Trans people are individuals who strongly feel that they are, or ought to be, the opposite sex. The body they were born with does not match their own inner conviction and mental image of who they are or want to be.
Nor are they comfortable with the gender role society expects them to play based on that body.
This dilemma often causes individuals intense emotional distress and anxiety and often interferes with their daily living.
Most people were painfully aware of their gender incongruity from early childhood, while others become aware in early to late adulthood.
Trans identity cannot be attributed by others! It is your own deeply held conviction and deeply felt inner awareness how you identify on a gender spectrum.
Trans identity is private and internal. It is felt, not seen. It cannot be deduced from how a person looks, moves, dresses, or behaves. The only way to know a person's gender identity is if they tell you!
Most trans people view transition as some form of physical body modification via hormones and/or surgery. People undergo this process in order to fully live as a different gender than the one assigned them at birth, modifying their bodies to match their internal sense of who they are.
While there are people who view transition as a set of stages, I believe it is a non-linear process.
I view transition as a process that results in a paradigm shift in how a person experiences gender, regardless of whether they end up transitioning physically or not.
Coming to understand gender as an identity, is the a key first step in asking yourself:
Now that I've realized I'm not completely content with my birth gender role or biological sex, can I find a way to make it work anyway?
Is there a way to expand my gender role to suit me?
Do I need to transition physically via hormones and/or surgery?
Every step of the way, I encourage you to check in with yourself. Is this enough? The path of transition is not linear! Nor is it a "cookie cutter" one-size-fits-all process.
The key question is "How do you want to live your life?" and "Have you gone far enough with your transition to be happy with your gender identity?"