Being a Woman and Being Transgender: Fear and Vulnerability

Times Two

Emma Holiday·

I recently wrote about courage. Today I woke up feeling tremendous fear and deep vulnerability, two things that I am not used to. Having been raised male, fear and vulnerability were never male attributes. Like a Spartan warrior, I was taught to show no weakness and fear no one.

The indoctrination worked.

I have lived a lifetime unafraid. Obviously, I have had scary moments but I have never felt the soul-searing fear and vulnerability that I am doing right now. It is overwhelming. These fears are all new to me and I am having a hard time.

I feel this fear to be me, to be a transwoman, in a world that doesn’t want me and even hates me, both men and women.

I feel this fear of rejection of the one person I love most.

I feel the fear of being seen as a freak.

I feel the fear of passing as the woman I feel inside.

I feel, not only the vulnerability that every woman feels, but the extraordinary vulnerability that a transgender woman feels as well.

I fear simply walking down the street.

I fear the shrinking world for transgender people that is filled with hate for no reason.

I fear losing my friends.

I fear losing my family.

I fear failing.

I fear being lonely and alone.

I feel the fear to be me.

This sense of fear and this feeling of vulnerability feeds the doubts and the darkness that surrounds every step I take as I continue to transition causing me to push back against each step, questioning every decision and challenging every resolve. As I wish it would all go away, it doesn’t and it won’t.


I wonder if courage is just the result of desperation. If I am left with no place to go but the only one left open to me, am I really courageous?

Emma Holiday

Writers note: If you have read any of my writings on Medium you will have noticed a definite theme: the incredible pain of gender dysphoria and all the difficult aspects of just being transgender.

My writing has three specific goals:

  1. Writing is my therapy. I have a very limited outlet for my thoughts so I write to find a way to process the most profound experience in my life. I need to understand and I need to accept myself to move forward.
  2. Being transgender, for me, is a very lonely existence and if I can share some of the things that I feel and think as I go through the process of transitioning with others who are transgender and, in some way, lessen their pain and sense of loneliness, then all of this public exposure of my personal thoughts is not a waste.
  3. I write to help cisgender people understand that all trans people want is to be simply understood, accepted and treated as a normal person. We are.

Thank you for reading my work.