felt comfortable even owning it in myself and having any right to say this about myself," Grant said.
"It felt true, but at the same time I felt like I didn't have any right to be this identity."
It became clear to Grant that he did not feel like a man, but he didn't feel like a woman in a man's body either. He was somewhere in between, which is sometimes called non-binary, though Grant prefers the term gender-queer. Grant is keeping the male pronoun, which he has been comfortable with all his life.
Having reached a new conception of who he felt he was, Grant began to talk to his friends, family, and co-workers about it. Friends and family were already aware of his queer sexuality, he said, an entirely separate issue from his gender identity.
These were difficult conversations to start, he said, but always ended well.
"I've been really lucky and privileged in that," he said of the support he has received.
Revisiting teenage doubts
Grant thought a lot about his gender identity as a teenager, but the Charlottetown of the time offered little help.
"It didn't feel like there was any community that I could recognize here," he said.
"I had no examples of what I was feeling and no concept of how to reach out and find that."
I feel honest in who I am, and that brings with it a lot of happiness.- Isaac Grant
The internet was available to him, but even there he found information that tended toward the binary: transgender men and transgender women.
As he sorted through his gender identity over the last few years, he has been able to find more relevant information to his own personal situation, and a community better able to support him.
Presenting a new person
Having come to a new conception of how he feels inside himself, Grant is developing new ways of presenting himself to the world.
He has started to adopt some of the typical societal female fashions, such as nail polish and makeup, but he also occasionally lets his beard grow out.
These seeming contradictions, as traditional society would have it, are a part of who he is now. That presentation may continue to change, he said.
Unlike many transgender people, there will be no final transition for him.
"I have no desire to pass within either gender," he said.
"I want to be true to who I am, and in that I feel like it's a life-long transition of constantly figuring out where I am within that spectrum."
Grant is in no hurry to sort the external appearance of his new identity. The important change is inside.
"It's just being more comfortable in myself, and the feeling of being honest about who I am to myself and the world at large," Grant said.
"I feel honest in who I am, and that brings with it a lot of happiness."
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With files from Island Morning